New year, new goals – how small businesses can set goals and achieve them

As small business owners, the start of a new year can ignite a sense of hope and motivation – the perfect time to re-evaluate your business and set new sights for your future. Reaching for your goals can be a daunting feat, but the key to achieving goals is knowing how to set the right goals for you and your business.

Setting goals is critical to help owners and employees know why they are working and what they are working towards. Without proper goals, you and your team might lose motivation and financial support fast. However, with reasonable and well thought out goals, you can achieve both short and long-term success. 

Setting small business goals
When setting business goals, always start with the ‘why’. It’s easy to get engrossed in the daily operations of the business and lose sight of the big picture, that is, why you’re doing all this in the first place. What does success look like to you? Is your goal to help others, to be a millionaire, or just to stop working for someone else in a cubicle? Each goal you set should work towards fulfilling that ‘why’. To do that, many talk about setting SMART goals, and for good reason – they get results! SMART goals are:

  • specific – Your goal needs a very clear and desired outcome. Instead of “increase profits”, a specific goal would be to “increase profits by 25% this fiscal year”. 
  • measurable – You need to know when you have completed your goal or whether you’re at least heading in the right direction. To do this, make sure you can put a number on your goals, whether it’s increasing sales or results from a customer survey. 
  • achievable – Aim for a challenge but be realistic. If you have a really big goal, there is no harm in breaking it down into smaller, more achievable goals that will help you get there. 
  • relevant – Each goal should relate to the overall purpose and long-term goals of your business. 
  • time-bound – In order to achieve a goal, you have to give yourself a deadline, otherwise, you will only keep putting it off. Place a little pressure on yourself by setting weekly, monthly or yearly deadlines. 

When setting goals as a small to medium-sized business, it’s best to break down each goal as much as you can. Having a large goal to break even, for example, can be unnerving. When you break it down to increasing sales by 5% per month, however, it seems much more within reach, and it will still result in achieving that big goal.  

Having both short-term goals, which focus on being achieved within a year, and long-term goals, which focus on the five to ten year span is helpful for any business. 

When setting short-term goals, tackle your biggest challenges, opportunities and KPIs. This ensures you stay focused on what your business needs most to grow. Examples of short-term goals could include:

  • increasing average sales per day by 10 for the next 60 days
  • increasing Facebook click through rate by 20% in the next two months
  • making three sales to repeat customers per month.

Long-term goals are critical for keeping your team motivated and working together to achieve success for the business. Some examples could include:

  • triple the number of repeat clients in the next five years
  • add 4 employees over the next four years
  • use only recycled materials by 2027.

Achieving small business goals
Once you have set your goals, the best way to achieve them is to have accountability. Share your goals with someone that you can check-in with frequently. Having someone hold you accountable will add that bit of pressure to ensure you keep focused and achieve your goals.

Another way to achieve success is to make actionable goals for each goal. That is, make a list of what actions need to be taken to achieve the goal you set. Take, for example, the goal of increasing average sales per day by 10 for the next 60 days. Some actionable goals that can help you achieve this are: 

  • post on Instagram three times a week to reach more customers
  • offer a discount to first-time customers
  • offer bundles
  • hire a sales representative
  • offer an added value item or service with each purchase.

When chasing goals as a business owner, you must slow down. Being a business owner isn’t about taking on all the work 24/7. Take time out to figure out what needs to happen and who you need to help you. Take time to plan, hire or delegate.

Using a business plan is a helpful way of keeping a record of your short-term and long-term goals. You and your team can refer to your business plan to see whether you’re on track and boost motivation. You can always adjust your goals regularly according to how you’re performing to make them more realistic. Successful business owners always look at the journey, not the result. They are happy to learn from setbacks, adjust accordingly, and keep trying. 

Having goals is essential for a business to succeed. Knowing where you want to go short-term and long-term will help you stay focused and determined despite the setbacks that may come. Setting well thought out goals is the first step to achieving them. With SMART goals, accountability and breaking down each goal into planned actions makes achieving them become a breeze.

Need extra support setting and achieving your business goals? Contact Brainiact today!