Small Business Goals: How to Set Realistic Goals for Your Small or Expanding Business
By: Leamon Crooms
If you have a small business, you can keep it from getting stagnant by setting small business goals. These goals can also help you stay focused on increasing your business, which means ongoing success. Most people set goals at the beginning of a year, but you should be setting goals at least quarterly for a small business with the exception of one: Business branding and marketing should be monthly goals.
Choosing Small Business Goals
When you have many goals, make a list of them, then list them in order of priority. You can set more than one or two goals per quarter if you believe you can achieve those goals during that time. Each goal should have short-term and long-term actions and a plan for meeting that goal. For example, if you want to increase business by 50 percent over the year, your short-term goal might be to increase business by 12 to 13 percent each quarter.
In addition to the long-term goal of increasing business by 50 percent for the year, this goal needs to include a plan for getting to your goal and a plan for keeping the new customers. Your small business goals might consist of one or more of the following, including business branding and marketing. Some of these goals are for small businesses just starting, and others are for small businesses that have been in business for several years.
Whether you are a sole proprietor or have several employees, you will need to add additional employees as your business grows. It is best to speak with your accountant before hiring people to make sure you know about the regulations, and if your business can support the employees you need to hire. Some companies get trapped because they need another person, but they can’t support a full-time person year-round.
If you can hire the right employee at the right salary, the employee’s contribution should be able to pay for himself and bring in extra money to achieve other goals and help with the increase in business completing other goals created.
Manage and Reduce Business Expenses
The cost of running your business cuts into your bottom line, so the best thing you can do is reduce and better manage your business expenses. This goal could save you down the line should the economy crash.
Keep track of your business expenses, how often you incur the cost, and look for ways to reduce a specific expense. You might refinance to a lower interest rate to save on the mortgage payment for your building, or you might find a supplier with equal or better quality products for a more reasonable price.
Additionally, managing and reducing business expenses helps to make other goals easier to reach. When you minimize certain business expenses, you have more money to increase your business. For example, when you reduce your monthly utility usage, you can use that money to increase your budget for business branding and marketing.
Create Lists and Sub-Lists
The easiest way to set a realistic goal is to use lists. The top of the list should have the main, long-term goal, such as ramping up productivity. You should then list the actions you need to ramp up productivity. These will be the short-term goals you need to meet to bring the major goal to fruition. This list might look like this:
- Check employee break times to make sure they are not over-extending breaks.
- Keep employees off social media and personal email.
- Make it easier for employees to do their jobs.
The third sub-goal might have its own sub-goals, depending on the type of business you run and the amount of restructuring you need to make an employee’s job easier. For example, if you have a restaurant and the cook is prepping, you might consider hiring a prep cook. The cook can then concentrate on cooking, which might mean opening earlier for lunch or staying open later for dinner service.
Additionally, you might provide the cook with better equipment. If you have a stove where one or two burners do not work, it is time for repairs or a new stove. Does the cook have all of the tools required to be more productive? For example, is the cook mixing something by hand that could be done with a new mixer? All of these issues cost money, so you need to separate this sub-goal into more than one part so that the goal is more realistic.
Even though you might plan to accomplish a goal in 6 months or a year, you should establish a timeline, especially if a goal has several short-term goals that make it up. For items that cost money, know how much you need to save or borrow and how long it will take to obtain the cash. For employee items, you might discuss your plans with your employees – they will most likely have to make some of these changes to allow you to realize your goals on time.
For example, do you want to increase your online visibility? You might need a new website, or you might need to update your current website. While this sounds like a tedious task that could take months, but if you break it down into short-term sub-goals, you’ll have your branding and marketing in place before you know it.
Breaking your business down into sections and creating web pages for each area within a particular time is one of the easiest timelines to make. You can also hire professional web designers to help with online marketing, including websites, social media, and other digital marketing practices.
Contact Strategic Growth Advisors
For those businesses that need professional help in small business marketing strategy, Strategic Growth Advisors can help create a plan to grow your business. Contact us to set up a consultation to start growing your business branding and marketing.