The start of a new year reignites a spark in all of us. A spark that reminds us to check in with ourselves and re-evaluate our lives based on everlasting dreams and aspirations. A spark that makes us strive to create new goals so we can successfully achieve all our heart’s desires.

As a small business owner, there’s no better time than January to come up with goals to set the tone for the rest of the year. In fact, setting small business goals in general is essential to serve as stepping stones to success.

Is this your first time setting small business goals? Not to worry — I’ve got you covered. Read on to find out more about why you should do it and how to do it in a way that speeds up accomplishment.

Setting Small Business Goals

Why Should You Be Setting Small Business Goals?

First thing’s first, goal-setting is the way you can turn your vision into reality, whether in a personal or professional capacity.

That said, setting goals as a small business owner:

  • Provides you with a sense of purpose, focus and/or direction
  • Motivates you
  • Keeps you on track
  • Allows you to measure your progress
  • Provides satisfaction of achievement
  • Reminds you to celebrate your success
  • Helps you to live with intention

Some people fail to set goals because they lack confidence or inspiration. If this sounds like you, don’t sweat it. It’s just about finding a way to set goals that work for you and your business.

How to Set Small Business Goals

Setting goals as a small business owner is straightforward if you follow these methods.

SMART Thinking

SMART goals were devised by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham from the 1981 article where they claimed: “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives.” 

Let’s dive right into what this acronym means, shall we?

  • “S” stands for specific. A specific goal will have a clear focus or objective that outlines precisely what you want to achieve, such as “I want to earn X amount from my biz each month.”
  • “M” stands for measurable. In other words, your goal will have some sort of value or percentage so that you know when you’ve achieved it.
  • “A” stands for achievable. It’s great to shoot for the stars with your goal, but keep in mind that you’re more likely to achieve it if it’s realistic.
  • “R” stands for relevant. Is this definitely a goal that inspires you or are you just setting it to please someone else? Make sure your goals matter, otherwise, you will struggle to motivate yourself to meet them.
  • “T” stands for timely. Your goal also needs to have a timescale attached to it to hold you accountable and keep you focused.

Oh, and try to give yourself a break if your timescale doesn’t quite go to plan. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that sometimes we have to just roll with the punches!

2021 Goal Setting

EPIC Goal Setting

Not sure about SMART thinking? In this case, EPIC goal setting might be the way to go for small business owners.

EPIC stands for:

  • Exciting — i.e. the thoughts of achieving this goal brings you nothing but joy
  • Purposeful — i.e. it makes sense according to your grand plan for life and your business
  • Intentional — i.e. instead of focusing on the outcome of the goal, you can learn to relish the actual process of reaching your goal
  • Committed — i.e. you can see yourself sticking to this goal and it isn’t impossible to meet

The main idea behind EPIC goals is that you shouldn’t be trying to achieve what you think you should be achieving. You should try to achieve goals that suit you and your lifestyle best.

For instance, who says that you need to make six figures by the time that you’re 30 just because other businesses have? You might be more content (and it might be less pressurising) working towards half that amount because, let’s face it, you’d still be able to live comfortably. Awesome.

Vision Boarding

Setting goals as a small business owner can also be done through vision boarding.

This is where you create a collage online via Pinterest or on a physical piece of paper or card filled with pictures of your hopes and dreams.

You can then use this board to create SMART or EPIC goals. However, they must inspire you. The trick isn’t to go for the quickest route to your goals — go for the route that makes you the happiest and aligns with the joy you feel when you’re looking at your vision board.

How to Achieve Your Small Business Goals

Once you’ve pinned down your small business goals, you can commit to the process of achieving them.

Make a Plan

In his book7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says the following.

“All things are created twice; first mentally; then physically. The key to creativity is to begin with the end in mind, with a vision and a blueprint of the desired result.” 

To put it simply, break down your goal into specific action steps and assign a time to complete them. These action steps might consist of a series of daily, weekly or monthly tasks.

Why? Well, this will help you work for your goals and invest your time more productively. It prioritises action ahead of time and ensures these actions align with your overall vision. It also effectively reduces the feelings of overwhelm and complacency.

Write Them Down

Manifestation is a powerful tool to apply to both our personal and professional lives. I mean, I’m living proof of it. I started manifesting just a few short months ago and since then, everything I’ve manifested has come true.

Essentially, it involves the practice of bringing something into your life through attraction and belief. In other words, if you think about your goal and write it down, and keep thinking about it and writing it down, it will eventually come to you.

For example, you might manifest: “I’m going to launch five new products this year,” think it, believe it and then write it down recurrently until it comes true. 

It sounds a little out-there, but it’s worked for me so far. Give it a try.

Setting Goals as a Small Business: How to Set Goals as a Small Business Owner

Work on Yourself

While your goals are in motion, learn all you can about yourself. This will help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and work on them. 

For instance, if your goal is to buy a house, you might be currently saving up for a mortgage. However, if you find that you’re not getting anywhere after months of saving, perhaps your weakness is that you’re not budgeting your personal allowance effectively.

In this case, you can cut down your expenses or review your finances and adjust your action plan accordingly to improve the likelihood of meeting your original goal. Capeesh?

Check Your Progress

Every now and again, schedule a meeting with yourself to check on your goal progress. Allow yourself to celebrate your wins and have a firm word if you don’t seem to be making much progress.

Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. You might just need to rehash your action steps or delay the timeline a bit for some of them — and that’s okay.

Don’t be too hard on yourself or burn out trying to meet a specific goal. Allow room for mistakes. And remember that any setbacks provide you with the opportunity to learn from them, make changes and encourage a more positive result.

In other words, go for it, pal.

Grab an Accountability Partner

Setting goals as a small business owner can be challenging if you’re a one-person show. After all, we all need a little helping hand sometimes. Right?

Speaking of, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it. Hire a coach, grab an accountability partner who can keep checking in on your progress and/or lean on your loved ones for support.

Either way, surround yourself with positive people who mirror your mindset as you work towards your goals.

How come, you ask? Well, having your own personal cheerleader(s) that are rooting for you will provide you with even more motivation to succeed. (I’ll get my pom-poms out…)

Believe In Yourself

Lastly, I’d say the most integral part of achieving your goals is to trust in your dream. 

Realise it’s a process and more often about the journey than the destination. And don’t give up if you’re failing to achieve your goals straight away. After all, everything takes time.

Visualise your goal, imagine it will happen and, above all, believe in yourself. This is the magic formula on the road to creating the business — and life — you want for yourself.

How to Set Goals as a Small Business

Setting Small Business Goals: The Final Word

Setting small business goals is easier said than done when you’re a one-person band and you don’t quite know how.

The best advice I can give you is to take your big goal and break it down into daily, weekly and monthly goals. This will make each step of the process feel more manageable and boost the likelihood of success.

I’m rooting for you, business bestie! Let’s sparkle together.