If you are a first-time owner of a small business, business goals are probably a new concept to you. You have the highest hopes and dreams for your business, but you don’t know how to get there. If that’s the case, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will find a list of business goals that you could apply to your own business. Keep in mind the things you want to accomplish and the resources you plan on using to get there. Pretty soon, if you stay committed to the goals of your business, you will see your business not only survive, but thrive for years to come.
What are Business Goals?
Business goals are objectives or metrics that you create in order to establish what you would like to accomplish with your business within a set period of time. If business owners can clearly define their goals and the steps they need to take to reach them, then they eventually will achieve financial stability and growth.
List of Business Goals
Take a look at these examples of business goals with your business in mind. Whether your business is a startup in its first year of operation of a long-standing business that needs a push to reach the next level, you will find some inspiration for business goals to implement at your business on this list.
First-Year Business Goals
You want your business to get off to a good start in its first year, so it’s a good idea to start setting goals for your business to ensure success. You can determine your first-year business goals before you even launch, so it doesn’t hurt to look at examples like these for inspiration even if your business doesn’t exist yet.
1. Establish Cash Flow
Your first and foremost goal for your business should be to establish a cash flow. Without a cash flow, your business is unlikely to make it past its first year. You will need to make a plan to profit, that is, to earn more money than you spend. While some startups are funded by venture capital and are not profitable in their first year, many small businesses rely on family, friends, or savings for startup costs. It is especially important for these small businesses to establish a cash flow. If you find that your business is not bringing in enough cash, you might want to try raising prices or reducing costs until you can reach your goal.
2. Hire Employees
Once your business is up and running, you may not be able to handle all of its demands all by yourself, even if you have partners who can help you. Depending on your type of business, you may need to hire at least one employee in your first year. Before looking for potential candidates, make sure your business will be able to bring in enough money to pay the employee. It could be more cost effective to start by hiring contract employees or outsourcing certain elements of production or marketing before bringing anyone on full time.
3. Market Your Business
It’s important not to overlook the need to market your business, so it’s a good idea to make marketing a main goal for your first year. How you market your business has a lot to do with your customers. Figure out how you will reach them — you could run Facebook ads, send out marketing emails or even purchase billboard ads. It all depends on where your customers are looking, and your budget. You will also need to decide if you want to hire an employee to lend their expertise to your marketing ideas.
4. Collect Customer Data
Not sure where to start with marketing your business? Begin by collecting customer data. One of the simplest ways to do this is by asking your customers to complete a survey. Ask them to contribute feedback about your business and have them tell you which social media platforms they typically frequent. It would also be helpful to find out demographic information like age and background, as well as location. The resulting data will allow you to better cater to customers’ needs, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
Startup Business Goals
Did you jump head-first into the wild world of startups with nothing but your bootstraps to pull yourself up by? You should take a moment to establish some business goals to ensure that your startup is on the right track. Whether you dream of eventually going public or selling your operation to a larger company, see below for examples of startup business goals that could help you quickly scale your business.
5. Build a Brand
Building a brand is an important part of your startup’s marketing efforts. Without a brand, customers will have a hard time remembering and recognizing you. Your brand should, at least, include a name and logo by which your customers can recognize your business. From there, you can build out your brand to include a tagline, colors, fonts, and more. Make it a goal to establish a brand identity that will make your business stand out from the rest.
6. Claim a Web Domain
Every business needs a website, and yours is no exception. It’s important to claim a web domain for your startup so you have a url that you can direct your customers to for information, list of your services, or to purchase products. Make sure you use search engine optimization to get as much traffic as possible on your website. You will also need to claim your Google MyBusiness listing, especially if your business is a brick and mortar store, so customers can easily find your physical address.
7. Create Social Media Accounts
It never hurts to create social media accounts for your start up. In fact, you should make it one of your business goals. Find out which platforms your customers are engaging with, and create accounts on those platforms. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok or Pinterest, build a social media following. After you create your accounts, you can set more goals for followers and engagement on social media, but this is just the first step. You may eventually want to connect with influencers who can help boost your presence on social media and sell more products.
8. Make a Budget
Making a budget is a crucial goal for your startup business. Even before you make your first sale, you should have established how much money you plan on spending on various expenses. You will need to balance production costs with the amount of profit your business is making. These costs can be unpredictable, so make sure to reassess your budget from time to time to keep your business afloat.
Long-Term Business Goals
Not all business goals are set quarterly or yearly — some are set in contemplation for the long run. You may have thought of a five-year plan for yourself, but how about one for your business? It can be intimidating to attempt to see far into the future and set long-term business goals, but they may be the key to your business’s longevity. Take a look at these examples for inspiration.
9. Reduce Costs
Reducing costs should not just be a last-resort goal for your business. As a long-term business goal, you should constantly reevaluate your budget to ensure that you are not spending money where you don’t need to be. You could consider changing the way you manufacture or ship your product as cost cutting measures that would benefit your profit margin, or how much money you spend proportionally to how much money you make.
10. Raise Profits
While reducing costs may be a good idea for your business depending on what your current budget looks like, it is not the only way to raise your net profit, or the total amount of money your business brings in. There are other ways to go about it, like starting a new marketing initiative or expanding to a new customer base. If your business has a physical location, you could make it a goal to open up a second location, or even plan to open several new locations in the upcoming years. Raising profits is the ultimate goal when it comes to business growth, so even if your business is just starting out, you should plan on raising profits down the line.
11. Increase Website Traffic
For many types of businesses, website traffic is crucial to success — particularly for e-commerce businesses who make all of their sales through their websites, but also for any type of business that uses search engine optimization to drive up sales. As part of an SEO strategy, set a goal for how many potential customers you would like to see visit your website each month. This strategy could also coincide with other marketing efforts, like setting goals for social media posts and followers as well.
There are several reasons why you might decide to rebrand your business, but once you do, the process should be similar to the process of branding your business in the first place. Perhaps your regular customer base has shifted, or you want your brand to be more fitting of industry trends. Whatever the reason, you’ll most likely want to create a new logo (either an update of the original one or a new logo all together) and a new brand statement — something that defines your business and it’s goals going forward.
Business Goals Template
A popular way to set business goals is using the S.M.A.R.T. method. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound — the criteria that each business goal should have.
Each goal should be specific in that you know exactly what the goal is. For example, your specific goal could be to gain more followers on social media. The goal should be measurable, as in you should be able to say exactly how many social media followers you would like to attain on each platform. Make sure your goal is achievable — for example, if you only have 50 followers on Instagram, set a goal somewhere around 100-200 followers rather than 50,000. Ask yourself if the goal is relevant. If your customers use Snapchat more than they use Instagram, you would be better off focusing on gaining more followers on that platform as it is more relevant to your business. Lastly, make sure you set time constraints as to when you want to achieve this business goal, making it time-bound. This could be within a month, a quarter, a year, or longer, depending on your needs and expectations.
Now that you know each step of the S.M.A.R.T. method and the meaning behind it, you’re ready to set goals for your own business. If you’re not sure where to start, you could use the business goals template below to create some S.M.A.R.T. business goals. Write your business goal in the column on the left, then outline each step of the S.M.A.R.T. process as it pertains to each goal.
When it comes to owning and growing a business, if you don’t take risks and set lofty goals, your competitors will leave you in the dust. That’s why it’s always a good idea to regularly set business goals. It’s never too early to analyze where you could grow and improve, so even first-year and startup businesses can set business goals. Create a budget, take marketing initiatives, and continue to raise your profit margins. Make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound using the S.M.A.R.T. method of business goal setting to help you create worthwhile goals and stay organized. When you achieve the goals you initially set, you’re ready to move on to even bigger and better business goals until you reach the level of success you are looking for.