How to set effective business goals for your small business      

2nd July 2021

Whether you are a start-up business or a flourishing SME business, it’s important to remember that every successful business makes a point of setting business goals. The business goals and objectives you implement as part of your business plan provide focus and a defined purpose for everyone in your team. They also act as stepping-stones to an end result – whether it’s starting a new business, setting up a business franchise, entering a new business partnership, wanting to employ more diversity in your business or otherwise – business goals help you track and measure your successes along the way.

If you’re in the process of setting up a small business and writing a business plan or you’re looking for new business growth ideas for an existing one, here’s what you need to know about setting effective business goals.

Identify what you want to focus on 

Without a clear idea of what your small business needs are or what you are aiming for, you can’t even begin to achieve your business goals. It’s that simple.

That’s why it’s important to determine which areas of the business require more focus. Identifying your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (a SWOT analysis) is an easy, yet effective strategy, to review your business and find out where you can improve.

Set SMART business goals

Once you’ve identified which areas of the business you want your business goals to focus on, it’s time to set them. Unfortunately, it’s common for many small business owners to set unrealistic goals with no indication of how they intend to achieve them. This is where ‘SMART’ goals come in. They are:

  • Specific: Be clear about what you want to accomplish
  • Measurable: Define a specific value or milestone that can help track your progress
  • Achievable: Ensure your goals are realistic – particularly with the resources you have
  • Relevant: Align your goals with your overall business plan and growth strategy
  • Timely: Set a realistic time frame to reach your goals.

SMART business goals help to ensure that your SME business is efficient and productive when working towards targets. They also prevent mistakes and time wasting by providing clear direction on how best to achieve those goals.

For example, let’s compare a broad business goal to a SMART business goal.

A broad goal: “I want to gain 10 new clients.”

A SMART goal: “I will acquire five new clients for my business in the next three months by networking with local businesses, implementing a social media marketing campaign and asking for referrals. This will support my small business and help me grow the business overall.

The SMART goal spells out a more specific business goal, provides a timeframe to achieve the goal and shows how the business is going to get there.

Keep your team in the loop

In small business, you’re only as good as your people. That’s why it’s so important you provide your employees with on-going support, training and insights into your business – especially when setting new business goals.

When changes occur in the business, such as the implementation of new business goals, it’s important relevant employees are aware of how they should alter their work duties and practices. This way, you can feel confident that everyone inside the business is working towards the same objectives and spending their time in the most efficient way.

Implement processes to achieve your business goals

Track your business goals

As already mentioned, assigning a specific value or milestone to your business goal is essential to making it measurable. Having this detail in place shows you how close you are to achieving your business goal and can act as a form of motivation.

Stay flexible

For better or worse, in the world of small business you never know what is around the corner. Whether it’s being prepared for a staff member or a supplier falling sick or being able to invest in a new business partnership, it pays to be agile. While a clearly defined business plan is important in helping you to identify the business goals you want to achieve, being flexible and adapting when things take an unexpected turn is just as important.

Celebrate your wins – both big and small

Keeping morale high when working towards an end goal is crucial to success. By celebrating wins – even the seemingly small ones – you’re recognising the efforts your employees have made and motivating them to push through to the next stages of your business goals.


Contact us to find out more about how BOQ Business can support your small business

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