When business owners first launch their company, it seems like there’s nothing on the horizon but possibilities. While that’s true for the most part, the onus falls on you to reach those possibilities and make them profitable. How do you do this? Simple! You need to set realistic short and long-term goals for yourself.
Solid action plans reduce the headache associated with disorganized multitasking. Oftentimes, business owners can see the summit, but lack the vision to see the steps necessary to reach it. This is why your company can thrive best with a concrete set of goals to follow.
Why Does a Business Need Goals?
Small business goals are necessary for several reasons. The first being the general monitoring of your company and organization of aspirations. The last thing you want is to have an abundance of ideas without a concrete solution of how to execute them.
Noam Judah, founder of TopRankings SEO Agency and Digital Rescue Web Design Agency says “There’s no point in proceeding with any plan until your priorities and goals are clearly defined. Moving forward without a clear destination is an easy way to waste time and resources without any significant return.”
Having goals for your business is also important because:
– They set an example for other employees. You’ll all remain on the same page and can brainstorm ways as a team on how to achieve items on your checklist.
– They keep your priorities in check.
– Goals provide overall guidance on how to conduct business and keeps you on the right path.
Setting Everything Up
Before you get started, there are some pointers to keep in mind. First, your goals are meant to keep your ideas in check. Throwing some goals on a sheet of paper without pinpointing their achievability is a good way to get caught in a rut.
The key thing to planning your business’s future is to mark down your long and short-term goals. Take account of which ones you can achieve in a few months and where you want to be in a few years.
Eye On the (Instant) Prize
We’ll start with short-term stuff. Now, these goals aren’t necessarily the kinds of things you only give one week. Short-term goals can be what you want to achieve by the end of the quarter. They can be a number of clients you want after a few months. Do what makes the most sense for your business. You can, however, start here:
Hire Your First Employee
After you’ve started making enough money and can reduce your workload with a new hire, you should seriously consider it! It might not sound like that big a deal, but your first employee will be with you from what is basically the start of your business. Regardless of which position you hire them for, employees need to be:
– qualified for the position
– dedicated to the role and your company’s missions
– willing to work with a small company
There are also several different avenues you can use to find your first hire, such as online resources or trusted workers from previous jobs.
Hiring your first employee is a good short-term goal because it gives you something to work toward. Plus, now you’re not only doing the work for yourself and customers, but you’re also doing it to support other people. Therefore, your incentive to keep your business thriving increases.
Automate Some Processes
There are just… so many programs out there to make a business owner’s life easier. Look into organizing your day-to-day with tools like:
– Hootsuite so you can schedule content without the hassle
– Zoom for meetings with customers and employees
– Calendly for your appointments and maintaining your schedule
It’s better when you automate some of the little things in your life because they can sneak up on you and really weigh you down. When you leave tasks to technology, especially when you first start, it’s a massive help.
In It for the Long Haul
Next up are some of your long-term goals. These are the kinds of things that take some time before they gain traction, but they can do wonders for your business. Naturally, small business owners want the best for their companies and have big plans on how they can be the best in their field. The important thing to keep in mind with long-term goals (or any goal) is to remain realistic.
Boost Brand Awareness
This is a great long-term goal for companies in any niche. New businesses have their work cut out for them in a variety of fields given all the competition already present. So, increasing brand awareness and developing a strong content marketing system can help your business shine.
By publishing great content and promoting it across your social media channels, you’ll begin to see an increase in leads and page views. The more engaged you are with forums, communities, and social media groups, the better your chances are of making a name for yourself. Customers appreciate businesses that take the time to address their pain points and interact with them across all channels.
Increase Your Social Media Following
A big part of brand awareness is a good social media following. This should be another long-term goal you focus on as a business owner. Not only do strong social profiles boost your name, but they also increase your trustworthiness as a company.
Generate Stable Cash Flow and Build a Reputation
Simon Moser of Strain Inside believes that small businesses should focus on actually generating stable cash flow as a short-term marketing goal. “Marketers should make sure that they’re being seen by the right people, commonly potential customers,” he said. “For that reason, being properly ranked in Google for relevant keywords, having your business listed on appropriate platforms, and running ads that are targeted on certain customer profiles are very valuable aspects for the short term.”
Regarding long-term marketing goals, he believes businesses should mainly focus on building a reputation. “Investing resources in PR and a professional company representation can pay off big time in the long run,” he said. “An excellent reputation will always attract better customers, who are able to pay more and are less of a hassle to deal with.”
Distill Goals Down to Measurable Tasks
“I like having aspirational goals, but I try to distill them down to measurable and achievable tasks that fuel those goals,” said Will Hankinson of IntroCave. “A high-level marketing goal might get more traffic, but I can’t directly measure my impact there, outside of paid ads. A better goal would be to build more backlinks,” he said. “It’s a little more under my control, but still dependent on someone else to take an action. I simplify that down to send 10 outreach emails per week. If I’m consistently doing that short-term measurable task, then the larger goals should follow naturally.”
He added that getting more traffic from Twitter isn’t a great goal. “Getting more followers is better, but still depends on someone else taking an action. I can boil that down to spend 30 minutes per day interacting with potential customers on Twitter,” he said. “If I’m interacting with the platform authentically and talking to customers, followers and traffic should follow from the more measurable activity.”
Rely on Video in 2020
Michele Moreno believes that small business owners don’t have much time. Therefore, “the most effective way a small business can leverage their time is to tell their personal story on a short video.”
Moreno thinks that trust in 2020 will be created online. Given that consumers want a human connection to emotionally invest in a product, telling a story via video will work 24/7 online.
“Stories put people’s guard down and make them feel less sold-to, and if you structure your business story in the right way, it can give people the emotional connection they need to take action on your site or landing page,” she said.
“People remember stories way more than stats or product descriptions and emotional marketing is key to rising above the online noise,” she added.
Your business won’t get very far without strong short and long-term goals in place. You need to sit down and figure out where you want your company to be in a month, six months, a year, etc. It’s no walk in the park, but it’s necessary to establish a foundation for your company.
Just remember, don’t give up on your dreams, but keep your goals realistic lest you set yourself up for disappointment. The numbers, the social following, and the leads will all trickle in over time. It happens for some faster than others, but stick with your goals and never lose sight of the finish line.