As pandemic restrictions lift, CEOs are transitioning from survival mode back into growth mode. And after a year in which many organizations pulled back on growth and expansion plans to ensure longer capital runways, many business leaders are understandably excited to get back to thinking big.
Thinking bigger also means thinking ahead. CEOs need to consider where their organization is headed in the next two or three years. Setting measurable goals, harnessing finance teams’ expertise and partnership, and being clear-eyed about what is (and is not) possible will position your business to pick up where you left off or—better yet—achieve new levels of growth.
Here are three tips to make the most of your business goals:
1. Start by setting long-term, visionary goals (and think big!)
Short-term, quarterly goals should scaffold up to the business’ long-term ambitions, which should be guided by visionary goals set by the CEO and senior leadership. As businesses emerge from the pandemic, this is an ideal time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh: Address lingering pain points; establish a competitive advantage in the market; and make key strategic decisions.
For example, retail companies may decide that the time is ripe to expand physical store presence now that it’s getting safer to shop in person. Perhaps the experience of prolonged remote work has led you to completely rethink your hiring strategy. Or, in the midst of the pandemic, maybe you identified an unmet need in your market that you’re ready to capitalize on.
2. Maintain the close partnership you built with your finance team during the pandemic
During the pandemic, finance teams took on more strategic roles within many organizations. This new rhythm should be maintained. Keeping finance teams and organization leadership closely aligned will enable maintenance of tactical operations and strategic financial planning to ensure effective use of resources.
As the aggregators of companies’ financial data, finance teams oversee resources and have ongoing insight into important business inputs and outputs. Smart CEOs would be well-served by recognizing finance teams’ strategic vantage point and capitalizing on it by tasking finance teams with helping individual department heads set and manage their goals.
3. Lean into finance expertise to determine what’s feasible
In many ways, CFOs and finance teams are perfectly positioned to take charge of goal management and planning. As the supervisors of their companies’ capital, finance teams are ideally equipped to help their colleagues determine what, if any, investments in people and technology are within their budgets.
As your organization considers potential technology, hiring, marketing, and sales campaigns to achieve its goals, finance team members can help categorize these potential expenditures and align resources and budgets across departments. Whether you want to build out your tech stack, increase automation, boost hiring, or launch a major sales campaign, empower your finance team to take the reins. They can turn their unique view of the business’ needs and resources into a sustainable growth strategy.
The bottom line
With the economy quickly returning to normal, businesses need to capture the opportunity today. CEOs that set clear goals and establish plans to achieve them will be best prepared to leverage the momentum of the post-pandemic recovery for long-term transformation and growth.
Jeanne Hardy, CEO & Founder, Creative Business