Though creating achievable goals for growth is hard, it's important for every small-business owner. Even if you don't quite hit your mark, you'll still have improved, which is the point of setting goals in the first place. If your goal is to grow, you're going to need a plan for methodical innovation.
Think of Long- and Short-Term Goals
When you begin to formulate your goals for growth, try thinking of them in two distinct ways: short-term goals and long-term goals. The long-term goals are your end vision, and your short-term goals are more like milestones. Breaking the overall goal apart into smaller chunks allows us to shift focus from a daunting task to a much more manageable outcome. These short-term goals should be specific, manageable and attainable in order to keep the momentum going.
Goals are really achieved in the every day minutiae. It's the little things done well over time that make for big, sweeping changes and gains. Creating short-term milestones ensures you meet all the steps needed to make the long-term goal happen.
Don't Be Vague
When it comes to personal goals, most of us make goals that we’ll never achieve, and a major reason is because our goals aren’t specific enough.
The same is true with your business goals. Want to make sure innovation is stifled at your company? Create a vague goal for growth. There's nothing wrong with saying, "We're going to double our profits this year." You just have to be incredibly specific in how you're going to accomplish it.
The idea is to make sure the outcome is visualized properly. If your goal is to double revenue, then give an exact plan—with short-term milestones—detailing how you'll do it along the way.
Time is another way to add specificity to your goal. Making milestones that have specific end dates gives structure and keeps things running smoothly.
Create a Snowball
When you're trying to create a plan for growing your business, it can be hard to know where to begin. Try picking some easy, low-hanging fruit. These are items that you already know need to be addressed and can be done quickly. This might be the wording on a sales page, doing some A/B testing or maybe doing customer interviews. Just pick a few things off the top of your head that are limiting growth in some way and hammer them out quickly.
When you tackle small, easy items first, it creates momentum. This momentum builds as more items are checked off the list, and the growth builds on itself. Success is contagious, especially when you start to see the results.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Business goals are different from personal goals because most of the time our business goals rely on other people. Our staff, our business partners, our vendors, the board of directors—everyone is connected. This means that our goals can be that much harder to achieve.
Everybody has to be on the same page, and everyone should understand the vision of growth and commit to it. And don't be afraid to take input from employees and peers. If everyone is going to buy into the plan for growth, having the feeling that input is welcomed and valued is critical.
Goal setting requires lots of thought, preparation and time. These are three things that most small-business owners don’t usually have extra time or resources for. But they’re essential to making a goal that sticks.
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