The most essential step in reaching success as a small business leader is learning how to set and achieve goals for your business both properly and effectively. If you struggle with coming up with realistic goals that will actually lead your business closer to your long-term vision, check out our easy 6-step guide below!
Setting goals for your business is an essential part of achieving your long-term strategic vision. Without defined goals, it is hard to figure out if your business is moving at the right pace, or even if it is headed in the right direction. Small business owners should always set goals for their business during every stage of their company’s life cycle in order to make sure their project continues to grow and move forward consistently over the months and years of the company’s life.
If you are not sure how to set the right goals for your business or are having trouble bringing your ideas to life, the steps below will guide you through the process of setting appropriate goals for your business, analyzing if they are realistic and attainable, and making sure you create effective systems that will help you achieve them.
The very first step you should take when figuring out which goals you should set for your business is to think about your long-term vision. Analyze why you began your business in the first place and what you hope to achieve with it in one, five, or even ten years from now. Where are you headed?
Once you have a clear idea of where you want your business to go, you can move on towards creating your goals. In this second step, you should take your long-term vision apart and divide it into a few smaller sections, such as financial goals, customer service goals, social impact goals, and expansion goals.
It all depends on where your initial strategic goal is. The sections you choose may be different from the examples provided here, and you can have fewer or more according to your own type of business and vision, but the general idea is to have three to five different sections you can begin to classify your goals in.
After creating your own sections, you can begin to write a rough outline of the specific goals you want to achieve within each classification. They do not have to be perfect at this stage, just clear enough to understand!
Goals that do not follow this method can be difficult to track and can even be time-wasters if you are not 100% sure that they will add to your vision, instead of taking time and resources away from it.
For example, a goal that does not follow this method can be written as “increase profit”. But how will you increase this profit? What do you need to achieve it? What is your deadline for completing this goal? How much more do you actually want to increase your profit? It leaves lots of unanswered questions that can cause confusion later on, so it is best to answer all of these questions before putting your plan in motion.
After you understand what each of your goals are, you can begin to plan how you will achieve them. In this step, begin by considering all the aspects that can affect your goals, such as needing to hire additional employees, purchasing new software, or setting more time aside in your week to work on it. While completing the next step, keep these things in mind and work them into your plan.
Now, you can break each goal down even further into smaller, actionable steps. You can choose to divide them however makes more sense for your situation, such as daily or weekly, and you can set different milestones to mark important steps along the way, such as meeting the halfway mark or getting through the hardest stage.
You are almost there! You have set your goals and created your plan, now all you have to do is make sure you actually follow through. The best way to do this is by sharing your ideas and plans with your team, employees, co-workers, or even friends and family members that can support you through your journey. These should be people you trust and who feel comfortable being honest with you.
When figuring out what to look for in a support system, always remember that the purpose of having this group of people is so they can not only help you get through the rough patches and hard moments, but also hold you accountable for the role you play in meeting each of your goals.
Lastly, always remember to celebrate the wins, no matter how small they may feel! Whether it is finishing this guide, or making it a quarter of the way through your first goal, making sure to recognize efforts made by your team, employees, and even yourself are amazing motivators and can help you feel more confident when going after your next goal.
Now that you know exactly how to set and achieve goals for your business, make sure you share with us some of the most important milestones you will be going after during 2021!