No matter where you are today with your small business, you need to set goals. Having goals and objectives will keep you motivated and on track to build a successful company. Plus, if you ever feel stuck or that you’re not making progress, your goals will provide you with guidance about what to do next and the confidence to push through the hard times. To see results, though, you need to know a bit more about small business goal setting.
Why Is It Important to Write Business Goals Each Year?
At a minimum, you should be setting business goals each year. This is because your business will be in a completely different place at the start of 2021 than it was at the beginning of 2020. Your goals can reflect this.
For instance, in 2021, you may want to increase your product range, expand into new locations, or even take your own career to the next level. By setting new goals, you can take any of these into account and make sure the actions you take are in line with what you want to achieve.
How to Set Clear and Actionable Goals for Your Business
To make sure your goals are both clear and actionable, use the SMART framework. This states that a goal should be:
- Specific — State exactly what you want to do in as narrow terms as possible.
- Measurable — It must be possible to measure your progress and know when you’ve achieved the goal.
- Achievable — Your goal should be feasible and you should have a strategy that will allow you to achieve it.
- Relevant — There should be a specific reason why you’re setting the goal. In particular, it should relate to your larger business objectives or your personal reasons for starting your business.
- Time based — You need to have a timeframe for when you will reach the goal. If you end up realizing you need more time to reach your goal, think about why. You can use this knowledge to set more realistic SMART goals in the future.
Choosing the Right Types of Business Goals
Goals fall into a few different categories. Understanding what these are will allow you to make sure you cover all of them.
Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
It’s crucial to have a mix of short-term and long-term business goals. Short-term business goals will prevent you putting things off until they become urgent. Long-term goals will provide you with major milestones to keep your company growing.
Personal Business Goals
Personal goals are just as important as the goals you have for your company as a whole, especially when you’re the owner of a small business. To avoid running a business becoming just another job, it’s actually important to have at least a few personal goals. Some examples of personal business goals include reducing the number of hours you work every week, acquiring a qualification, and gaining professional recognition.
Process and Outcome Goals
Any goal that involves steps that are under your control is a process goal. For instance, you can decide how many leads to reach out to, how many hours you’ll dedicate to a new project, and how often you’ll make new premium content.
Process goals often lead to an outcome goal: something you want to happen but have no direct control over. Examples of outcome goals include gaining more customers, increasing profits, and receiving professional recognition.
Business Goal Examples
Bearing all the above in mind, here are some examples of business goals that you may like to use as inspiration for your own goals.
1. Reduce Expenses
Most small businesses want to reduce expenses. However, simply deciding you want to reduce expenses is far from a SMART business goal. You also need to state by how much you want to cut costs, make sure you have a system in place that will allow you to measure results, decide when you will reach your target, and develop a strategy to reach your goal. Lastly, the goal should relate to a larger objective. Do you want to have more cash to invest in new projects or simply to increase profit margins?
2. Grow Your Business
Another top choice for a small business goal is growth. Again, this is too broad to be a SMART goal, but you can easily adapt it to your needs. For instance, you could decide how many clients you want to gain within a certain time period and specify how you’ll obtain these clients. This could be through referrals, a new marketing campaign, or by ramping up social media efforts.
3. Become an Expert in Your Field
Next we have an example of a business goal that’s also a personal goal. By positioning yourself as an expert, more people will turn to you as a source of information, and you can later convert these users into customers.
To make this a SMART goal, you need to define the exact area you want to be an expert in. Then, decide how you’ll quantify your progress — this could be invitations to speak, requests for guest posts or interviews, or even views of articles on your own website — and specify the criteria for achieving your goal.
You’ll also need to determine how you’ll position yourself (i.e. with what kind of marketing or PR). Finally, determine why you want to become an expert in this particular area and how long it should take you to achieve your goal — this may be longer term than some of your other goals.
4. Improve Customer Service
Providing a better service to customers can lead to positive effects for your business, potentially helping you to meet other goals. Setting this as a SMART goal is relatively straightforward, the only real challenging being how you measure improvements to your customer service.
Although customer service is not as easy to quantify as many of the other examples of business goals we’ve looked at, it is still possible to measure — you just need to get creative. For instance, you could look at changes in the number of complaints you receive, cancelations of subscriptions, or repeat customers. You can also ask customers for their feedback.
The Best Ways to Measure Business Goals
We’ve talked a little about measuring goals, but it’s worthwhile considering where you can find the relevant information.
Any goals that are related to your financial situation are measurable by looking at your financial statements:
- The first of these is your income statement. Here, you can see your business’s profits and losses.
- The second is your balance sheet, where you can check your assets and liabilities.
- Thirdly, you have your cash flow statement. This has all the information about money coming in and leaving your business.
Number of New Customers
Measuring the number of new customers is useful for goals related to growth as well as for assessing new strategies to attract clients or convert leads. Just looking at the data is useful, as you can see by how much your customer base grew. However, if at all feasible, it’s better still to keep a list of clients. This will allow you to check how many are leaving as well as how many new clients you’re gaining, giving you a more accurate picture.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Any qualitative goals are ideal for measuring through surveys. As well as the customer service example above, surveys are useful for gauging opinions about new products, website features, and even your offerings. Surveys can range from a single question or rating to a full questionnaire you send out via email. You can also use online reviews and feedback you receive on social media.
Scaling Your Business Through Outsourcing
To meet some of your business goals, you’ll need to learn how to manage your time and know exactly what to focus on each day. In particular, if your goals are to make more money, it’s important to scale your business. This is especially challenging when you’re a small business owner with a limited budget.
The solution is to outsource some tasks. By removing activities from your schedule that don’t require your expertise, you’ll be able to get more done. For instance, small business owners often find it useful to hire a virtual assistant for all their administrative tasks. By eliminating the most mundane activities from their schedules, they are able to free up time to focus on the core aspects of their business.
Another option is to outsource any tasks you feel are beyond your skills. Depending on your background, this could be graphic design, customer service, or even social media management.
Freebie: How to Ensure You Meet Your Goals
At MYVA360, we can help you meet your goals. Submit your email and we’ll send you two freebies that will help you to set your goals in 2021.
The first is a printable called the SMART Goal Asset. It will help you create exciting goals the SMART way. You’ll receive this immediately.
The second is My Word of 2021. Use it to set an intention that will guide your personal and business decisions to align with your 2021 business goals. You can expect it within three days.
Provide us with your email to receive both!
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