So you have started your business. Congratulations! But the simple, ugly truth is that your business might fail before it reaches its second anniversary. I don’t mean to be blunt, but it is just the truth.
You might be wondering why. The reason why most businesses might fail before they reach their second anniversary is because of a lack of goals.
One of the most important things you can do for your business is to set goals, no matter how old your business is, how profitable it is, where you are located, or even what you sell. Goals help you keep track of your business and prevent it from becoming stagnant.
The misconception a lot of people have about business goals is that they are something we set at the start of every business year. However, it shouldn’t be that way. You should be setting goals multiple times a year, tracking your progress, and modifying the strategies you are following in order to achieve a prosperous business.
You can create a successful small business if you set smart, attainable, short-term goals. Whether you want to expand your business into a new market, make new hires, or acquire new leads, short-term goals will help you sustain momentum over the long run.
It might seem simple, but setting goals for a business is always difficult. Setting short-term goals for a company is also challenging, because they must be practical, clear, and easily understandable to employees.
To help you get started with your business goals, here is a list of 11 short-term goals that have the potential to turn your business around.
Tip: Pick some goals that are good for your business, turn them into SMART GOALS, and create a great plan to achieve them one by one.
You may have noticed that I highlighted “SMART GOALS.” That is because it is important to turn your short-term goals into smart goals.
Every business has a goal. However, it is important to know that providing a good description of this goal will help you achieve the goal more quickly. This is where SMART GOALS come in. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. It is a method used to achieve every goal successfully; it gives a sense of direction to the goals you want to achieve.
Still, don’t understand the concept of SMART GOALS? Don’t worry – you will after you read the explanation of each of the letters in S-M-A-R-T.
Every business needs a specific goal, not random goals. Let me explain. For instance, you want to increase your business’s sales, because your current sales situation is not satisfactory. However, “increasing sales” is not a specific goal, so it is unclear how to achieve this goal. SMART goals should be formulated so that this goal is achievable.
The goal must describe an observable result, behavior, or action. So by answering the WH- questions, the goal will become more clear, specific, and achievable:
Every SMART goal should have a starting point and a finishing point. These points are indications of the effort that must be made to achieve your business goal. So it is advisable that you have a benchmark of the situation. Using the same goal example, “increase sales,” we can measure the benchmark answering these questions:
You can’t just set goals because you think they will work; you have to set goals because they are acceptable. Your goals have to be acceptable by you and your department or group. Only then does that goal stand a chance of succeeding. When your employees accept a goal and actively work on it with you, that goal stands a chance of succeeding. For instance, if increasing your sales by 40% is too ambitious, then you can adjust the percentage to about 20% (something that would be acceptable).
A goal can be specific, measurable, or acceptable, but not realistic. In order for your business goal to be realistic, you have to consider the practical situation and the work that everyone is involved in. Let’s face it: it is not possible that everyone will be committed to the same goal all the time. The goal must be important to those who are going to work on it. It also must be ensured that the entire team in charge of working on the goal has the time and manpower to focus on that goal for the specified period of time.
Most importantly, the goal must be challenging enough to motivate the entire team in charge of working on it. Otherwise, it will have a demotivating effect on the entire team, and the goal won’t be achieved.
So the concept “Realistic” in SMART has to do with the feasibility of the goals.
If you are going to stick to short-term goals, it is best they are SMART. Although the T in SMART doesn’t always work for long-term goals, it is very important for short-term goals.
Most people confuse Time for Measureable, but they aren’t the same. Time is the period allocated to reach or achieve the goals. A SMART goal should have a start and end time.
Using the same example, “increase sales,” instead of giving a random time, you can narrow it to a specific time by answering the question, “When is it going to happen?” For this example, the answer is from the 1st of April to the 30th of November. So you are anticipating to make two million extra sales within the given dates.
Since we have talked about the concept of “SMART,” let’s dive back into the main discussion of short-term business goals.
In order to figure out which goals you need to reach within the next six or twelve months, you need to answer these questions:
If your business is facing some real competition, it is best to add at least one fresh product to your inventory as needed. For instance, you run a clothing business, so obviously, there are lots of competitors. To grow faster and be ahead of your game, you have to add at least one new collection as needed. However, not just any collection will do. You have to make sure it is a trendy collection that will draw customers in – think outside of the box.
Regardless of your type of business, the new product should be something you can price high and then bundle with a less popular product to trigger interest, which will help to boost sales and create massive brand recognition.
This is 2019, not 1960… Everything is done online, from making inquiries to making orders. You name it… everything. So getting your online visibility to its peak is one of the major goals you should pursue.
You might decide to start a social media campaign and a website all by yourself, which is fine. But do you have the time to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), website analysis, online sales, and all the other stuff that have to do with online visibility? If your answer is no, then your goal should be to hire a social media manager to manage your social media accounts, and a website consultant to work on your site, boost its SEO, and improve its efficiency.
If you want to grow faster and make more money, you should make sure you are visible online.
If you are a startup business, one of your short-term goals should be to build awareness for your business. Building awareness is measured in terms of percentages. For instance, your goal for the first three months might be to achieve a brand-awareness level of 5% of all businesses and customers in the area.
You can build awareness for your business solely through advertising and calculate the results through marketing research surveys.
Once you have succeeded in building awareness for your business, your next goal should be to establish a customer base. One way to establish your customer base is by getting as many people to buy your services or products. You can also distribute coupons or fliers, offer special deals on various services or products, or place ads in newspapers.
Another tested way to establish your customer base is by introducing products at a low price. Here is the deal: people will flock to your business if you offer a product that is high in demand at a low price (everyone loves low prices).
The major key to establishing a customer base is REPEAT SALES. When a customer likes your product, he/she will come back and purchase more products. So your goal is to retain customers! You can maintain a database of customers to keep track of how much your customer base grows.
Although you might be wondering why this is even a short-term goal, it is a goal that you should work towards achieving. Once you develop a good relationship with your suppliers, they will be more apt to meet your shipping requirements, which is good for your business. That’s not all; you might also receive special deals on shipments due to your good relationship with them.
If you are working with agencies like the marketing and advertising agencies, you have to make sure you establish a good relationship with them.
One of your short-term business goals should be making a profit as soon as possible. Without profits, you won’t be able to expand your inventory or advertising, which means you might not attract customers. Without profits, it will be very difficult to pay your bills. So making a profit should be one of your major short-term business goals. The best way to make a profit is by increasing your sales and keeping your expenses within their allocated budget. You have to make sure the amount you spend on advertising, hiring, and rent doesn’t exceed the profit you are making.
You might be wondering why “going paperless” is a short-term goal, but it is a goal. Cutting the amount of paper you use in your business can help reduce expenses and improve productivity. However, you need to keep in mind that going paperless is not for every business. Find out if going paperless will work for your type of business. If it does, we advise you go paperless; if it doesn’t, you can just stick to the paper.
It doesn’t matter if your team members are located in the same office or not; you should make sure you collaborate with your team often. Collaboration will help increase productivity, efficiency, and will strengthen the team’s bond.
Make sure you set aside time every week or every month (whichever works better for your team) to brainstorm new ideas to solve problems, create new opportunities, and improve your product.
This short-term goal is not mandatory; it just happens organically. You only get to promote a new service or product when you have something new to promote. If you have got nothing to promote, then don’t worry about this business goal.
Promoting a new service or product is something that gives most business owners the chills. If you want to launch a new product, it is very important to have a specific objective in mind. This objective could mean selling a specific amount of the product or service within the first month of launch. It could also be hosting an event to introduce the product or service to your customers.
Your objective solely depends on you and your type of business. Once you have determined your objective, then you will have something to work on.
What you are trying to achieve is finding new ways to market to your niche.
You can offer some of your clients or customers a discount or free product in exchange for interviewing them. You can ask generic questions about how they feel about the market and how they spend time with others just like them. The purpose of all the interviews is for you to get to know your customers more. It will help you narrow down your target audience so you know specifically what they want, what they like, what they do, and even how they behave.
Managing cash flow is an essential short-term business financial goal. A lot of people confuse cash flow with profit, but they are two different things.
Cash flow is all about the money going out of your business and coming into your business in terms of payments. If the amount coming into your business is higher than the amount leaving your business, then you are in cash flow positive.
There are so many things that take money from a business, including paying suppliers, buying and managing inventory, and paying employee salaries. If you can’t manage cash flow, then you are sure to run into losses before the third year of business.
Every business must ensure that inventory management is in place, that receivables against invoices are expedited, and that payments are made close to the due dates.
All of this boils down to cutting costs wherever possible and managing cash flow to make sure your business doesn’t run into loss.
Choosing your short-term goals will not be the same for every business as every business is different. However, when you are deciding on your short-term goals, be sure to also keep your long-term goals in mind.
Your marketing strategy and short-term goals should help you boost your business and take it to the level you want it to be. But you should always think of your overall marketing plan when you are choosing any goal, be it long term or short term, or you stand the risk of wasting all of your time and money.
So here are 11 short-term business goals that will help you decide on goals for your business.