As an entrepreneur, goal setting is critical to your success. But not all goals are created equal. In order to set practical goals that will help you grow as an entrepreneur, there are a few simple steps you need to follow. In a moment, we’ll explore them together but first, let’s get on the same page.
What Are Business Goals?
Setting and achieving goals is essential to running a successful small business. But what exactly are business goals, and why are they so important?
Business goals are simply objectives that a company sets out to achieve. They can be short-term goals, such as increasing sales by 10% over the next quarter, or long-term goals, such as becoming the market leader in your industry.
Goals can cover a wide range of areas for business growth, from sales and marketing to product development and customer service. The important thing is that they should be concrete and realistic goals that you can track and tick off as you complete them.
3 Benefits Of Goal Setting
Many small business owners shy away from setting goals, thinking it’s a waste of time or too much work. But goal setting can be one of the most powerful tools in your company’s arsenal. By setting goals, you can clarify your vision, better focus your efforts, and increase your chances of success. Here are just a few of the benefits of goal setting in small businesses:
1. Clarifies Your Vision
Goal setting helps you clarify your vision, so you see the big picture. What do you want your company to achieve? By setting specific, measurable goals, you can hone in on what success looks like for your company. This clarity is essential for making intelligent decisions and taking action steps to move you closer to your goal.
Company Vision: What Is It And Why You Need One
2. Keeps You Focused
Clear goals keep you focused!
It’s easy to get sidetracked when running a small business. There are always a million things that need to be done, and it isn’t easy to know where to start. But if you have specific goals in mind, it becomes much easier to prioritize tasks and stay focused on what’s important.
3. Increases Your Chances Of Success
Setting goals increases your chances of success.
How do you define success?
Well, as Earl Nightingale once put it, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”
When you set goals, you’re essentially creating a roadmap for success. You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you have a plan to get there. And as you achieve each goal, you’ll build momentum and confidence that will spur you to even greater success.
5 Step System For Creating Business Goals
Having a system for creating business goals is critical for any organization that wants to succeed. Unfortunately, far too often, companies either don’t set any measurable goals at all, or they set organizational goals that are so vague or unrealistic that they’re completely unusable.
By following a simple, step-by-step goal-setting process, you can create organizational goals that are clear, achievable, and aligned with the big picture, your company’s vision.
STEP 1: Define your company's core values
What Are Core Values?
If you’re like most businesses, you probably have some idea of your core values. But what exactly are core values?
Core values are the foundation upon which your organization is built—they guide your decision-making process, shape your culture, and help you attract and retain the best employees. In short, they define who you are as a company.
Why Are Core Values Important To Goal Setting?
Despite their importance, many organizations never take the time to define their core values clearly. As a result, they may create goals that conflict with their values or are challenging to achieve; consequently, team motivation wanes.
That’s why it’s so important to define your company’s core values prior to setting goals. By doing so, you ensure that your goals align with your values and are doable without compromising what is most important to you as an organization.
In the end, this ensures that you stay true to yourself while keeping employees motivated and fostering an overall better performance by the entire team. On top of that, you build a robust and sustainable organization that can thrive for years to come.
So if you haven’t taken the opportunity to define your core values, now would be the best time. If you have already completed this, reviewing your core values prior to establishing new goals for your business will provide the perspective of what’s essential (and what’s not). I cannot stress the importance of this step enough!
STEP 2: Conduct a SWOT analysis
What Is A SWOT Analysis?
SWOT Analysis is a well-known and widely used strategic planning tool that helps businesses set goals and achieve them. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT Analysis involves looking at a company’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats.
Where Do Companies Use SWOT Analysis?
Companies use SWOT Analysis to identify the areas where they need to improve and develop strategies for taking advantage of opportunities while mitigating threats.
SWOT Analysis Example For Small Business
For example, let’s say a company is looking to enter the online market; Their SWOT Analysis might look something like this:
- Established brand
- Large customer base
- Experienced team
- Strong financials
- Lack of online presence
- No eCommerce platform
- Limited web traffic
- The huge potential online market
- Opportunity to build new revenue streams
- Ability to reach new customers
- Competitors with a strong online presence
- Rapidly changing technology landscape
Keeping The Use Of SWOT Analysis In Perspective
It’s important to note that SWOT Analysis is not a goal-setting exercise in and of itself. Rather, it’s a valuable tool for helping business owners identify the goals needed to achieve their desired outcomes.
STEP 3: Set SMART goals
What is a SMART goal, and why is it important?
There’s no doubt that setting SMART goals is essential for any business. But what exactly is a SMART goal?
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. In other words, it is a well-defined goal that you can track progress towards and reasonably achieve given the resources available to you. SMART goals are an essential part of any small business plan (or project plan) because they provide a roadmap for success and help to keep you focused and motivated.
4 Tips For Creating SMART Goals
There are a few key things to keep in mind when setting SMART goals for your company or project.
- First, be specific about what you want to achieve. Vague goals like “increase sales” or “improve customer satisfaction” are not SMART because they are not easy to track progress or measure performance.
- Second, make sure your goals are doable and realistic, given your available resources. It’s important to set goals that challenge and stretch you but are still within the realm of possibility—these are commonly referred to as stretch goals.
- Third, ensure that your goals are relevant to your organization’s mission and vision—the big picture.
- And finally, make sure each goal has a timeline associated with it so you can track your progress and stay on track.
Examples Of SMART Goals For Small Business
Some examples of SMART goals for a small business might include:
- Increase web traffic by 10% within 6 months
- Decrease customer churn by 2% within 1 year
- Increase sales by 20% within 2 years
As you can see, each of these goals is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. By following the SMART goal setting framework, you can set goals that will help your organization grow and succeed.
STEP 4: Create an action plan for each goal
What Is An Action Plan?
An action plan is a detailed road map for achieving specific business goals. This plan outlines the necessary steps, the required resources, and the timeline for completion. Action plans are vital because they provide a clear and concise path for reaching objectives.
Without an action plan, maintaining focus and staying on track can be challenging and hinder productivity. Additionally, action plans help identify potential obstacles and develop strategies for overcoming them.
How To Create An Action Plan To Accomplish Your Goals
There are many different action plan examples that you can use to create your action plan. The important thing is to tailor the action plan to your specific goals.
Start by brainstorming a list of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve your goal.
Then, create a timeline for each task and assign responsibility for each task. Be sure to include milestones in your action plan so that you can track your progress and gauge performance—whether that be individual employee performance, team performance, or company performance, accountability is key!
Finally, review your action plan regularly and make adjustments as needed. By following these steps, you can create an action plan to support your business objectives.
STEP 5: Track your progress and adjust your goals as needed
There are many ways to track your progress and measure success, from simple to-do lists to more comprehensive action plans. However you choose to do it, tracking your progress is integral to the goal-setting process and fulfillment of your business plan.
3 Big Benefits of Tracking Goal Progress
It’s important to track your progress toward achieving business goals for several reasons.
- First, it lets you see how far you’ve come and how much work is still pending; This can be motivating, helping you stay on track and stay focused—it also tends to work well with motivating employees—especially high-performing employees.
- Second, it can help you identify areas where you’re falling behind or need to make changes to your action plan.
- And finally, tracking your goal progress can help you adjust your goals if necessary, ensuring that you stay realistic.
Common Pitfalls To Avoid In The Goal Setting Process
So by now, hopefully, we’ve made the case that one of the most important keys to success is setting goals. Unfortunately, however, without a destination in mind, it can be all too easy to veer off course; Even the best-intentioned goal-setters can sometimes fall into traps that sabotage their efforts.
Here are a few common pitfalls to avoid when setting goals:
Failing To Set Realistic Goals
It’s essential to set goals that challenge you without being impossible to achieve. Otherwise, you’ll get discouraged and give up before reaching your target. Remember, your goals should stretch you, not kill you.
Overestimating Your Time
Be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to your goal. Trying to do too much too soon is a recipe for burnout.
Merely writing down your goals is not enough. You need to take concrete steps towards attaining them. Otherwise, they’ll remain forever out of reach.
Underestimating The Power of Obstacles
Roadblocks are inevitable on the path to success. But, don’t let them derail your efforts — find a way around them or plow right through them.
By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and realizing your dreams.
Business Goals FAQs
How often should you review your business goals?
A goal is something you’re working towards. A goal can be short-term, like increasing your sales by 10% this quarter, or long-term, like becoming the market leader in your industry. Regardless of your goal, it’s important to review it regularly to ensure you’re on track.
How often you review your goal will depend on how big or complex it is. For example, if your goal is to launch a new product line, you’ll need to review it more frequently than if your goal is to increase sales by 10%. However, you should regularly review simple goals to ensure you’re still on track.
The bottom line is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The frequency of reviews will depend on the nature of your goal. However, it’s good to review your goals at least once a month as a general rule of thumb. Doing so will help you stay focused and ensure you’re progressing toward your objectives.
What should you do if you're not meeting your business goals?
If you’re not meeting your business goals, it’s important to take a step back and assess the situation. First, make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. If they’re not, it’s time to readjust them.
Next, take a look at your action plan and see if there are any areas where you can improve performance. For example, are you putting enough effort into realizing your goal? Do you need to revise your timeline? Are there any obstacles in your way that you need to remove?
Finally, talk to others who have achieved similar goals. They may have some valuable insights to help you get back on track.
The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Remember, even the most successful companies have had to overcome setbacks. However, if you keep working hard and don’t give up, you’ll eventually achieve your goal.
Final Thoughts On Setting Business Goals
Now that you understand how to set business goals, it’s time to put them into practice. Use the steps and tips outlined in this article to create goals that will help you reap the many benefits your business deserves. Remember to make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Review them regularly and revise as needed. Have fun with this process, and enjoy watching your organization grow!
Want Some Help?
Find the goal-setting process challenging? Need help clarifying your business objectives? Want some feedback and accountability?
Our business coaching services can help. We’ll work with you to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals to help you achieve success in your business. So contact us today to get started!