How to set goals as an entrepreneur

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Starting a small business means defining and setting goals. Setting short and long term goals allows the business to achieve its goals successfully and contributes to the growth of the business.

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Here’s how entrepreneurs can start setting goals and tracking goal progress.

Tips for setting goals

How do you set goals for your business? Get started by following these steps.

Set your goals using the SMART method

What exactly do you want to achieve with your business? The types of goals you set will depend on the business and contribute to its overall growth.

Every goal you set should be specific, achievable and realistic. For example, a jewelry business might set a goal to sell 100 necklaces in the next three months. A specific action with a deadline allows the entrepreneur to achieve this objective. When setting your goals, set deadlines for each one. This creates a timeline and allows you to better determine which goals are short or long term.

If you still need help, try using the SMART method for setting goals. Here’s what SMART (sometimes spelled SMART) goals look like:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Feasible
  • Realistic
  • time based

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Determine the steps needed to reach your goals

After defining some short and long-term goals for your business, it’s time to define each step necessary to achieve these goals. You can break goals into chunks to better manage, organize, and prioritize how you’ll achieve each one.

The jewelry company that plans to sell 100 necklaces in three months, for example, would break that goal down into chunks. He would work out a budget, order supplies, find a suitable supplier, make the necklaces, and begin advertising the product for sale to interested customers.

Are there any obstacles?

When setting your goals, try to identify potential roadblocks that could arise and present challenges for the business. In the jewelry business example, the owner may need to set a more flexible budget for materials impacted by inflation and explore solutions for other issues such as shipping delays.

Understanding potential challenges in advance allows you to anticipate the problem so it doesn’t surprise the company later.

Take action

It’s time to take action to achieve your goals! This can be done by working on small tasks each day. Use a planner or spreadsheet to track your daily progress and calendars to schedule other milestones, like taking meetings, that allow you to complete necessary tasks in a timely manner.

As you begin to achieve your goals, it can be helpful to start conducting quarterly reviews within the company. These reviews will detail the goals you were able to achieve and identify new and emerging goals to achieve as a team.

Set new goals regularly

Once you’ve reached some of your goals, remember to set new goals regularly.

As with all previous goals, these new goals should be SMART with their own timelines. Ideally, these should be goals that the company can achieve in the short and long term. This helps the business to keep growing and moving forward. If you find that the goals you previously set are outdated or simply irrelevant to your business, revise them accordingly and stay on track with your new goals that are clear, realistic, and achievable.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is Senior Financial Writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the editor and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been featured on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global and other outlets.

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