Not reaching your goals? Here’s how to know if you should change tactics or strategy

Opinions expressed Entrepreneur their contributors.

It’s not uncommon for you to set goals for your business and end up not reaching them. In fact, if you never manage to achieve your goals, then they probably aren’t ambitious enough.

If something doesn’t go according to plan, you have three main options:

  1. You can change strategies – that is, the high-level plan that you have developed to get to your goal.
  2. You can change your tactics, that is, the specific actions you take to implement these strategies.
  3. Or you can change the goal itself.

Know when to do what is critical. If you’re struggling to achieve the business goals you and your team have set for your company, take a deep breath and start troubleshooting the process, starting with your tactics.

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1. Evaluate your tactics

If you can change your daily action list to more closely match and support your strategy, you will find it easier and easier to make the necessary adjustments than changing your entire strategy. Therefore, it makes sense to focus the analysis on tactics first.

First look at the overlap, or lack of it, between your tactics and your chosen strategy. Remember that tactics are specific practical tasks, one-time or recurring procedures that are assigned to one person for accountability and are designed to implement a specific strategy.

So, for example, “posting three updates to our Instagram account every day” is not necessarily a foolproof tactic on its own, even if it should help build brand awareness through a more dynamic and compelling social media presence. Are you sure your audience is active on Instagram? Are you using the right tactics to contact them? Does each of these three updates offer something of value to this audience?

Then study the resources you have dedicated to those specific tactics. The execution of your tactics does not have to be flawless in order to see positive results, but often we miss something obvious that ends up blocking the expected results. The backlog could explain why your team failed—perhaps a key position suddenly became vacant in the middle of a project, or your team realized you were working with the wrong data. Analyze the path you have traveled so far to see if any such obstacles may have played a role.

Finally, look at the metrics you’ve set up to track progress towards that goal and the tactics you’re following. Are you tracking the right data points? Does this information show in real time how your tactics are getting you closer to your goal? If not, reevaluate and see if you can identify more meaningful metrics, as well as a way to track them reliably.

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2. Learn your strategy

The strategies you use to achieve your goal may also need to be adjusted or completely changed. If you’ve analyzed your team’s work against the tactical plan and there’s nothing wrong with the execution, then the problem may very well lie in the strategy. It may no longer be viable. Or maybe you’ve overlooked other data that shows your customers’ needs and interests are changing. If so, you need to make sure your strategic plans keep up with them.

Assess whether the assumptions underlying your strategy have changed. As one obvious example, let’s say your goal is to increase your restaurant’s revenue by 45% and your strategy is to bring 100 customers to your restaurant every day. But the economic downturn has hit your area, which means fewer people are going out to dinner, at least for the time being. In this case, the macro events were ahead of the events and changed your ability to realize the goal through these means.

This does not mean that you should give up the goal itself. Just rethink your strategy. In our example, you could offer customers more “specials” for lunch or dinner if inflation doesn’t make that impossible. Also, perhaps you can switch to delivery, special events, or even catering.

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3. Take a close look at the goal itself

If you’ve taken a cold-blooded look at both strategic and tactical plans without pointing out opportunities for timely and productive change, then it’s time to evaluate the goal itself. The problem with your goal may be situational – that is, it was once a correct, realistic goal, but events have caught up with you, and now you need to adjust to the current environment and market. Or maybe there is nothing wrong with the goal itself; you just haven’t fully identified, defined and fleshed it out.

Step back and test your goal by asking the following questions and answering them honestly:

  • This is the goal specific? The specific one is “X dollars of revenue or Y% year-over-year profit growth.” Vague “make more money”.
  • it measurable? What metrics can you use to track your progress?
  • Your goal attainable? That is, is your goal achievable and realistic, both in the absolute sense and in the time frame you have set to achieve it?
  • Your goal relevant to your business? Does it align with your corporate values ​​and mission? Will it bring your company closer to what you want, both in your industry and in your community?
  • Finally, your goal timely? Do you have a clear starting point and goal or deadline?

Work on the right things

Aligning your goals more closely with your corporate vision, mission and values ​​will help ensure that you are working for the right things. Adjusting your strategies and tactics to implement those strategies will get you there as long as you track meaningful metrics and make the necessary adjustments to optimize your results along the way.

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