Once you know how important it is to set goals in business, it’s time to take a look at the different types of goals to set for our small business. Since your goals are the drivers of your success, it’s important to set goals that are relevant to what you want to achieve with your business.
This can actually be fun because it allows you to dream and plan. But it also requires serious thought and contemplation because in order to set appropriate business goals you’ll need to be clear about what you want and what you can achieve in a particular time period.
So let’s take a look at five common types of goals to set for a small business.
One word of caution, though, before we begin. You do not have to tackle all of these types of goals at the same time. What you need to work on depends on the stage your business is in and your personal needs. However, most businesses will at least work on a couple of these at a time.
You’ve probably heard it said that if you don’t have a product or service to sell then you’re not really in business. And that’s very true. Because if your business isn’t making any money then what you’ve really got is an expensive hobby.
Now there’s nothing wrong with a hobby. And for many of us, when we first get started there’s no money coming in (it’s ALL going out). But if you’re serious about turning your hobby into a business then you have to get serious. You’ll have to buckle down, get focused, and learn what you need to know in order to make it work.
I happen to know this because it’s where I was for longer than I’d like to admit.
So probably the first goal type of goal you’re going to want to set is to determine how much money you want – or need – to make.
You may want to set a very simple goal of how much money you want to make per year, and then break it down per quarter and per month. That’s certainly the easiest goal to set and it’s also easy to monitor.
After all, you either make the money or you don’t.
However, that simple of a goal might not give you a clear picture since it doesn’t take into account the money that is going out of your business as well.
Therefore I’d suggest that instead of thinking simply in terms of income, you think in terms of profit. How much of that money are you actually getting to keep when the dust settles.
After all, it may not matter if you make a million dollars every year if every penny of it goes out the door to cover expenses. What you’re really interested in is net profit – how much of it you get to keep.
So you might have a goal of reducing your ongoing expenses by a certain percent. Or you might simply state your income goal as net profit goal.
But in order to achieve this goal, make sure that you schedule time in your calendar to keep tabs on this regularly. Doing so allows you to make changes as needed while you’ve got time for them to take effect.
Personally, I have the first Saturday of each month scheduled in my calendar as my “Biz Day.” That’s when I take a look at the financials and other important metrics for my sites. It’s a date that I keep with myself so that I don’t look up and find that six months have gone by and I’m uncertain about what’s going on (because that’s easy to do).
A different type of goal involves the products and/or services you offer.
They say it’s easier to convince someone to buy from you the second time than it is the first.
Whether you agree with that statement or not, you’ll want to continually be looking at the products and/or services that you do – or plan to – offer.
It’s going to help increase your income if you’re always working to add new products or services to your existing offerings. This allows you to continue to serve your customers with other products and/or services that meet their needs.
This requires that you know your customer’s needs very well so that you can offer exactly what you know they’re looking for and what they need (perhaps even before they realize they need it). Maybe you’ve got a line of printables that you need to add to so that your customers have more choices.
However, you don’t want to forget about the products and services that you’ve already created. What can you to do make them better or to market them more effectively? Where can you look for new markets to grow your base of potential customers? Perhaps you need to update your sales funnel to make more people aware of what you’ve got to offer.
And sometimes you need to spruce up your existing products in some way. Maybe they need new packaging or new sales pages? If you’re an author, have you got a book that would sell better if you updated its cover?
We don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. But sometimes we do need to spruce it up a bit.
Customer Service Goals
What can you do to improve your customer service? Let’s just face facts, there’s lots of competition in every niche. And chances are good that someone else is offering the same type of products and services that you are.
So what’s to keep your customers from just hopping over to your competitors and working with them instead?
What keeps your customers coming back to you is YOU and your customer service. You want your customers to be so happy with your products and services that they aren’t even interested in looking at what a competitor is doing.
So think about what kinds of things you need to start doing in order to satisfy your customers and keep them coming back for more. And if you don’t have anything in place, then that’s where you want to start brainstorming.
There’s always more work to do than time to do it in. It seems to be the bane of every solopreneur I’ve ever known.
However, if you want your business to succeed – and especially if you want it to grow – then you’re going to need to figure out how to get as much done as you can in an efficient manner.
Here is where productivity goals can help you focus in on the priorities.
For example, planning what specific projects you want to work on during a particular time period can keep you from wasting time on tasks that aren’t moving your business forward. It helps prevent that “what do I do next” feeling when you sit down to work because you haven’t identified the priorities.
This is especially important when you’ve got multiple goals and competing demands. It’s easy to get scattered and stay busy but not really accomplish much if you aren’t working on the right things.
Let me give an example. Let’s say that you’ve got three different products you want to create this year. Instead of pecking away at all three at the same time and taking a long time to finish them all (since they’re all in various stages of completion), it would be more efficient to determine that you’re going to complete product #1 during quarter one before beginning to work on product #2 in the second quarter.
Setting your goals in this way will allow you to be more productive because you’re making better use of your time and actually finishing things before moving on to something else (there are lots of versions of shiny object syndrome).
Another type of productivity goal you can set is to determine your work hours and set a daily schedule for yourself. Allowing yourself only a set amount of time for certain activities tends to help them get done faster. It’s the truth that things take as much time as you allot for them so don’t allow too much time.
And sometimes you need to set a goal of improving your work surroundings. We don’t always pay attention to it, but we are affected by our surroundings. For example, if you’re working in a dark, dreary room, you’re likely to feel sluggish and get less done even if you don’t actually realize it at the time.
I’ve recently set the goal of improving my work space and have taken steps to brighten up my work area and clean out some junk. I replaced a dark blind with a white one, bought a couple of plants, and purchased an essential oil diffuser and my favorite scent.
I’m already feeling happier when I’m working which means that I’m getting more done.
Once you’ve got a good handle on your business you’ll want to think about your growth goals. What do you see for your business in the future? What kind of growth numbers do you want to shoot for and what activities do you need to start doing to make that goal a reality?
As you work more ON your business instead of just IN your business you’ll naturally begin to think more about the different types of goals you’ll want to set.
One of the tools I use when I set goals is Asana. You can learn more about how to use Asana to set your goals by reading this article.
Setting – and achieving – goals that are realistic but still require you to stretch yourself will help your business grow and contribute to its long-term success. And isn’t that what we got in business for?
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