“Just set my Q4 goals!” I was scrolling Instagram, and saw another business owner post about goal setting in her story. “Oh, I should probably do that.” I thought. I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience as a new business owner, where someone mentions something you hadn’t even thought of. It makes sense that some of the most important parts of running a business won’t occur naturally, because we’ve never run a business before. After all, you probably don’t sit down once per quarter to review the goals in your personal life. But setting goals and following through with them will help you stay on track in your business. The best part is that goal-setting doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s how to set business goals in a simple, clear way so that you can grow your business without feeling overwhelmed.
Your vision should guide your business decisions, goals included. It’s the big picture blueprint of the house you want to build. For a long time, I was scared to declare a business vision or take my goals seriously. It felt like I still had so much to figure out. If you can relate as a new business owner, know that you’re not alone.
But you need to declare a business vision. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it will change as you get more experience.
Ask yourself these questions to develop your business vision:
Don’t move on to setting goals until you have a vision in mind.
Getting focused, instead of trying to do it all, will help you declare a vision and pursue it. Check out my free guide, “How to Grow Your Business When You Have Limited Time” for more on this. Subscribe to the Free Resource Library for access to the guide and other helpful content.
There are many different goal setting methods out there, but the one that I prefer starts with annual goals and then works backwards.
Wondering how to set business goals that are “good”? Keep reading!
I don’t think there’s a such thing as a “bad” goal. But I do think that it’s possible to set goals that aren’t realistic for the season you’re in, or that skip important steps you’ll need to reach before you can achieve the goal.
SMART goals are a point of reference used to clarify your goals. Using that term takes me back to the college marketing classes I took, but it really is a good rule of thumb.
SMART stands for:
I’ll use an example to show you how to set business goals using the SMART method.
You should be able to clearly describe the goal. For example, “get 1000 YouTube subscribers by posting SEO-driven content weekly.”
You’ll need to track your progress towards the goal based on a number. So, using the example above you know you are trying to reach 1000 subscribers. This gives you a gauge for how close you are to your goal.
Your goal should seem realistic based on the circumstances. I believe in miracles, and I’m not here to tell you that something isn’t possible. But when it comes to goal setting, referring to data will help you decide if you need to adjust your goal.
Following the YouTube example, let’s say you want to get to 1000 subscribers in 6 months, and you currently have 200. That means you need about 130 new subscribers per month. If your YouTube analytics tell you that you’re currently gaining about 10 new subscribers per month, you’ll need to rework your goal. You can either extend your timeline, or come up with a new strategy to help you gain subscribers quicker. Just make sure what you come up with feels doable based on your current resources and other obligations.
Any goal you set should be relevant to your business vision and audience needs. Annual goals support your long-term vision, and quarterly and monthly goals support the annual goal.
Going back to the YouTube subscriber goal, if YouTube is a primary way that you interact with your audience, and you want to make income by having your channel monetized, the 1000 subscribers goal makes sense.
Set parameters for when you want to have your goal accomplished by to help you stay on track. Going back to the example, my approach to hitting 1000 subscribers in 6 months would be different than getting there in 30 days.
There you go! You just learned how to set business goals to help you stay on track with your business growth. Know your business vision before goal setting, and make sure your goals align with it. Start with your annual goals, then break them down into quarterly and monthly goals. For every goal you set, use the SMART framework to clarify it. I hope this has made setting business goals less scary, and encourages you to set aside time to set yours. You’ve got this!
Get my free guide, “How to Grow Your Business When You Have Limited Time” to help you run your part-time business with less overwhelm. Subscribe to my Free Resource Library for access, plus weekly tips in your inbox!