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Set Your Business up for Success


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Entrepreneurs must set goals to stay focused and keep their business moving forward in the right direction. We recently came across a book called Get Growing, Keys to Unlocking the Potential of Your Small Business by David Wilton & Kyle McNamara which has a ton of great information on how to grow your business. We think the section “Setting Personal and Business Goals” is particularly useful for small business owners. The authors do a great job of breaking down how to create a business goal and how to implement a strategy. Here’s what we wanted to share with you.

Set personal goals

When thinking about why you started your business, it’s likely because you wanted to achieve your personal goals. Most business owners started their business because they wanted to be financially independent, or they felt they had a social responsibility, such as helping the community. Some just wanted to change their lifestyle and have the flexibility and independence of running their own business.

You need to look at how you measure and define personal success to identify your business goals. This will help you define business success and identify what you want to get out of owning a business. You may have more than one goal and your goals may change over time. Identify your personal priorities and redefine your goals on a regular basis.

Creating your business goals and choosing a strategy

Once you’ve determined your personal goals, your business goals will become more clear. This will help you stay focused on your defined objectives and make targeted decisions.

What is the business outcome you would like to achieve? What are the actions you will take to achieve your goal?

If you have a financial goal, your strategy may be to create a great new product or service. For example, if you are a contractor with a financial goal, your strategy may need to be expanding your skill set, training more employees, or getting yourself or your employees certified and recognized.

Target your goals

Rank your goals in order of importance and focus on your top three. You also need to make sure the goals you set are S.M.A.R.T.  

Specific: ensure your goal is clearly identified and defined

Measurable: pinpoint a measurable outcome. (e.g. doubling profits, reaching X amount of new customers)

Action oriented: these goals must be achievable through specific actions done by certain people

Realistic: make sure your goals are attainable and a good fit for the company

Time specific: set a timeline to keep your goals and strategies on track. When do you want to achieve your goal by?

What sets you apart?

What is your competitive advantage that sets you apart from other businesses and helps you to achieve your key business goals?

Think about why your business is successful and what you want to pride your company on. Is it your level of expertise and level of experience? Customer service? Quality? Uniqueness? Find what makes your business stand out from your competitors and use it to help you define strategies to make your goals achievable.

Brainstorm your strategies

Now that you’ve identified your goals and your competitive advantage, it’s time to make a list of strategies you can use to achieve them. Brainstorm a list of strategies to achieve your goals by researching, asking mentors, drawing from personal experience and thinking creatively.

Once you have a bunch of strategies, narrow them down and choose the ones with the highest likelihood to help you achieve your goal, and that have proven to be successful for other businesses.

Put your strategy into action

Once you have your chosen strategies, make sure to write them down and describe them in full. Define what your specific outcomes are and how you want to deliver your strategy in relation to your business goals. Create a list of actions to help complete each process, and communicate them to the team and all those who will need to participate.

To achieve your goals, you need to continuously monitor results and be clear about your outcomes. Watch your finances, customer count and customer experience in relation to your goals and strategies so you can monitor success until you reach and exceed your targets.

Follow 411.ca on Facebook and Twitter for small business tips.

Anastasia graduated with a BA Honors Communications Degree and is currently pursuing her passion for writing and helping small businesses succeed.