How to Set Small Business Goals & Actually Achieve Them
Creating goals is critical to measuring the successful growth of your business.
What is something all successful small business owners need to do if they are looking to set themselves up for success? They set goals. In fact, they set specific goals, prioritize them, and figure out a strategy (think game plan) that will allow them to achieve those goals.
If you are a small business owner and you’re running your small business based on what feels right or what opportunities present themselves, you are putting yourself in a precarious position. When you don’t set goals, you have no means in which to build a roadmap to success. You also don’t have a map that you can use as a guide that helps you objectively evaluate any offroading that may seem like a good idea at the time, but may not make sense for your individual long-term goals.
The good news is that creating and achieving small business goals isn’t difficult; it just requires that you take some time to determine your objectives.
In our guide below, we’ll help you figure out the ins and outs of how to set small business goals for your company in six simple steps.
Visualize Your Goals
This may sound too new-agey for some, but doing your best to envision what the success of your business looks like is incredibly useful—not only in determining your goals, but also in mapping out a path to achieve them. So, how do you visualize your goals? Keep in mind, the answer is not as simple as turning a high (or higher) profit. Thinking about what success looks like for you and your business is surprisingly personal, and not based on profitability alone.
The first step to visualizing your business goals is simple, but it can be a challenge for those accustomed to fast answers. You need to allow your mind to wander a little and think about your business in its entirety - not just from a profit/loss perspective. For example, if everything worked out the way you want it to, are you employing hundreds of people, opening additional offices/locations, and perhaps ultimately stepping into a different role than you are holding right now? Or, would you be doing the same thing you are now, don’t see a need for expanding operations per se, and simply hope to have sales and offerings grow? These are the types of questions and scenarios you will want to think about when visualizing what success looks like for your business.
As you are asking yourself what success looks like for you and your business, make a list of any ideas that come to mind, even if you know they will not end up being actual goals. The process of thinking through your business and all you hope to accomplish will produce additional insights that you will want to revisit later in the planning stage.
Conduct a SWOT Analysis
Once you’ve visualized your goals and jotted down ideas, it’s time to get started with prioritization. To do so, you’ll need to figure out what areas of your business you ought to address first, and prioritize accordingly.
One way to go about this is to do a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. The SWOT analysis method is designed to help facilitate a realistic, data-based, fact-driven look at the strengths and weaknesses of your business to determine your competitive position. This analysis will be instrumental in helping you identify which areas to focus on when formulating a strategic plan.
Start by dividing a piece of paper into the four parts of the analysis: Strength/ Weakness/Opportunities/Threats. Brainstorm to determine which areas of your business fall into each category. For example, under Strength, you may list that your revenue exceeded this year’s projections by 20%, but under Weakness, you might jot down that you haven’t generated any new leads in the past six months. For Opportunities, maybe you note that you just created social media accounts to promote your small business across more channels. And as for Threats, perhaps a similar big box store just opened near your brick-and-mortar location, causing you to worry about competition.
After doing this SWOT analysis, there’s a good chance you’ll automatically start identifying which areas you are going to want to focus your efforts on or prioritize. After reviewing these key areas with your team, you may decide to work toward:
- Generating more leads
- Increasing your social media presence
- Finding ways to set your business apart from big box stores
Yes, these are areas to focus on, but they aren’t actual goals just yet!
Determine SMART Goals
Now that you have an idea of what success looks like for your business and what areas you need to focus on, you’re ready to get more specific and form some SMART small business goals. But what exactly makes them SMART?
SMART goals align with the following five parameters. More simply put, when assessing a potential goal, ask yourself, if it’s:
- Specific: What exactly is it that you want to achieve?
- Measurable: How will you know if you achieved your goal?
- Attainable: Is this goal actually achievable and realistic?
- Relevant: Does your goal align with your areas of interest? (Refer back to your SWOT analysis if you are unsure)
- Timely: When do you plan to achieve this goal?
You want to avoid setting small business goals that are vague and unrealistic. The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll be able to plan how to achieve it.
So, what is a business goal example? Well, deciding you want to increase your social media presence is not a SMART goal, but determining you’d like to gain 1,000 followers on your new TikTok account by a specific date, let’s say the end of the year, is. Let’s review this example through the SMART goals lens:
- Is this goal specific? Yes—gain a set number of new TikTok followers by a set date.
- Is it measurable? Yes—receive 1,000 new followers, which you can easily monitor on your account.
- Is it attainable? Yes—based on your research of TikTok follow rates and your business, it’s not an unreasonable goal.
- Is it relevant? Yes—it aligns with your SWOT analysis opportunities.
- Is it timely? Yes—you plan to achieve this goal before the end of the year.
Let’s look at another small business goal example based on your SWOT analysis. Because lead generation falls under your Weakness category, you may want to make a SMART goal specific to addressing that weakness. After doing some research and assessing your current rates, you might decide on a modest goal of generating 15 new leads via SMS text subscriptions by January 1, 2023. How do you know it’s a SMART goal? Review the five SMART questions to ensure it aligns.
Create a Game Plan
Now that you’ve identified some clear goals, it’s time to map out a way to achieve them. This step involves taking a careful look at each specific goal.
Going back to your social media goal of gaining 100 new TikTok followers, consider what strategy you may employ to encourage your customers to follow you on this specific platform.
Strategies to achieve your goal could include:
- Curate and create informative and relevant content that will make your customer base want follow your account on TikTok.
- Offer a discount to customers who subscribe to your account.
- Host a contest in which customers must follow your account for a chance to win.
- Develop engaging video content that inspires your customers to follow for more views.
- Create mobile marketing ideas using other marketing channels, like SMS messaging, to encourage your customers to follow your social media accounts.
Once you have a better idea of what you want to begin experimenting with, you can start creating timelines and plan when to execute each idea.
Track Your Small Business Goals
If you really want to achieve your small business goals, you must play an active role in working toward them. This means finding ways to track your progress to ensure you’re moving in the right direction. After all, you don’t want to wait until a week before your goal date to see how close you’ve come to achieving it.
There are a lot of goal-setting tools and trackers out there that can help you monitor your progress. For instance, programs like Monday.com and Asana provide Gantt charts that let you track each stage of your progress and mark off smaller tasks and goals along the way.
You may find that some platforms you already use include tools that allow you to track your goals. One great example of this is the tracking feature on the EZ Texting platform.
Let’s say you’re using small business SMS marketing to let your customers know about your social media accounts or to announce a contest that’s only open to your social media followers. Or, in terms of your lead generation goal, perhaps you’ve decided to count those who opt-in to receive your SMS messages as a lead conversion.
With the EZ Texting platform, you can take advantage of built in analytics tools and reporting features to track how your marketing campaigns are performing. Details such as times and spikes in your engagement, delivery rates, opt-in reports, and contact counts are all trackable. If you’re not seeing the results you’re looking for, in this case an increase in TikTok followers, you can use this knowledge to pivot or go back to the drawing board when ideating around your goals.
Develop Goal-Tracking Habits
We can’t stress this enough: Your goals aren’t going to achieve themselves. Aside from monitoring and tracking your progress, it’s important to create habits that will put you on the path toward success.
To get off on the right foot, begin by setting calendar reminders. Maybe every Monday morning you check your tracking platforms, and every other Tuesday you meet with your team to discuss wins and setbacks. And perhaps Friday afternoons are your time to brainstorm ways to pivot or improve. Once you get into a groove of checking on your progress, it’ll become a habit and you will need to rely on your calendar to remind you much less.
Achieving your small business goals and creating a goal-tracking habit is attainable if you approach it the right way. This could mean following the six steps discussed here or another strategic approach that works for you.
Learn More About EZ Texting
Can text help small businesses? Absolutely! Our examples above showcased just a few ways that you can incorporate SMS marketing into your small business goals.
To see for yourself, take advantage of our free trial here at EZ Texting. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Contact us today to find out more.