Setting Goals for Your Small Business
I don’t want to sound like a motivational speaker, but attitude is a big part of achieving your goals. If you don’t believe you can do something, then you probably can’t (or won’t). On the other hand, it can also be detrimental to set your goals too high. The best thing you can do for your business is to work on achieving your short-term goals and build into becoming a global corporate kingpin.
Balance is the Key
The key to goals is to set them high enough to keep pushing you forward, but not so high that they are insurmountable. Achieving anything of quality takes time, so give your company the time it needs to grow in a natural way. Looking at your business as a long-term investment will help you manage your goals in a reasonable way.
If you expect too much from yourself or your business, you are likely to be let down. Optimism can quickly turn into despair if you keep missing your unattainable goals. There is no worse thing for a company than when you lose hope, so don’t set yourself up for failure.
On the flip-side, don’t set your goals too low. If you aim low, then you will make your mark every time, but it does not do anything for your business. Your small business can quickly grow into a not-so-small business if you work hard at it, but the ambition to grow has to be there.
I recommend making a list of short-term and long-term goals, but don’t necessarily think of them as being mutually exclusive. Have the short-term goals contribute to the long-term, or work backwards and develop a long-term goal with set of short-term goals that are necessary to achieve it. For example, set a quarterly sales goal, and then figure out how many new clients you will need to achieve it.
Goals and expectations aren’t a one-way street. As a small business owner, you have to direct the wants and needs of your employees and clients.
In a business, it helps for everyone to know their roles in order to be able to achieve what is expected of them. So be upfront with your employees about what you would like them to do and be open to the idea that they expect certain things on your end, too. By including your employees in the goal-making process, you can help everyone take greater satisfaction in the role they play within the company.
When it comes to clients, it helps to talk to them about what they want in regards to what your business is capable of offering. Your customers probably aren’t expecting you to do the impossible, so don’t promise it. If it is a long-term project, establish a timeline with the client and keep them updated on the progress. Make sure before starting the project that you know what you are getting into and let the client know what it is going to take.
By establishing all of this beforehand, both you and the client will have an accurate idea about what the results of the project will be. If necessary, ask for the client to give you the necessary amount of time to plan the project out. It may a little inconvenient, but much less so than if the project or deal does not play out as expected. If you can provide the client with what they ask for in the agreed amount of time, then there is the likelihood you can get or keep a long-term customer.
Unless you set your goals really low, then things will not always work out exactly as you wanted them to. This may be disappointing, but don’t let it ruin your chances of future success. Dwelling on the past won’t get you anywhere, but learning from it can greatly improve your chances in the future. Go back through where you might have gone wrong and figure out how you could have done better. If you need to, talk to someone about it. A friendly ear can go a long way in improving your attitude, and an objective perspective may help you address issues you may not have seen.