Brand & Marketing Strategy

Set Goals for Your Small Business in 4 Steps

set goals for small business

It’s a simple truth: If you don’t know what you want, you will never get it. And it applies to both our personal lives and our small businesses. That’s why it’s so important to set goals and have the objectives for your small business clearly defined and ready to go.

In a business world that is constantly changing with technological advances (not to mention the effects of a pandemic) it’s important to be flexible. That doesn’t mean, however, that is isn’t as important as ever to plan ahead.

Find out what’s to gain from knowing exactly what you want the future of your small business to look like. It can be tempting to ask “why should I spend time setting goals and defining business objectives when the day-to-day running of the business already takes up enough of my time?”. In this post, I’ll outline not only why choosing to set goals is so important, but how to get started!

Why should I set goals for my small business?

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Knowing your long- and short-term goals is a great way to give yourself and your team direction. If everybody knows where they’re going, you’ll all get there a lot faster. Make sure to include your team in the planning process.

Use their ideas and insights into your small business and target audience. It helps to get them on board with your objectives, not to mention how good celebrating milestones, completed challenges and accomplished goals are for team building and motivation.

Having set goals also makes it much easier to get your small business organised. When things get hectic and you have to decide which tasks to prioritise, your goals are the perfect guideline.

You can also measure your results on a regular basis to see if you’re on track. This enables you to quickly change course if needed and adjust your strategy to keep losses to a minimum.

Find out what success means to you and your small business.

How do I set goals for my small business?

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There’s no template for small business goals, there are no must-haves for your company’s objectives. Simply write down what you had in mind when starting the business. Where do you see it in a few years and what are absolute no-gos for you?

The following 4 steps can help you gather your thoughts, organise your ideas and set goals for your small business.

1. The basics

When you set goals for your small business, make sure they are:

  • Specific – Define your goals as precise as possible for better focus.
  • Measurable – Quantify your goals to keep track of where you stand.
  • Achievable – Set attainable goals to stay motivated – consider elements like the time, resources, energy and finances involved.
  • Relevant – Is this goal worthwhile at this time?
  • Timely – Plan carefully so your timing doesn’t get in the way.

These are known as SMART goals. You can find out more about how this style of goal setting works here. By considering these points in the beginning, you reduce the risk of abandoning a goal quickly!

2. The big picture

  • What do you want to achieve with your business in the short- and long-term?
  • Do you want to stay a sole trader, work for yourself and set the rules? Or would you rather hire staff at the earliest convenience?
  • Do you want to hand over the reigns soon or are you planning on being the heart and soul of this business through thick and thin?
  • Are you planning to work part-time or do you want to invest your expertise full-time?
  • How much money would you like to make?

When starting your own small business you have to figure out what you want to achieve with it. And as the years go by, you will have to re-adjust these goals, adapt them as your business and your life changes.

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3. Your values

Another big part of your business objectives are your values:

  • What kind of business do you want to be?
  • How would you like to be perceived by your audience?
  • What are your values and vision when doing business: Quality, sustainability, integrity?
  • What’s your niche? Do you want to be the shop in town with the best bargains? Or would you rather be the one that is always ahead of the curve and sets trends?

4. Your strategies

Last but not least, to set goals for your small business also means to set goals for your marketing and sales strategies:

  • How many clients do you want?
  • Most importantly: Who do you want to do business with? What kind of clients do you want more of?
  • By how much would you like to increase your turnover?
  • Which product would you like to sell more of?
  • What marketing tactics are most likely to get you those clients?
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I thought this was a lovely thought to end this post on. You can have all the ideas in the world, but setting them down as actionable goals is the first step to making them a reality.

Whether you choose to set your goals at the beginning of the year, or a few months in, remember this. Flat out with other things in January? No problem! Set them out in February, or March. June is as good a time as any! The point is, whenever it happens, do it. Go forth and goal set – I’ll be here cheering you on!


If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Grow Your Small Business & Keep on Track
What Does Success Mean to You and Your Small Business?
Take Control of Your Small Business
10 Things I’ve Learned by Running My Own Small Business


Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.