The Ultimate Guide to Setting Your Annual Business Goals

Posted by Sophia Pagliawan - January 1, 2023 • 11-minute read

7 Tips for setting and keeping your annual goals

The New Year comes with new beginnings. As we reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the rest of the year, we start thinking about our goals. What do we want to accomplish? What do we want to improve? Goal setting is a purposeful process that begins with identifying a new objective, skill, or project that we want to achieve. It allows us to take control of our life and work's direction, increases our happiness, and keeps us motivated.

On the more professional side, creating goals is akin to creating a vision for your business. Once you have that vision, you can start driving your team to get the best results possible. Goals offer guidance and direction, facilitate planning, and assist performance evaluation. They create specific milestones that your business can work towards.

Before forming your vision and setting your goals, it's good to have tools to aid you. We recommend using the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) model and its tools. The EOS model is a visual representation of the six key components of any business: vision, data, process, traction, issues, and people. Entrepreneurs and business owners typically focus on too many things when running their businesses. However, when they focus and strengthen these six components, things get easier to manage.

Here at StraightArrow, our CEO and Co-Founder, Haraya Del Rosario-Gust, is an EOS Implementer. She introduced the EOS method to the company, and we've been using it ever since.

Three pens on white paper

(Source: Isaac Smith on Unsplash)

While businesses should implement EOS comprehensively, specific tools are more useful in specific functions. Here are some of our favorite EOS tools that can help you achieve your business goals:

  1. Rocks: These are your business's top three to seven priorities for the quarter (90 days). Rocks are set at the company, department, and individual levels. They are also shared with all team members so that everyone acts for the company's greater good.
  2. Vision/Traction Organizer: The V/TO is a powerful organizer that helps you simplify strategic planning processes. It helps you get your vision onto paper and serves as a business goal setting worksheet.  The V/TO answers these eight questions:
    1. What are your core values?
    2. What is your core focus?
    3. What is your 10-year target?
    4. What is your marketing strategy?
    5. What is your three-year picture?
    6. What is your one-year plan?
    7. What are your rocks?
    8. What are your issues?
  3. Scorecard: This provides leaders with an accurate pulse of their business and allows them to predict future results through a measurable metric. The scorecard also ensures that team members know the expectations set on them and track their performance.
  4. L10s: The Level 10 Meeting Agenda was designed for leadership teams to run more productive discussions. Rather than dwell on status updates, L10s focus on understanding the three most pressing issues of the organization and how to solve them.
  5. Accountability Chart: This chart clearly outlines the organizational structure of the company or business. Every person can see their distinct roles and responsibilities, eliminating any confusion.

Now that you're equipped with goal setting tools, let's start forming your vision and goals for the upcoming year.

Here is an easy 7-step process on how to set your annual business goals:

1. Think about the results you want to see

Make sure your goals matter and are important enough to pour time and effort into. It might be tempting to create a long list of goals, but it would be easier and better to limit yourself to a short but meaningful list. You can set new goals, but you can also adopt goals from the previous years.

Remember to include short- and long-term goals in your list. Long-term goals provide a bigger picture while short-term goals give you a clear vision and pathway towards that big picture. You can use the V/TO format from EOS to do this with their recommended 1-year, 3-year, and 10-year goals timeline.

Bridge across mountains and trees

(Source: Jonathan Klok on Unsplash)

2. Create SMART Goals

When it comes to business goals, one should be familiar with SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This method pushes you further, gives you a sense of direction, and enables you to organize and reach your goals. Let's elaborate more on each aspect of the SMART method of goal setting.

  • Specific: Create highly detailed statements on what you want to accomplish. Include the who, what, where, and how of your goals. 
  • Measurable: Make sure that you have a way to measure and assess your progress in achieving your goals.
  • Attainable: Remember that goals should be realistic and attainable. It should stretch your abilities but remain possible.
  • Time-bound: Set one or more target dates. Having these deadlines guide your goal to a successful and timely completion.

3. Write your execution plan

Equipped with a list of your main SMART goals for the year, you can now list subgoals, tactics, and tasks that will serve as stepping stones toward achieving those primary goals. These small doable tasks allow you to progress continuously instead of being overwhelmed and only focusing on the big thing. 

When writing your execution plan, you can use ROCKS from the EOS model which are your team's priorities for the next 90 days. Set three to seven rocks at the individual, department, and company levels and share them so you can collaborate with others to complete your rocks.

4. Define a timeframe

By setting rocks, you already establish a 90-day timeframe. However, by breaking down your primary goal into smaller tasks, you can determine a more specific and detailed timeline that creates a sense of urgency and helps you be organized. 

Consider having a visual representation of this detailed timeline to visualize roles, tasks, milestones, and deadlines. This representation will motivate you to stay on track and on schedule.

Get What You Want Tool

At StraightArrow, we use the Get What You Want Tool to visualize our timeline. This chart helps define the activities that help us achieve our goal and the measurables to help track those steps.

How to use this tool: Make a slide for each of your rocks. Add the end goal in the yellow box. Work backwards your starting point and indicate the tasks and timelines needed for each step. Identify who needs to be involved in order to complete each milestone and include details of how this can be accomplished.

5. Work towards your goals

While working towards achieving your goals, measure your work's quality and your team's progress using a scorecard from the EOS method. Utilize your SMART goals to determine key indicators of success when creating a scorecard fit for your business.

We also suggest decluttering your daily routine. Think about each of your daily tasks and their impact on your goals. Highlight the essential ones and determine those that don't help you achieve your goals for yourself and your business. Substitute those non-essential tasks for goal-oriented actions.

6. Evaluate and assess your progress

Regularly reviewing your work and checking your progress is essential. It lets you know whether you're on the right path or if you have to refine your process or adjust your goals. 

Allot one hour each month to revisit your goals and rocks and take the time to check if you're on track. You can also conduct weekly status updates and assessments using the EOS method's L10 meeting format. These weekly L10s cover all bases, including quarterly rocks overviews, specific project updates, to-do lists, and any issues that need to be discussed and solved.

7. Adjust your goals as necessary

During your monthly or weekly assessments, you may encounter situations that force you to re-align your goals. Sometimes you might have to make minor adjustments, but there are times when you have to enact more significant changes.  One example is how businesses had to implement remote work to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While your business might not have to make such drastic changes, it helps to be prepared to re-align your goals if it becomes necessary. One example to consider is increasing your sales target because you reached your initial target way before the deadline.

Throughout the year, remember to recognize and reward yourself whenever you meet a goal. This helps you maintain momentum and keep you motivated.

Your annual goals are essential to your company's growth as a whole entity. However, it’s just as important to set goals with your clients and partners during your annual joint planning (AJP) sessions. It allows you to align your vision and targets and offer optimal support for their business. This transparent communication helps you and your client work harmoniously and build a fruitful relationship. 

Our proven process at StraightArrow envisions our client's journey with us. It enables us to clarify, document, and meet goals and expectations over the long term. The best part is that it turns transaction-based engagements into strategic partnerships.



The first step is to build trust with our clients. The stronger the trust, the more fruitful the relationship can be. We take the time to get to know our clients and let them know us, and exchange enough information to make both parties comfortable and confident that we fit each other's businesses. We ask questions and share case studies. If both companies seem a good fit, we move on to the next step.

Step 2: TEST

Next is to test our potential partnership by completing a pilot project, such as blogs, marketing flows, keyword research, and logo design. These projects are typically completed within two weeks or less, avoiding wasted time and energy because we can already spot and document potential roadblocks in collaborative workflows. 

If, after our best efforts, clients are not satisfied, we will refund any deposit made in return for honest and constructive feedback. At this point, we prioritize our services fitting the right clients.


Once clients are satisfied with the pilot projects and choose to start working with us, we move forward and determine the best way to integrate our services into our clients' workflows.

Usually, it takes us three months after the test phase to identify the right creatives, fine-tune processes, and get into a normal operating rhythm. During this early stage, we set expectations, so everyone is on the same page.


After three months of working together, our proven process goes into a growth cycle. We meet with our clients every quarter for business reviews (QBR) and once a year for annual joint planning (AJP) sessions. 

During QBRs, we recalibrate with our client and determine what's working and what's not. We set priorities and solve critical issues. Meanwhile, the AJP is for understanding the client's plans for the year. These sessions allow us to align our goals with our clients to provide relevant, flexible support. As such, it is where we apply best practices for goal setting.

Having SMART goals and ROCKS with a clear execution plan ensures that our partnership with our clients remains smooth and fruitful.

As you look forward to the coming year, set goals to support and improve your business.

Setting goals is vital for company growth. It gives you and your team clear focus, motivation, and targets to work towards, therefore serving as a success metric. Meeting the goals that you've set means you're effectively running your business, supporting and facilitating its growth. 

Do you have marketing goals but need a team to execute them? Our digital marketing service packages can help you achieve your annual business goals with our proven process. Talk to us today!

Book a Call Button - Get in touch, we're here to help.

Topics: Business, Marketing Tools

Written By

Sophia Pagliawan

Sophia Pagliawan

Sophia is a Content Marketing Associate at StraightArrow with a passion for food, magic, and makeup. She is a big fan of any show with snakes or dragons and dreams of having a pet dragon of her own—no matter how impossible that may be.

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