Smart business owners understand the importance of goal setting and goal monitoring to grow and maintain a successful business. Small business owners often wear many hats which can sometimes take their focus into so many directions, they do not have time to set goals or monitor them. While it is understandable that time could be a constraint, it is not a good excuse to neglect to set goals when you own a small business. But equally important is to monitor those goals during the year to assess how things are going so that needed adjustments can be made in the nick of time.
It is clear for everyone that setting goals without actually evaluating how things are going is a big waste of time, money and energy – especially when those goals are loftily set at the beginning of the year as a sort of “New Year’s resolution” type of thing. Studies show that most people have forgotten about their New Year’s resolutions by March, and, in part, this is because they fail to write down their goals, take concrete steps to make those goals happen, assess their progress as they go along, and devise “stick-to it strategies” to keep themselves motivated during the year.
Hopefully, you are not the type of small business owner who sets and keeps goals as if they are “New Year’s resolutions.” You actually take the time to craft strategies of how, when, why and where your goals will be implemented, executed and achieved; and then you assess and monitor your progress throughout the year.
Below are five goals that small business owners might want to consider for the new year.
1. Budget & Cash Flow goals
Obviously, a small business owner needs to have budgetary goals and cash flow goals. Making a budget is something that should be looked at through both a long term and a short-term lens. At the beginning of the year, the small business owner should have some clear visions about costs they want to incur and cut during the year, for example. They should have projected revenue streams, and forecasted short term and long-term expenditure plans. These projections must be reviewed and assessed throughout the year.
2. Employee Training and Recognition Goals
Like larger companies, small business owners need to invest in training their employees and making sure that their valued employees know they are valued. This will more than likely involve not only time, but financial expenditures by the company, and these expenditures have to be budgeted for throughout the year. But no doubt, as a business owner, it is smart to set your employee training goals at the beginning of the year and assess/evaluate them at the midyear point, as well as year end.
3. Online Reputation Management Goals
Small business owners must manage their online reputation and they should plan for how they are going to achieve this. These days, everybody needs to keep track of their online reputation. Small business owners could find themselves in the unfortunate situation where they are being attacked online by either competitors, former employees, or former customers. In this unfortunate situation, professionals will need to be hired to fix the issues and redeem the company’s reputation. It is often easier to control the cost of these things by constantly monitoring your online reputation throughout the year, as opposed to once or twice per year. The cost of constant monitoring will likely be less expensive than fixing a situation that has been festering a while and growing a “long tail” in Google’s algorithms.
With online reputation, it is more than just fixing problems, however. A small business owner wants to be pro-active in shaping their own online reputation and making sure the right data is hitting the algorithms. It’s about visibility. Small business owners will want their brand name out there on all the social media platforms for the relevant searches and they want those searches to yield “positive” results, ratings and reviews. Again, with this as a goal, the small business owner needs to implement a plan of how to build their online reputation. This needs to be set in place at the beginning of the year, assessed/evaluated at the midpoint, and reviewed at the end of the year to gauge the efficacy and effectiveness of the strategies being used.
4. New Opportunities & Rainmaker Goals
Small business owners must, by necessity, constantly seek out new opportunities for their business. They need to know how to “make rain” to keep their business viable, with positive cash flows throughout the year. This involves many steps and strategies that should be planned out, written down and implemented using best practices. Like all other goals identified in this report, the small business owner needs to constantly monitor and evaluate their goal-achievement strategies throughout the year and make adjustments accordingly.
5. Benchmarking Goals (economic, social, human, and organic.)
One of the goals of a small business owner is to achieve the “standard” and, if possible, exceed it. There is a standard to just about everything and one of those things is performance. How is the company performing as compared to others in its niche and size? To reach the benchmark, assuming that your business is not the one that set the benchmark, a small business owner will need to plan. There are likely going to be multiple benchmarks that individual business owners would want to achieve, including economic, technological, employee performance, and human resources/workplace environment concerns. But it is not possible to build Rome in a day. It all takes planning and strategizing, evaluating and assessing throughout the year – at a minimum at the beginning, middle and end of year.
If you are a small business owner, do not neglect to set, implement and review your goals throughout the year.