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How Small Business Owners Should Set Goals


Apr 17, 2023
How Small Business Owners Should Set Goals

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When I owned my businesses, I found that setting goals in a particular manner made things much easier, and I found myself reaching higher levels of success faster than I thought possible. I’d like to share these simple steps with you so that you, too, can achieve your most important business (and even life) goals faster than you expect.

Here are the four simple ways that small business owners should consider setting their goals:

Related: 3 Rules to Setting Goals for Your Business

1. M.E. Goals

M.E. Goals are perhaps the most crucial aspect of creating any goal you’ll ever set. Why? Because they’re about YOU! M.E. goals are about what’s most important to you. M.E. goals are about what excites you, what creates passion for you and what makes you get up and go to work each day (outside of paying the bills, of course).

This is crucial for a business owner because often we can get caught up in the minutia of the day-to-day activities and what the employees are NOT doing! M.E. Goals get you refocused on why you started the business in the first place. You were excited, weren’t you? M.E. Goals can help you get excited once more in case you’ve lost some drive along the way.

The M stands for Motivating, which means you need to ask the question, “Does this excite me?” It is hard to work to achieve a goal when there is no momentum or energy behind you. Motivation is a key point in reaching your dreams and aspirations because you’ll need that excitement on the days when nothing seems to be going your way — or when accomplishing the goal seems too far away or too difficult to attain.

The E stands for Engaging, which means you need to ask the question, “Does this goal speak to me on a deeper level?” Not only should a goal motivate you, but it needs to create passion, meaning and purpose. Otherwise, you may be excited to accomplish the goal, but you’ll be left asking “Why the heck did I even begin in the first place?” Be sure that you’re not just motivated, but that you are finding a deeper meaning in what you are working towards in your life because when you’re at the end of the road, I guarantee that you’ll look back and ask, “Why did I?” or “Why didn’t I?”

Here are a few questions to ask to create M.E. Goals:

  • Does this goal excite me?

  • Does this goal create momentum for me?

  • Can this goal get me motivated on the days I want to quit?

  • Does this goal speak to me on a deep level?

  • Does this goal help offer meaning to my life?

  • Does this goal provide purpose and direction for me?

  • How will I feel at the end of the road if I do not attempt to reach this goal?

2. Q Goals

Another good idea to have in regard to making your goals easier to achieve for your business is to make them “Quantifiable.” Q Goals are perfect for small business owners as they allow you to either build up the number or break it down into smaller chunks.

Let’s say your goal is to onboard 1000 new customers this year. Q Goals allow you to easily break that number down (discounting weekends and holidays): That would be about 83 new customers per month (1000 ÷ 12). Or you can see it as about 19 new customers per week (1000 ÷ 52). Or you can say it could be about 3 new customers per day (1000 ÷ 365). By breaking it down, it can make larger goals much more manageable, easier to plan for and not so overwhelming.

Now let’s use the Q Goals to figure out how to plan an outbound calling strategy for the 1000 new customers. Let’s say you have a 10% closing ratio for each sale that you make. So, 3 is 10% of 30, so it looks like you’ll have to make at least 30 outbound calls per day. And according to the numbers above, it would be 190 calls per week and 830 outbound calls per month.

However, Q Goals allow you to do so much more. A simple example is to increase your outbound activities, maybe 60 calls per day, which could very well lead you to gaining far more than 1000 new customers! Now, just block off about 2 hours a day for this activity. Get quantified by using your Q Goal method!

  • Is there a number attached to the goal?

  • If so, it can then be measured, tracked and quantified!

Related: 6 Tips for Goal-Setting That, Trust Me, They Don’t Teach You in College

3. S.M.A.R.T. Goals

You know this one, right? They even teach this to kids in school now. But the big question here is: Are you doing it? Since we all know this type of goal really well, just take each goal you are creating for your business and apply it to the S.M.A.R.T. method. Understand that not 100% of your goals will fall into this, but 80% or so should. Or just get them as close as you can to being a S.M.A.R.T. goal. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to hitting your numbers this year!

4. “I Will” Goals

Far too often, goals that small business owners create are either too general to focus on or too weak to get motivated from. Here are some examples: I want to get more customers, I want to make more money, I want to increase my territory, etc. These goals have a serious lack of commitment, which is why another great idea you’ll want to implement into your goal-setting for your business is to add the “I Will” statement.

By starting your goal with the statement “I will,” you place yourself in a position of obligation of reaching that goal no matter what. By having that “I Will” statement written down, you literally convince yourself that you will achieve it, and you’ll then begin to believe that the goal is something that you will do. Having the “I Will” statement written down reminds you of what needs to be done — it keeps you responsible and accountable for the results and ensures that you cannot blame the lack of effort or resolve on anyone else but yourself.

The “I Will” statement makes you deeply committed to your goal, which is of high value because your business will have many, many challenging things come to pass and may even make you question your tenacity as you attempt to accomplish what you want. Some of these challenges will be big, and others will be small, but I promise you that you will be tested — and knowing what you will do can many times make all of the difference between failing and succeeding.

Here are a few examples of “I Will” goals that also provide meaning and excitement (M.E.), and meet most of the S.M.A.R.T. and “Q” criteria (note that there is a date or number attached):

  • I will make 60 outbound calls each day.

  • I will onboard 1000 new customers by December 31 of 20XX.

  • I will spend two hours each day training new employees.

  • I will create one new marketing campaign each quarter.

  • I will use new technology to collect customers’ funds by end of July 20XX.

  • I will become the number one supplier of XX in my city/state by December 31 of 20XX.

Related: The 10 Things You Must Do to Achieve Your Goals

PRO TIP: Be sure to write your goals down in a visible area. Look, your business goals are not to be hidden from others, and should not be something that only you should know about. These goals should be posted up somewhere for all to see.

Why? Because it’s far too easy to allow yourself to fall behind in your daily or weekly activities because “you don’t feel like doing it today.” Post your S.M.A.R.T. goals, your Q Goals, your M.E. Goals and your “I Will” Goals in plain sight! This way, in case you’re having “a day,” someone can help hold you accountable to a higher standard!

And one more thing: You’ll be surprised at how many people will want to help you achieve your goals once they can see them up on the whiteboard in your office.

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