As 2020 ramps up, now is the time to think about what you want your small business to accomplish before 2021. But goal-setting (and hence, goal-achieving) can fall flat if you don’t approach it without a plan.
Let’s explore some “goals” to consider for your goal-setting activities.
Six Tips to Help Small Business Owners Set Goals that Matter
Focus on what’s critical to your business’ success.
Having too many goals can be overwhelming, making it difficult to concentrate on any of them effectively. And, setting arbitrary goals that won’t make a difference to your bottom line will create meaningless busywork. Before you sit down to set your goals, think carefully about what really matters and can make a difference to the health of your business.
Make sure your goals are specific and measurable.
Vague goals won’t do your business any favors. For example, “reduce operating expenses” leaves things wide open for interpretation. On the other hand, “Reduce office supply costs by 10 percent” provides a specific and measurable goal.
Make sure your goals are attainable.
Don’t chase unicorns. You should have to work to reach your goals, but if they’re so far out there that there’s nearly no chance of achieving them, you’ll set yourself up for failure. Be realistic and reasonable.
Break things down.
Setting an annual numerical goal can be helpful. However, it may seem impossible to reach that lofty number in the early months of the year when you’re starting at ground zero. Consider breaking yearly goals down into monthly—or even weekly—targets to put them into a shorter-term perspective. For example, an annual goal of “add 100 new prospective customers as connections on LinkedIn” may seem daunting. But when distilled down into a weekly goal of adding two new prospects as contacts per week, reaching the annual goal becomes far less intimidating.
Create a strategy for achieving your goals.
Create a roadmap for what you and others must do to meet your goals. What has to happen daily, weekly, and quarterly to get you to the finish line? Create to-do lists to help keep you and your employees on track.
Set time aside for assessing your situation.
Carve out time monthly or at least quarterly to review whether you’re on target to meet your goals. Are stakeholders following through on their responsibilities? By monitoring your progress regularly, you’ll know if (and why) you’re veering off-course. Then, you can evaluate options for getting back on the right path before it’s too late.
SCORE Can Help You Reach Your Goals
SCORE mentors offer objective guidance and insight to startups and existing small businesses of all sizes and kinds. Contact us for help in taking an objective look at your business as you set your goals for 2020.