When talking about the importance of goal setting in business, it’s easy to overlook the big picture. Goal planning, after all, takes time and who has time for that? We have businesses to run!
However, once you realize how ten minutes of goal planning per day can save you hours per week, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. Goals give you direction, focus and most importantly, a clear plan.
Effective goal-setting is extremely powerful. Once you know how to set business goals you can really achieve, you’ll build incredible momentum that’ll keep you going and going!
why is goal planning crucial in business?
Did you know that the majority of start-up businesses fail within their first 5 years? This is HUGE! According to experts, a large reason behind this is the fact that many business owners fail to plan ahead.
Without adequate planning, it’s easy to lose direction and become overwhelmed by the day-to-day running of our business. That’s why setting goals is so important.
As a solopreneur, this is even more critical. You are the only one responsible for the success of your business. It’s a great honor, but also a great responsibility. When you have a business partner, one of you can focus on a specific area such as content creation while the other takes care of the marketing and design aspects.
When you’re the boss, content creator, marketer, graphic designer, website builder and bookkeeper all at once, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of what you need to focus on to grow your business.
Here, we’ll look at some of the reasons why goal planning is the backbone of your business.
goals are the building blocks to your success
Creating business goals helps you propel the business forward, supporting its success. No matter which area of your business you’re looking to improve, the right goals can really help you to take your business to the next level.
Without goals, you won’t know which parts of your business to focus on in order to get the results you’re looking for. So, you’ll likely end up stuck in a rut, not really achieving anything of significance unless you have realistic, measurable goals.
goals enable you to monitor your progress
In order to succeed in business, it’s necessary to monitor your progress. Which parts of the business are doing well, and which could use a little improvement?
Unless you have a clear idea of where your efforts should be focused, it’s easy to waste your time, money and energy on the wrong tasks. So, setting goals and then reviewing them helps you to see how far the business has come and the key areas which require additional focus.
Think of your marketing strategy as a good example here. When you’re spending money trying to attract new customers, you need to know you’re not wasting your efforts. So, setting goals and then reviewing them will help you to see which marketing strategies are working, and which ones you should tweak or let go of completely.
This of it this way: goals are the roadmap to your business’ success.
goals help to boost motivation
Remember that excitement and motivation you felt when you first started your business? It’s what pushed you to launch it and get it off to a great start. However, it’s natural for that motivation and initial excitement to fade after a few months. That’s where goals can prove extremely useful.
Setting goals which can be easily achieved contributes to keeping your motivation intact. As you tick off the goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement and renewed motivation to push forward and achieve the next one. Without motivation, it’s practically impossible to succeed in business.
goals hold you accountable
Business goals also help with holding you accountable. You could have a vague goal in your head that you are working towards, but unless you write it down and monitor it, you’re unlikely to reach it.
Our minds work in a funny way. When left to our own devices, we’re often not as productive or as motivated as we could be, even if we think we are. So, having clear goals helps to keep our focus and mind on the tasks required to push the business forward.
These are just some of the reasons why setting goals in business is crucial to your success. The thing to remember is that goal setting isn’t just a one-off thing. You need to continue to set goals once you’ve achieved those initial ones. You will also need to review your goals periodically and make sure they are still taking you in the right direction.
When properly done, goal-setting is how you ensure your business doesn’t just keep running, but that it thrives!
5 types of business goals to set
Now that you know the importance of goals in business, it’s time to learn more about the different types of business goals. If you truly want to succeed, you can’t just set any random goal for the business; it has to be relevant, realistic and in line with what you’re hoping to achieve.
So, what different types of goals can you set in business? For inspiration, let’s look at 5 of the most common types of business goals to consider.
1. income/profit goals
By far one of the most common goals all businesses have is… you guessed it, to increase their profits. There are a lot of different financial goals you can set for your company, and each of them focus on ultimately boosting your bottom line.
While the most common income-based business goals focus on earning a set amount in a set period of time, you can get creative and set some goals that focus on cutting costs. Some great examples of alternative income/profit goals include shopping around for cheaper suppliers, investing in automated software and outsourcing tasks to reduce in-house costs.
2. customer service goals
No business can survive without excellent customer service. Due to the sheer amount of competition businesses now face, it’s crucial to ensure you are providing excellent customer service. If you aren’t, your customers won’t think twice about heading over to the competition.
So, you could set numerous goals to help improve your customer service, even as a solopreneur. Making a commitment to improve response times, to add different types of communication options, or to provide compensation of some kind to unhappy customers, are all great examples of customer service goals you could work towards.
Here are some great customer service goal ideas to get you started:
- Setting up a Messenger bot to handle basic customer requests such as lost passwords and refunds;
- Setting up a bot that gives your customer an instant response when they reach out for support, letting them know their request was received and establishing the time frame for a response;
- Creating a FAQ section on your website;
- Creating a knowledge base/wiki on your website.
It may help to survey your market in order to figure out what they expect in terms of customer service. Are they DIYers who delight in using a knowledge base and resolving their own issues? Or would they rather get support directly from you?
3. product/service goals
In order to be successful, you’ll want make sure the products and services you offer are rock solid. It’s not just your existing products you’ll want to focus on either.
Product development is a key aspect of a successful business. If you want to keep your customers coming back, you’re going to need to give them something to come back for. That means, consistently working on new products and services your customers are sure to love and need.
Some examples of product and service goals include improving existing products, seeking out innovative ideas to develop new products and expanding your range of services.
Your product development goals could also include hiring a freelancer who aligns with your business vision and letting them take care of some of your content creation.
4. productivity and motivation goals
If you want to boost every aspect of your business, productivity and motivation goals can help.
The more productive you are, the more successful the business is going to be. There are a lot of ways you can boost your productivity and motivation.
Creating self-care goals, setting up your quarterly marketing plan and automating your business are all goals that can help you stay productive and motivated. You can even include training goals in here too, where you define what your personal continuing education plan is for the next quarter or year.
5. expansion goals
Once your business is doing relatively well, you can start to focus on expansion goals. This means figuring out ways to push the business forward and accelerating its grow.
These types of goals typically require the most work. While technology has made it easier to expand, there are still plenty of challenges you’ll need to overcome.
Some business expansion goals you could consider include hiring a freelance writer to take care of content production, outsourcing your social media marketing to a VA, hiring a temporary project manager for your big launches, or recruiting a team of affiliates that promote your products to their own audiences.
As you can see, there are many types of business goals you can focus on. If you want to help your business to really succeed, you’ll need to focus on several types of goals. However, it’s important to start out with the most important types of goals first so you don’t get too overwhelmed.
5 mistakes to avoid when setting business goals
When you set the right goals for your business, it can really boost your success. However, did you know there are many mistakes you can make when setting business goals?
If you set the wrong ones, it can actually damage your business, rather than help it. So, if you want to ensure your business goals are a success, keep on reading to discover the top 5 goal-setting mistakes to avoid.
1. not making your goals specific
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when setting business goals is being too vague. It’s crucial you make the goals as specific as possible if you want to make sure they are achievable.
Have you heard of SMART goals?
Note how “specific” is the first component of a SMART goal, and there’s a very good reason for that: defining your specific goal is the cornerstone of your entire action plan. Everything else hinges on it. After all, how can you measure a non-specific goal? How can you make sure it’s attainable if it’s not well-defined?
For example, a vague business goal could be something like “increasing my profits”. While this is certainly a great goal to have, it doesn’t exactly give you much to work with does it? How are you going to increase your profits, how much do you want to increase them by and what steps can you take to do it? These are just some of the things you need to consider to break your goals down.
The more specific your goals are, the more likely you’ll be to achieve them.
2. setting unrealistic goals
Just as detrimental to your progress is the unrealistic goal. You may have lots of great visions of where you want the business to go. However, you need to make sure they are realistic and achievable.
You can make the mistake of both setting an unrealistic type of goal, as well as an unrealistic time frame for completion. The trouble with unrealistic goals is that they can really damage productivity and motivation. If you don’t achieve them, you’ll become frustrated and it could put you off goal-setting altogether.
For example, “writing a new blog post every day” is a wonderful goal, in theory. However, is it realistic? If you’re a mom solopreneur who has to homeschool, it probably isn’t. If you’re still working full-time, then a more realistic goal could be one or two blog posts a week.
Don’t worry, you’ll be able to set more ambitious goals as your business grows!
3. prioritizing the wrong things
Many business owners will make the mistake of setting a goal without really thinking about whether they need it. The key to effective goal setting is to prioritize your goals.
Think about which areas of the business need the most work or improvement. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you may at some point want to expand overseas. But, is your business actually ready?
You’ll need to make sure your company at home is performing well before you even consider expanding overseas. So, before you look at expanding, set goals to improve your existing business so that when it does come time to expand, you can focus your efforts on that rather than having to deal with other issues at home too.
4. failing to review your goals
Setting goals is just one part of the process; you also need to make sure you review them frequently. Without reviewing your goals, you’ll have no idea whether or not your efforts are paying off.
It’s important to regularly review and track the progress of your goals to determine whether any changes need to be made.
5. not being prepared for failure
Finally, you need to understand that just because you’ve set some business goals for yourself, it doesn’t mean you’ll achieve them. In fact, failure is pretty much guaranteed at some point!
It’s through your failures that you learn how to succeed. So, set your goals and be as realistic and specific as you can, but don’t assume everything will run like clockwork. Be prepared for failure and then be ready to come up with an alternative goal if something does go wrong.
easy methods for setting business goals
Looking for the best ways to set business goals? If you’re willing to give it a go but you’re not sure how to go about it, there are a few easy methods you can try out.
Remember, what works for one business may not necessarily work for another. So, you may need to try out a few different methods before you find the one which works for you.
Here, we’ll look at some easy methods for setting business goals you might want to try out.
smart business goals
There are a lot of different goal setting methods out there, but one which has proven the most successful is the SMART method. As we discussed above, the acronym stands for:
Every business goal you set should follow the above rules. All goals should be specific and measurable. They also need to be attainable, relevant and have a specific time frame for completion. If you follow this method, you’re likely to see excellent results.
breaking down your goals
An easy way to figure out which goals to focus on in your business is to break them down. If you’re struggling to come up with specific goals, then this is definitely the method you’ll want to try.
Start by writing down your main goals. These don’t need to be specific and will in fact more than likely be pretty vague. Then, once you have your overall goals, it’s time to break them down.
Think about what you’ll need to do in order to achieve your overall goals. Write down the smaller steps required in order to meet your overall goals. The more you break them down, the easier they will be to achieve.
In the end, you’ll find yourself with several mini-goals that will eventually lead to the completion of your main goals. This is a very efficient method if you tend to get overwhelmed quickly or lose motivation easily!
start small and review your goals regularly
When it comes time to set new goals, it’s a good idea to review your old ones. What worked and what didn’t work? Did you complete the goals you set? If not, work out why not.
By reviewing your old goals, you can learn from anything that cropped up to prevent you achieving them. This will enhance your chance of success with the new goals you set yourself.
Don’t forget too – the goals you set now should also be easily reviewable. All goals are a work in progress and they often need to be tweaked in order to prove effective.
If you’re just getting started with goal planning, allow me to suggest monthly goal planning in order to really get the hang of it. The more often you can evaluate the efficiency of your goals, the better you’ll become at it. Eventually, you can start adding quarterly and yearly goals to the mix.
physically write your goals down
With so much technology available at our fingertips, it’s easy to set business goals digitally. It may seem more convenient to type your goals out on the computer, but did you know you’ll have more chance of success by physically writing the goals down?
Weirdly enough, there’s something about the action of physically writing things down that really helps it stick. Psychology and all that.
It’s a good idea to invest in a physical goal planner. If you look at the most successful business leaders in the world, you’ll find the majority use a physical goal planner to help them stay organized and connected to their goals.
There are plenty of other methods you can use when setting goals for your business. However, the ones above are definitely proven to have the most success – especially when you’re just getting started. It’s a good idea to try out a few different methods in order to see which one works better for you.
Also, don’t forget that a mix of some or all of the above can work wonderfully well!
tips for setting effective business goals
Your work doesn’t stop once you’ve figured out which goal setting methods are best for your business. Before coming up with specific goals to focus on, there’s a few things you’ll want to look at.
You’ll need to make sure you are setting effective goals which are both easy to achieve and easy to review. To give you a little inspiration, I’ve compiled some of the top tips for setting effective business goals. Follow these and goal-setting should be easy-peasy!
review the current state of your business
The purpose of business goals is to help improve your business. Whether that means drawing in new profits, attracting new customers or improving its efficiency, every goal you set is designed to enhance your success.
So, if you want to really give your business a boost, you’re going to need to know which areas need the most improvement. Start by analyzing the current state of your business and think of all of the things you’d like to change or achieve.
It helps to review your goal planner to have a clear look at the physical evidence.
Once you know which areas need the most improvement, you can ensure your goals are better focused.
ask others for their insight
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas on how you can improve your business, you may find it useful to ask your email list or business contacts. If you’re worried they may not give you an honest answer, you can do it anonymously via surveys.
Your email list will be able to offer insights into what they feel needs to change. After all, happy subscribers consume more of your content, which means… more sales! Seeing their responses may give you a better idea of the type of goals you need to be setting.
be 100% clear about the goal
You already know that the business goals you set should be specific and measurable. However, it can’t be stressed enough that the goal needs to be 100% clear. Anybody who is associated with helping you to achieve the goal should have a good understanding of what they’re working towards.
If a goal isn’t clear enough, you’re going to find it pretty tough to achieve it.
make sure your goals are realistic
Again, this is something I mentioned previously, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes business owners make when setting goals. So, I can’t stress it enough – it’s absolutely essential to make sure your goals are realistic!
This means, making sure they can be achieved easily and in a timely manner. Setting yourself a target to boost profits by 60% within 3 months is all well and good, but is this a goal you can actually complete? If not, you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and you’ll start to lose your motivation.
understand what resources you will need
Sometimes, in order to achieve the goals you set, you’re going to need a few resources to help. It could be finances, software, training or outsourcing some tasks. Figure out exactly what it is you will need to achieve each goal on your list.
The more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your goals.
make sure you feel good about the goals you set
When you’re setting your goals, you’re going to need to make sure you have a positive outlook about them. That means, you feel they are achievable, and they will help your business to succeed.
The more passionate you are about the goals you set, the more likely you’ll be to achieve them. Don’t make the mistake of setting a goal which involves something you hate doing. If you do, you’ll find it easy to put it off and ultimately fail to achieve the goal.
use a goal-setting planner
If you’re looking for a convenient (and cute) way to keep track of your business goals, have a look at the SMART Business Goal Planner in the store! It contains everything you need to brainstorm ideas, create your S.M.A.R.T. goals, break them down into smaller tasks and keep track of everything in one place.
If you need to attack one big goal such as launching a membership site or creating a coaching program, the 12 Week Big Goal Business Planner is perfect for you!
Give business goal setting a try and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. You’ll be able to focus your energy and resource on the areas of your business that need it the most. You’ll be able to keep track of your progress. You’ll feel more confident and less overwhelmed.
Why do you think literally every successful business sets goals on a regular basis?
Because it works.
Happy goal planning!