Success in business doesn’t happen overnight.
Many small businesses take several years before they turn truly profitable. During that time, there will be many things that pop up that will test both your patience and commitment.
It’s important to have business goals as an entrepreneur.
Goals keep you focused while also helping you align if you go off course. As good as business goals may be in contributing to your success — it’s important that you set good goals else you could head down the wrong path!
Here are several insights to help you set goals for your small business, and what to focus on to ensure your business is here for the long haul.
Business Goal Setting Basics
It may have been a while since you’ve written down goals. So, now’s the time to get out a pen & paper, clean up that whiteboard, or load up your favorite goal-setting program to make the commitment.
Keep these in mind as you brainstorm and info-dump your goals in business:
1. Set realistic goals
It’s important to set goals that are achievable so you can continue to be motivated along the way. Don’t aim too high that you’ll get discouraged if you don’t reach it, but also make sure your goals challenge you a bit so you can grow.
2. Write your goals down
This will help you keep track of your goals and better assess your progress. Sometimes, it can be helpful to share your goals with a trusted friend or family member to help you stay accountable.
3. Create a timeline
Assign deadlines to each goal so you can have a sense of urgency and don’t let things drag on. This will also help you measure your progress more easily.
4. Set actionable goals
Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This will help you create a plan of attack and better assess your results.
We’ll get into this in the section below.
5. Review and adjust
Don’t be afraid to review and adjust your goals as needed – especially as your business grows and changes. This will help you keep up with the times and avoid any stagnation.
Use the SMART Framework for Goals for Business
Creating SMART business goals can help keep a company on track and ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives. It can also make it easier to measure progress and identify areas where improvements need to be made.
What you’ll use is the S.M.A.R.T. framework. This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Specific: The goal should be clear and unambiguous. It should be easy to understand and should not be open to interpretation.
Measurable: The goal should be quantifiable so that progress can be tracked.
Achievable: The goal should be realistic and achievable. It should not be so ambitious that it is impossible to achieve.
Relevant: The goal should be relevant to the business and its objectives. It should not be a goal for the goal’s sake.
Time-bound: The goal should have a deadline attached to it so that there is a sense of urgency.
This format/framework is incredibly powerful when it comes to keeping your business on track to reaching its goals. There are far fewer troubles experienced and mistakes made when you have robust outlines of what you need to do!
Now Strive to Achieve These Business Goals
Now that you know some basics on how to set business goals, let’s look at what types of goals you should be setting.
This is probably the most common type of goal for businesses, and it can take many different forms. You may want to increase revenue by a certain amount, achieve a certain level of profitability, reduce expenses, or some combination of all three.
Your business exists to serve customers, so it’s important to set goals related to them. This could include increasing the number of customers you have, improving customer satisfaction or loyalty, or growing the average order size.
Your employees are a key part of your business, so it’s important to set goals related to them as well. This could include increasing employee satisfaction or productivity, reducing turnover, or improving training and development programs.
Operational goals are those that relate to the day-to-day running of your business. This could include things like increasing efficiency, reducing waste, or streamlining processes.
Growth goals are those that relate to the long-term growth of your business. This could include expanding into new markets, launching new products or services, or increasing market share.
Social Media Goals
If you use social media for business, then you should set goals related to it. This could include increasing your number of followers, improving engagement, or generating more leads.
Marketing goals are those that relate to your marketing efforts. This could include increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, or increasing conversions.
Sales goals are those that relate to your sales efforts. This could include increasing sales, growing your customer base, or achieving a certain level of market share.
Strategic goals are those that relate to the overall direction of your business. This could include things like expanding into new markets or launching new products or services.
There are endless other types of goals you could set for your business. The important thing is to identify the goals that are most important for you and your business and focus on those.
Your business goals will change as time goes on.
Small adjustments are needed as things change, teams develop, sales increase, and your community and culture flourish. In doing so, you’ll continually feel challenged and driven to achieve more with what you’ve set out to do!
Find the approach to setting business goals that work best for you (it’s different for everyone); just remember that it’s better to have something than go at it without direction.