Business success is rarely obtained by chance. It’s the result of careful planning, strategic thinking, and setting clear goals. Goals help provide a vision of where the future of the business is headed. Two types of goals that are fundamental to business success are business goals and user goals. However, it’s quite common for business owners to have a hard time clearly defining the difference between the two.
Although business goals and user goals work together to achieve success, they are distinct from one another. When these goals get blurred together, it can be difficult to know who should be held accountable for them and pinpoint if and when adjustments should be made.
In this article, we will explore what business and user goals are and examples of each to help clearly define the difference between the two.
What are Business Goals and Why are They Important
Business goals are high-level desired outcomes that drive an organization as a whole. They define a business’s purpose and direction and are aligned with their values and mission. These goals assist with decision-making and determine where efforts should be focused. By setting business goals, companies can easily track organizational progress and make sure they are achieving what they set out to do.
Examples of Business Goals
There are several types of business goals that a company can set. They can focus specifically on finances, customer relations, operations, growth, development, and innovation. Let’s explore examples of each type of business goal.
Financial goals will be focused on ensuring the company is bringing in more money than it is spending and increasing its profits. Increasing profit margins by 2-3% by the end of Q4 or making 100,000 sales within the fiscal year would both be financial business goals.
The relationship between a business and its ideal customer is important. Without customers, a company would go out of business. As a result, companies want to make sure they are serving their clientele and doing so effectively. Goals intending to build stronger relationships and trust with customers are another type of business goal. Creating a loyalty program or improving response times to customer inquiries are great goals to have to increase customer relations.
Growth goals are all about expanding the market size, influence, and reach of a company. This could be opening 3 new locations in untapped markets to reach a wider audience and increase market share. Or, it could be hiring 15 new employees to expand your ability to serve customers.
Goals for development involve enhancing employee skills, fostering leadership, and ensuring organizational excellence. For instance, aiming to have 80% of employees complete relevant training programs within the next year to bolster expertise and productivity.
Creating new products, services, or processes to stay competitive and meet evolving customer demands are goals focused on innovation. For example, launching two new product lines within the next quarter to diversify offerings or developing a new mobile app to provide an enhanced user experience.
What are User Goals?
The concept of “user goals” is very important for any business. Whether it’s a website, mobile application, software platform, or any other interactive product, recognizing the objectives of your target audience ensures that the final product is not only usable but also satisfies its intended audience.
User goals refer to the objectives or tasks that users want to achieve when interacting with your product or service. These can be something functional like booking a flight ticket. However, it can also be experiential like enjoying a seamless shopping experience. Identifying and prioritizing these goals is central to user-centered design. You want to make sure that products and services are tailored to the real-world needs and preferences of their users.
Understanding and prioritizing user goals is a critical determinant of a business’s success. By identifying and catering to these goals, businesses can offer an enhanced User Experience (UX). A product or service tailored to the actual needs and desires of customers results in a smoother and more intuitive user journey. This attention to the user experience can directly translate to higher usage.
Also, when the offerings of a business are in alignment with the user’s objectives, the barriers that might hinder desired actions, such as making a purchase, are minimized. This typically leads to improved conversion rates and, by extension, heightened profitability. Moreover, a clear grasp of what truly resonates with users enables businesses to allocate their resources more judiciously.
By directing time, money, and effort towards features and functionalities that genuinely matter to users, businesses can avoid the pitfalls of wasteful expenditure on less important features. Consistently demonstrating an understanding and prioritization of user goals fosters a deeper trust with customers. Ultimately, users will gravitate toward businesses that are easy to deal with.
Examples of User Goals:
Amazon Kindle – “Discover and Purchase a Book Within Minutes”
When users engage with the Kindle platform, one of their primary goals is the ability to discover and purchase a book within mere minutes. For Amazon, facilitating such swift and intuitive transactions translates to increased sales. Moreover, the more seamless the search and purchase experience, the greater the likelihood that users will return to make additional purchases. From the user’s perspective, this immediacy enhances the appeal of digital reading. The joy of spontaneously discovering a new book and diving into its world without delay can be an unmatched experience for avid readers.
Airbnb – “Find a Safe and Affordable Place to Stay in a New City”
Airbnb’s platform caters to travelers who are in pursuit of unique and affordable accommodations, particularly in unfamiliar cities. The primary goal for these users is to find lodgings that are not just budget-friendly but also safe and enriched with a local touch. For Airbnb, ensuring a diverse array of quality listings combined with transparent reviews can drive consistent bookings.
A user’s successful booking signifies immediate business for Airbnb. Also, it cements the possibility of that user relying on Airbnb for future travels. Meanwhile, for the user, it’s about more than just a place to sleep—it’s an opportunity to experience a destination authentically. On top of that, often, at a more economical price point than traditional hotels.
Spotify – “Create and Share a Playlist for a Workout Session”
Spotify users often seek to curate their own soundtracks for various occasions, like creating and sharing a playlist specifically designed for workout sessions. By facilitating effortless playlist creation and enabling sharing options, Spotify boosts its user engagement levels.
Such features can also serve as an organic promotional tool. This entices new users to explore the platform. On the user’s end, crafting these playlists allows for a personalized listening experience. The added layer of social sharing enables interactions with friends, mutual music discoveries, and the joy of bonding over shared tunes.
Duolingo – “Achieve Intermediate Proficiency in Spanish within Three Months”
With a platform like Duolingo, users often embark with a clear language proficiency goal in mind. For instance, someone might aim to achieve intermediate proficiency in Spanish within a three-month window. Duolingo’s success lies in its ability to provide structured, engaging lessons that yield tangible progress. When users can track and celebrate their linguistic milestones, they’re more inclined to stick with the app and even evangelize its merits to peers. From a user’s standpoint, Duolingo offers a systematic and interactive path to language acquisition, allowing them to achieve personal or professional growth targets in a fun and engaging manner.
Uber Eats – “Order a Vegan Dinner from a Local Restaurant”
On a platform like Uber Eats, specificity can be everything. A user might be on the hunt for a vegan dinner sourced from a local place. Uber Eats’ ability to provide nuanced search and filter options ensures users can swiftly zero in on their desired meal. This specificity accelerates the user’s decision-making process. Also, it boosts the platform’s order rates. For the user, this means they can effortlessly cater to their dietary preferences or cravings.
Balancing Business Goals with User Goals
Balancing business goals with user goals is a pivotal challenge in product or service development. Success lies in harmonizing both sets of objectives. Here are some ways to do that.
- Prioritize User-Centric Design: A product or service that does not meet user needs will ultimately fail, regardless of its alignment with business goals. Utilize methodologies like Human-Centered Design or Design Thinking. These approaches emphasize empathy, iterative prototyping, and user feedback, ensuring that user goals are at the forefront.
- Establish Clear Metrics: Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that reflect both sets of goals. This can include metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) for user satisfaction or Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) for business success. Also, continuously monitor these metrics to measure and adjust your strategies.
- Open Communication Channels: Facilitate regular communication between business strategists and product designers. This ensures that business insights influence design decisions and vice versa. Also, regularly gather user feedback through surveys, user testing, or direct interactions. This keeps you informed about shifting user needs and preferences.
- Foster Iteration: Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. As the market evolves, both business and user goals might shift. Be willing to iterate upon your product or service in response to feedback and changing circumstances.
- Seek Win-Win Solutions: Instead of viewing business and user goals as competing forces, look for synergies. For example, a business goal might be to increase the user base, while a user goal is to have shareable features. By integrating such features, you cater to both objectives.
Understanding the difference between these two types of goals will help you make better business decisions. When you consider and value both types of goals, you can create a balance that will keep customers happy while still growing your business.