As a small business owner, you face many different challenges on the path to success. However, while these obstacles can be overwhelming at times, they are often not insurmountable. To help you overcome these hurdles, it’s necessary to set goals for your business. Furthermore, you need to be able to achieve them once they’re established.
With that in mind, we’re going to go over the top tips for setting business goals and how you can accomplish them. With this guide, you should be able to take your enterprise to the next level, no matter where you are right now.
Why Is It Necessary to Set Goals for Your Business
When starting a new company, there are so many operational details to handle that goal-setting may not seem like a priority. However, even if you’re still trying to get up and running, establishing objectives and targets for your business is crucial. Here are a few reasons why goals are necessary.
Keeps You Moving Forward. If you’re too focused on maintaining operations, you won’t be able to take your company to the next level, either in sales or market shares.
Keeps You Focused. One reason companies fail is that they try too many ideas without following through on them. By setting goals and analyzing the results, you can avoid wasting time and money on tactics that don’t work.
Keeps You Motivated. Running a business is hard work and requires a lot of commitment. Without benchmarks or metrics to show how far you’ve come, it’s easy to lose sight of your motivations and passions. Goal-setting helps you track progress, making it easier for you to continue.
Now that we know why setting objectives is vital for your business, let’s dive into the how. Here are the steps necessary to ensure that you’re creating valuable goals and following through on them.
Step One: Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Before establishing an objective, you need to make sure that it’s worth pursuing. Not only that, you have to know what it will take to reach the finish line. Otherwise, you could wind up spinning your wheels with nothing to show for it.
A SWOT analysis is an excellent way to figure out which goals will help your business the most. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Here’s a quick overview of each section:
Strengths. What sets your business apart from the competition? Is it customer service? High-quality products? Attention to detail? List the core components that help your brand stick in customers’ minds. This list will allow you to determine which goals are the easiest to achieve.
Weaknesses. Depending on your business, you may have vulnerabilities that are beyond your control. For example, you might not have enough capital to invest in high-end projects. Or, perhaps you’re so new that you struggle to get noticed in a crowded marketplace. By understanding your weaknesses and limitations, you can craft goals to help you overcome them. Also, this list will ensure that you don’t create an objective that’s too far out of reach.
Opportunities. This section is the broadest, so it helps to narrow it down into multiple categories. For example, one group could be sales opportunities, such as potential clientele. Another group could be market expansion, either by offering new products or moving into a new location.
Threats. Here is where you can determine the most significant challenges that threaten your success. Could it be a specific competitor? Perhaps it’s a lack of funding. You want to mitigate these threats as much as possible so that they don’t derail your progress.
Once you’ve done your SWOT analysis, you can compare your opportunities against any threats or weaknesses. This way, you can establish goals that are within reach. Incremental success is still better than nothing, so even if you can’t shoot for the stars, you can keep moving forward.
Step Two: Establish Your Focus Area
One problem that many companies have is that they try to do too much at once. While it can be beneficial to tackle multiple objectives at once, you don’t want to overreach and set yourself up for failure.
Instead, it’s better to focus on one or two areas. Using your SWOT analysis, you can prioritize your goals based on how they will impact your business and your brand. To help you understand this process, here are a few potential options that might work for your company.
Brand Awareness. If you’re still new to your industry, you have to stand out amongst the competition. Marketing campaigns that increase brand awareness can help draw more customers to your storefront or website and broaden your reach.
Increased Revenue. There are two ways to improve your bottom line: raise the price point per order or increase the number of orders. Depending on the status of your business, one option might be better than the other.
Increased Market Share. No matter the industry, no business will have 100 percent of the market. This means that there is always room for improvement. Increasing your share can include reaching out to new customers, expanding to new locations or offering new products and services.
Step Three: Make Sure You Have SMART Goals
Once you know your focus area, you need to set goals for your business break them down into specific action items. The best way to do this is by using the SMART system. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive. Here’s a quick breakdown of each section:
Specific. It’s not enough to say that you want to increase sales. Which items do you want to focus on specifically? Don’t deal in generic terms; focus your attention on individual pieces so that it will be easier to reach your goal.
Measurable. If your objective is to increase sales, how will you know if you succeeded? Your goals have to be quantifiable. Otherwise, it’s impossible to tell if you’re moving in the right direction. Whatever the goal may be, put a number behind it. Make sure you have tools to track that number so you know when you reach it.
Achievable. While it can be tempting to aim for a lofty goal (i.e., million-dollar sales), it won’t mean anything if you can’t achieve it. Even if your long-term objective is high, focus on something smaller and more reasonable right now. Here is where your weaknesses and threats will come into play.
Relevant. You should have a mission statement for your business. If you don’t, now is the time to make one. Then, when establishing your goals, make sure that they correlate to your mission statement. If not, then you could be diluting or hurting your brand in the process.
Time-Sensitive. If you don’t have a deadline to reach your goal, it’s far too easy to lose momentum. Don’t worry if you fail to reach the deadline. You can always readjust and try again.
Step Four: Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
When it comes to measuring your business goals, it helps to quantify your progress. Not only that, you have to understand where you are right now to know where you’re trying to go.
For example, if your focus is brand awareness, here’s how that could look with KPIs.
- Goal: To increase the number of followers on social media.
- Current Number: 500 followers.
- Target Number: 1000 followers.
- Time Frame: Four months.
Based on this data, your KPI should be 125 new followers per month (500/4). If you’re reaching that target each month, then you know you’re on track. If you’re coming up short, you need to figure out why and adjust accordingly.
Step Five: Analyze Your Results
To ensure that you can reach both current and future goals, you have to be able to curate and analyze data. Otherwise, if you fail in your objective, how can you know what to change next time? Conversely, if you exceeded your expectations, what factors drove that momentum and how can you capitalize on it further?
There are two ways to analyze your goals: real-time data and a post-mortem. Real-time data means that you’re looking at how your KPIs are doing. Using our above example, you’d want to check in on your follower count daily or weekly to see if you’re on target.
A post-mortem analysis is necessary whether you succeed or fail. This happens at the end of your deadline, and it allows you to figure out what worked and what didn’t. From there, you can refine your goals based on data so that it’s easier to succeed next time.
When you set goals for your business, be sure that you can collect data during the process. For example, if you’re trying to get customers from a specific location, how can you tell? One method may be a direct mailer with a particular code for each mailing area.
The analysis is the secret to accomplishing goals. Even if you didn’t succeed the first time, you can readjust and try again. As long as you’re moving forward, even slightly, then success is inevitable.
Contact Us Today
Reaching your business goals can be a daunting task if you don’t have the right tools. At Omnisocial Engine, we are dedicated to help you set goals for your business and actually accomplish them. We have the means and materials to help you realize your objectives, regardless of what they may be. Give us a call to see how we can get your business to the next level.