As a business owner, profit may be at the top of your mind. However, planning should be too. Often, you can achieve what you want, if you simply create the goals that will get you there.
Goal-setting might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some easy, simple ways you can set goals for your small business. Here are five ways to get started. One of the reasons businesses fail to reach their goals is that they didn’t set goals the right way.
Setting goals is essential for measuring progress and evaluating the success of your business. By setting measurable goals and tracking progress towards achieving them, businesses can identify areas where they are excelling and areas where they need to improve. This enables them to make informed decisions about how to adjust their strategies and tactics in order to achieve better results.
Whether you are a single-person business, a small startup, or a large multinational corporation, having clear and well-defined goals can help you to achieve your objectives. In this article, we will outline a few ways to set business goals.
Create a Mission Statement
What’s the reason for your business? What should people remember about it? If you don’t have a mission statement, now’s the time to create one. If you’re not a fan of mission statements, you might want to re-think how you perceive them. Consider your small business mission statement as the goal that your company will never stop working towards.
In only one sentence, how would you describe what you do? Why does your company exist? Don’t try to be catchy; be honest and accurate.
Here’s some inspiration that shows how a mission statement captures the essence of a company:
- Patagonia is “in business to save our home planet.”
- Google wants “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- Primal Kitchen’s mission is “to change the way the world eats.”
So, create a mission statement for your company that shows why your company is special and what you aspire to do.
Decide on the Type of Goals You Want to Set
Not all business goals are the same. During your goals-setting process, it is a good idea to clearly identify the type of business goals you think are important to your business. Knowing the type of goals you want to set will help you stay focused on the vital aspects that will sustain the health of your company.
One type of goal that you may want to set are strategic goals. These are long-term goals that align with the company’s mission, vision, and values. They focus on achieving growth, market leadership, and sustainability. You may also want to set financial goals as well as non-financial goals for your business. Having a mix of the two will ensure that you do not neglect some areas of your business while pursuing a profit.
Finally, you’ll also want to identify the goal term. Are you setting short-term goals, medium-term goals, or long-term goals? If you are a brand new business, some important first-year business goals may need to be set. The same is true if you’ve been in business for a few years.
Assess Your Challenges & Strengths
Once you have a mission statement that succinctly identifies what you want your company to do, assess where you are today. Make a list of challenges and strengths related to that goal.
What has to change? What’s going well? Let this be a freeform list of whatever comes to mind.
For example, if your mission is to be the leading seller of ladies’ fashion in your neighborhood, you’ll need to evaluate your competition. Here are some questions that could come to mind:
- What can we do well that our competitors aren’t?
- Are we offering clothing that is on-trend and in-season?
- Can we meet customer needs in ways that our competitors can’t?
- How can we create a marketing plan that will make women want to shop here?
As you evaluate the current state of your business, you may find that you need to make some adjustments along the way.
Create Some Micro Goals
While you may not have plans for world domination, your mission statement gives you a general idea of where you want to go. It’s the smaller goals you’ll set that will get you to that big-picture future. This is done by setting a few micro goals
Micro goals allow you to break down your larger business objectives into manageable tasks. By doing this, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed. This also helps ensure that you are making steady progress toward your ultimate goal. These types of goals also help you identify potential roadblocks and make necessary adjustments along the way.
Additionally, micro goals provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation as you achieve each one. There is nothing better than celebrating small victories while on the road to your ultimate goals. This sense of achievement and progress can help keep you and your team motivated and energized.
Setting micro-goals can keep your business on track and ensure that you are making steady progress toward your larger objectives. It allows you to focus on the details instead of getting overly fixated on the big-picture.
Evaluate Your Results
As you create your goals, remember that your goals exist to serve you, not the other way around. If you find that your goals are too ambitious for where you are now, you can revise them. That’s what long-term goals are for: the distant future.
The short-term goals are for where your business is positioned now. Enough success at these goals will allow you to ace your goals, and you’ll be amazed at your progress. Success builds upon success.
So, evaluate your short-term goal-setting and the results. What went well? What didn’t go well? Did you learn something in the process that you didn’t anticipate learning? Keep notes or a journal of your observations. It might be useful later.
Repeat the Goal-Setting Process
Evaluating the goals you’ve already set is an important part of the goal-setting process. With the notes or journal you’re keeping, you’ll have a record of things you’ve learned. What went well and what didn’t go well? What should be done differently next time? These are all things that will help each time you set new goals.
Once you’ve completed some rounds of setting short-term goals, you’ll want to create some long-term goals. Set a general vision of where you’d like your business to be a couple of years from now.
Some examples of long-term business goals include:
- Selling our items at trade shows and festivals
- Increasing demand so high that we need a second location
- Selling our products in-person and online
- Maintain great customer reviews
- Profits of a certain amount
In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey suggests to those who want to achieve success should “begin with the end in mind.” This is a great way to think about how to set goals for your business. Envisioning where you want your business to be in the future might seem difficult, but it’s crucial for your success. Creating small goals based on where you are now will provide an appropriate challenge for your business. Achieving several cycles of success on small goals will create large wins for your business.