setting business goals and objectives

How to set small business goals – actionable and achievable

Education

setting business goalsEvery small business owner should have a clear set of goals he/she wishes to achieve with their respective venture.

Without first identifying just what those goals are, it is impossible to lay out the groundwork to get the ball rolling on them.

You can have goals set to help your firm achieve a wide variety of things, such as increased sales or profits, a heightened audience awareness level, more social media engagement, or taking on a certain amount of staff members over the coming year, just to name a few.

However, you’ll struggle to achieve any of those things without first planning exactly how you’ll do it.

What are short term goals for small business?

Whenever you begin to develop short term goals for your small business venture, you need to ensure that you are following the SMART framework. This means that each and every single one of your goals or objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Without following this structure you run the risk of creating unrealistic goals for yourself and your small business venture; setting your company unachievable tasks isn’t going to help it in any way.

For example, if you want to grow your social media followers, don’t use Coca-Cola as something to aspire to just because they’re one of the biggest brands creating content in the digital age. Instead, compare yourself to others in your field of work and try to be the best performer in your own niche market. If you’re a small business, you must have small business goals; do not set yourself impossible tasks, or it’ll only end in disappointment and you’ll end up pointing the finger at someone who shouldn’t really be blamed.

In order to successfully set and achieve goals you’ll need to first identify where the problems lie in your business structure and where there is some room for improvement within the firm. This will award you with some guidance and set you down the right path from the beginning of the improvement process.

Measure your success

The measurable aspect of the SMART goals framework is highly important. Without being able to actually see the progress you’re making over a set period of time, you can wrongly feel as if your business is either over or underperforming. This incorrect information would potentially lead you to making decisions you’d otherwise avoid if you had access to the facts.

Be sure to measure your success along the way, not only at the start and end of your objective’s timeline. To ensure you are doing this regularly, you should plan out a few dates where you are going to analyse and measure the progress of your objectives, so that you can see how they are continuing to develop over time.

Create a plan of action

If you’re looking to take your business into the future, with no plans of what that may look like, you’ll likely be constantly worrying and scared of what’s to come. If you simply make a plan and list your expectations, you can be the one that’s in control of your business’ destiny.

You may have created a business plan before the very start of your venture, but periods of time that require further future planning present themselves again every so often. Shutdown periods, such as this current national lockdown of sorts, gives you the opportunity to develop ideas for how you can progress your business when things are a little more back to normal.

Ponder the thoughts of how you can develop your business by making a minimalistic business plan update, setting some goals out for yourself and working out how to reach objectives you’ve had a for a while now.

Celebrate your success

When you achieve your business goals, even though you’d be right in thinking that you should then go on to develop them further, first take the time to celebrate what you have accomplished. Perhaps you are part of a large team of people that have worked tirelessly to get the business to where it is today, if that is the case you should attempt to congratulate your teammates and give yourself a pat on the back. Maybe you can afford to work with a little less pressure over the next week or two and afford yourself some cooldown time.

With that being said, don’t think the completion of your business objectives is the end of the road. It isn’t time for a never-ending victory lap; after a short break it is time to get back to work and set your sights on something even better for your small business venture. This is why your goals must develop over time and eventually become much larger in scale if you have been accomplishing all that you set out too.

Please keep in mind that if you’re flying through your goals with no problems whatsoever, you may be setting the bar a little bit too low. Aim high, just don’t aim for the impossible.

Stay motivated 

By remaining positive, even after facing the odd setback, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving your long and short term goals. Any small business owner will have to go through some tricky patches from time to time, so it doesn’t have to be treated as the end of the world if a few things start going a little bit pear shaped.

If you’re not feeling well within yourself, it’ll most probably reflect in your work too, so clear your mind and be ready for the challenge of work each day. Making sure you’re healthy is a great way to bring back some positivity after you’ve been lacking it for a while. Your well-being should come before anything else, so do the right things and maintain a healthy active lifestyle. 

81.5% of workers in the UK agree that regular exercise helps them stay focused at work. Staff productivity is rightfully one of the highest concerns for most bosses in the workplace, so ensure you’re getting enough exercise each day.

Small business goals you could set this year

Here are a handful of examples of small business goals that you could set your own venture for the year ahead. Business owners need something to aim for to keep themselves in check, concentrated on the task at hand, and consistently striving for success.

Hopefully you find some inspiration within the examples below: 

Hire your first employee

You could set on your first employee if your solo business has reached a stage where it is ready to grow but needs a second pair of hands to do so. This would open up many more doors for you and present further opportunities to the business venture. This could be one of your main goals for the next year if you believe you are in the right financial position to do it.

Increase traffic on your website or blog

Another small business goal for the year ahead could be to get more visitors on your website. Perhaps you’d like to build up a larger readership for your blog or have a greater number of individuals signed up to your newsletter. This will heighten brand awareness and help you to build a loyal following.

Consider creating and utilising a new content marketing strategy so that you can begin to see improvements in this area. Higher engagement levels will only come from you providing your audience with something that will either inform or entertain them, so try to achieve this with your blog posts.

Create a new product

Are your products starting to dry up? Can you sense a lack of customer interest towards your current stock lines? Well, perhaps this is the perfect time to start developing a brand-new product that will revitalise your company. You could also try changing the way you market your products, as this can have a similar positive effect.

Implement social media marketing

Sticking on the topic of social media, why not market your business online? This would, once again, boost the awareness of your brand and help you to connect with your target audience in a new way. Go ahead and choose a social media platform you want to incorporate into your marketing strategy for this year.

Improve the cash flow of your small business

Healthy cash flow is difficult to maintain for any company, but especially small business ventures. To do this you will need to look back on previous years and analyse how you performed at different periods of time. If you spot a month where sales normally dry up, you can plan ahead for it and either make some changes, or ensure you have enough cash reserves to cover the slower period.

Make this year the year you keep track of your spending and improve the fiscal health of your venture. You will be sure to thank yourself for it further down the line, and life will become just that little bit easier. Gain control of your financials and reduce the level of stress you feel, it is as simple as that.

To summarise

Your business needs to set itself SMART business goals which are both clear and concise. Think of them as being written on a sheet of paper and handed to any randomly selected member of your employee team. If they would be able to understand them and follow them without any added guidance, you’ve likely created yourself a great list of achievable goals.

Sometimes you won’t achieve your goals or complete your objectives, even if you have followed the SMART framework. You should remember that that’s okay too, small businesses often face setbacks and shouldn’t be put off by them.

Plan well for the future and give yourself a better chance at growing, taking on more staff members, selling more products, or achieving higher social media engagement levels. Whatever your goals for the future are, be sure that they are right for your business venture before setting out to accomplish them.

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