How To Set Goals as an Entrepreneur

Jack Frog /

Starting a small business means defining and setting goals. Setting short- and long-term goals allows the business to successfully reach its objectives and contributes to the company’s growth. 

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Here’s how entrepreneurs can start setting goals and stay on track with goal progress.

Tips for Setting Goals

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

Define Your Goals Using the SMART Method

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

Each goal you set should be specific, actionable and realistic. For example, a jewelry business might set a goal of selling 100 necklaces over the next three months. A specific action with a deadline makes it possible for the business owner to achieve this goal. As you define your goals, set deadlines for each one. This builds a timeline framework and allows you to better determine which goals are short- versus long-term.

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If you still need some help, try using the SMART method to set goals. Here’s what SMART (sometimes spelled as S-M-A-R-T) goals look like:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

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Determine Steps Necessary To Reach Your Goals

After setting a few short- and long-term goals for your business, it’s time to define each step necessary to reach these goals. You may divide goals into pieces to better manage, organize and prioritize how you will reach each one.

The jewelry business that plans to sell 100 necklaces in three months, for example, would break this goal down into pieces. It would set a budget, order supplies, find an appropriate vendor, make the necklaces and start advertising the product for sale to interested customers.

Are There Any Obstacles?

As you define your goals, try to define any potential obstacles that might come up and present challenges to the business. In the example of the jewelry business, the owner may need to set a more flexible budget for materials impacted by inflation and explore solutions for other issues like shipping delays. 

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Understanding potential challenges ahead of time allows you to get ahead of the issue so it does not surprise the business later.

Take Action 

It’s time to start taking action to reach 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 in other steps, like taking meetings, which allow you to accomplish necessary tasks in a timely manner.

As you start to reach your goals, it may be helpful to begin conducting quarterly reviews within the business. These reviews will detail which goals you were able to reach and identify new and emerging goals to work toward as a team.

Regularly Set New Goals

After you achieve some of your goals, remember to keep regularly setting new goals. 

As with all previous goals, these new goals should be SMART ones with their own designated timelines. Ideally, these should be goals the business may reach in the short- and long-term. This helps the business to keep growing and moving forward. If you find any goals you previously set are outdated or simply not relevant to your business, revise accordingly and stay on track with your new, clear, realistic and achievable goals.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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