You may have started your business because you're passionate about something.
You’ve always wanted to be your own boss and pursue a career that drives you and rewards you in the long run.
You have your product or service suite ready to be launched, which you can see transforming the lives of your target customer.
It all seems to be falling in place, exactly how you had envisioned.
However, that vision can quickly turn into a nightmare if you're not careful and don’t have any direction to follow.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a small business, and not focus on achieving long-term goals. But, if you want to see real growth in your business, you will need to set realistic yet challenging goals for yourself and your employees.
Goals are essential whether you’re a small business owner or a big corporation. These goals are your roadmap that helps you stay focused on reaching success.
They allow you to keep track of your business, where it’s going, and any obstacles it faces along the way. They also give you direction in your day-to-day routine and keep you on track to achieve your goals.
The Goal-Setting Process
Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound, and they need to align with your values.
Let us break down goal-setting for each of these factors.
It’s essential to define the problem before you start on a solution. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? It’s amazing how many people jump in at the deep end and make a goal of “be more successful” without knowing what they mean by that.
Keep your goals highly specific.
Is your goal to reduce customer churn? Increase profitability? Hire four new employees?
Think about it before you can start working toward it.
Your goal also needs to be something that can be measured. How will you know when you’ve succeeded if you don’t have a way of tracking progress?
The example I mentioned above about reducing customer churn could look like this: “We want to reduce our customer churn rate by 2% within the next six months.”
Attainable and Time-Bound Goals
Once again, returning to our hypothetical goal of reducing customer churn, what would happen if we set the bar too high?
Before starting your goal-setting journey, make sure that what you want is achievable—if not immediately upon setting the goal, then at least within a reasonable amount of time and effort.
For example, many small business owners say they would like to increase revenues, but they need to be able to quantify that goal.
Setting a goal of increasing revenues by 10% over the next six months is more reasonable than simply saying you want “more” revenue.
It’s also important to set goals you can reach in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if your business is just starting and has only made $5,000 in sales so far this year, setting a revenue goal of $50 million for the entire year may not be realistic.
Case Study - Fashion Entrepreneur
A fashion entrepreneur friend of mine had a clear goal - to grow sales through Instagram.
She had been in the business for a while and had good traction from Instagram. So, to grow her business, she focused on her recall value.
She diligently worked on her videos’ aesthetics and brand deck and published consistent stories and reels on her account with proper branding. This helped people to identify her brand in their feed. And gradually, people started connecting with her and getting nurtured by her content. Doing this consistently helped her get more sales through Instagram.
Setting goals for your business can be daunting in the beginning. Your mind will race with potential roadblocks and obstacles that could get in the way.
That's why I suggest you start by reflecting on these questions.
What do you want your business to look like three years from now?
What impact do you want your business to make on the world?
What’s your “why” behind starting this business?
What does success look like for your business?
What goal do you think is achievable in a year for your business?
This is all for this season folks! I’ll be back in a few weeks with more content around marketing and entrepreneurship.