Small Business Goal Setting: How to Set Them (+25 Ideas)

Small business goal setting is important for business leaders and entrepreneurs in the early days of their businesses. Whether you want to start a new business or improve your current one, setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) company goals is essential.

The goal-setting process involves defining clear objectives, creating action plans, and tracking progress. If you don’t set goals, you won’t achieve anything. And if you don’t track your progress, you won’t know whether you’re succeeding or failing.

Here are some tips on how to set small business goals, along with 25 SMART goal ideas broken down into key business categories that you can implement today.

creative entrepreneurs setting goals

How to Set Small Business Goals

A business goal is an objective specifically designed to improve the success of a small business.

If you run a small business, having clear objectives can be helpful for growing your company, overcoming challenges, improving efficiency, etc. Every small business' goals may vary since every business and every business owner are unique.

If you're thinking about setting some goals for your company, you might be wondering how to go about it and which ones will be most beneficial.

Before you consider setting any small business goals, you need to consider the following:

1. What do I want my business to accomplish? And I don't refer to just "more sales", I refer to how many people you want your business to serve. What type of value do you want to provide to your customers? What level of monthly revenue do you want to achieve?

2. Why am I running it? Why did you set it up in the first place? Why does your business provide the offerings it does?

Before setting any goals, it is important to answer the questions of what you want to accomplish with your business and why you set it up in the first place. Answering these questions helps define successful goals that will move your business forward.

creative entrepreneurs setting gaols

Begin with something you've always wanted to do

It's easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and forget why we started our businesses in the first place and what dream the business would help you fulfil.

When you ask yourself these questions, you'll have a better idea of where you want your business to go. You might also realise that you haven't been doing enough to reach those goals or haven't been doing enough in the right direction.

A useful tool we have developed to help give you greater clarity, less stress, and more creative productivity is the Morning Mindset Journal. It will keep you on track with why you are doing it all and what you are wanting to achieve.

Be detailed

The more time you spend describing and visualising your goals, the more likely you will be to actually achieve them. So when setting goals, make sure you include as much detail as possible.

For example, instead of saying "I want to increase sales by 10% next year," try something like "I want to increase my average order size by £100 per month." This way, you're being specific about what you want to achieve, and you're giving yourself a chance to succeed.

Break them down into smaller pieces

It can be difficult to see the bigger picture when looking at each individual goal in detail. However, if we look at these broad goals and break them up into smaller pieces, then they become easier to achieve.

For example, let's say you want to increase your customer base by 10% over the next year. This means that you want to add 10 more clients to your client list. But if you break this goal down into smaller parts, you could say that you want to add 5 new clients per month.

By breaking down your big goal into smaller pieces, you make it much easier to achieve. In addition, you will also find it easier to measure your progress towards achieving those small goals.

Make sure your goals are SMART

So far, we have covered three important aspects of setting goals for your business. We talked about what you want your business to accomplish, why you want to run it, and the importance of making goals actionable.

We now move on to a crucial element: setting achievable goals that you are going to set, act on, and achieve!

Setting small business goals is a necessary part of growing your business. If you don't set goals, then you won't know whether you're succeeding or failing.

And if you don't set SMART goals, you'll have a hard time implementing them, sticking to them, and knowing when you've even hit them! Please don't set yourself unrealistic goals, as they simply won't help you move forward towards where you are trying to get to.

Below, we have outlined what the SMART acronym stands for to help you set SMART goals yourself:

S: Specific - What exactly are you trying to achieve in the first place?

M: Measurable - How are you going to measure? Without it being a measurable goal, you have no way of ascertaining your progress towards it or completing it.

A: Achievable - How attainable is the thing that you are wanting to gain or achieve?

R: Realistic - Is it a realistic goal? How does it fit into the bigger picture of what you're attempting to accomplish?

T: Time-bound - What time frame will it take to achieve it?

They're important to remember because they really help set some attainable and actionable goals.

If you don't set realistic, attainable goals for your small business, you run the risk that they won't be achieved. Also, if you aren't clear on what you really need and why it matters to you and your business, then you may struggle to achieve them.

Consider them as key performance indicators; you must know how you intend to achieve your goal and how to tell when you have done so.

Check where you are with your goals

Now that you've got your SMART future goals written down, check where you are with them and whether they still align with your overarching goal. You should already have a good idea of what you want to achieve, but you might still be missing out on some details.

Whether you are setting short-term personal goals or long-term business goals, your goals must be outlined around the SMART acronym. We have outlined some questions below to help further clarify the goal(s) you are trying to outline and set.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Are my goals too broad?

2. Do I have any long-term goals?

3. Is there anything I'm forgetting?

4. Am I doing everything I can to achieve these goals?

5. Have I thought about the consequences of achieving each one?

6. Do my goals align with the business strategy?

7. Will I be able to measure success?

8. Do I have a plan to achieve these goals?

9. Have I identified all the resources required to

The list of questions above is meant to get you started on setting your own SMART goals and help you achieve greater levels of success. The most important thing is that you start somewhere and reflect on your goals with the thought, "Is this goal SMART?"

If you are now sitting here, thinking, "I have now got so much to do, and I don't know what to do first," then take a look at our priority pad. It will make sure you focus on the tasks that matter the most to your life and business, helping you steer the ship in the right direction.

We will now talk about some goal ideas that you could implement in your business today. I have broken them down into their relevant categories for greater ease.

creative entrepreneur reviewing numbers

25 Small Business Goal Ideas

Coming up with new ideas can be hard, particularly if it's something you haven't tried before.

But if you think about it, every business needs to come up with new products, services, business strategies, and marketing strategies and therefore needs goals in place to make it happen.

Here are 25 SMART goals to inspire you to set some of your very own:

Marketing goals

1. Create a marketing plan for a new business within 1 month

2. Conduct a marketing audit within 30 days

3. Plan five customer education webinars by the fourth quarter

4. Increase customer loyalty by 5% by December 2024

5. Increase traffic by 40% on your business website and blog by 1st May 2023

6. Start using Facebook and Instagram in your business by the end of December

7. Get the marketing team to conduct a marketing audit within 30 days

8. Find new opportunities for networking

Financial goals

9. Pay off £10,000 in business debt within 30 months

10. Increase profit margins by 5% by the end of March 2023

Sales goals

11. Set up a remote sales networking system within 7 days

12. Increase new customer reviews by 30% year over year

13. Increase cold call sales by 10% this year

Operational goals

14. Ensure all our overseas factory workers are paid a living wage within 3 months

15. Grow the worldwide market share of our top-selling software by at least 10% by the end of the year

16. Review the business plan by the end of the week at 5 pm

17. Implement a new, efficient customer service process by the end of quarter 3

18. Create a new wellness product by the end of the year

19. Open a second business location in Warwickshire by the end of 2024

20. Make the entire business "paperless" by the end of the year

21. Do a thorough SWOT analysis of five competitors by May 14th

22. Increase the customer satisfaction score by 8% within 90 days

23. Create a new employee incentive programme by the end of 2023

24. Setup IT infrastructure to enable working from home for all team members by Q2 2023

25. Use SMART goal setting for all goals by the end of the month

As you can see, there are an endless number of small business long-term and short-term goals that you could set, as every business is different. To make your life as easy as possible, make sure your goal is SMART, similar to the examples shown above.

An effective goal is a smart goal!

Man with microphone headset on

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the top 2 most popular questions on small business goal setting:

Why is setting business goals important?

Setting small business goals helps you stay focused and motivated. It also gives you a sense of achievement when you reach them.

It can help you plan for the future. Whether it's reviewing the marketing plan, updating the business objectives, or renewing the business insurance, goals are great at holding us accountable for doing the things that we need to do most.

Additionally, before setting goals for your business, it is a good idea to know the difference between business goals and professional goals, as it will give you greater clarity and will help you achieve greater levels of success.

What are some common reasons people don’t set their own business goals?

Not everyone has time to do this. Some people think that they should just "wing it" or rely on luck. Others feel like they have no control over what happens in their lives, so why bother trying to predict anything?

However, if you want to be successful in any area of your life, then you need to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. You need to know where you are going and how you will get there. If you don’t set goals, you won’t know whether you are making progress towards achieving them.

What is the difference between goals and objectives?

Goals are usually broad and lofty, whereas objectives are more specific. As a means of achieving them, objectives should be incorporated into your overall goals.

Your company's goals are broad and general. Once you've set these goals, you can break each one down into smaller, more specific ones.

Your company's objectives are specific and short-term. They're milestone checkpoints that help you keep track of your overall success.

For example, if one of your company's objectives is to increase sales by 10% each month, you might want to focus on launching a new product every three months so that you can meet that monthly target.

female entrepreneur holding open sign


Setting small business goals is a great way to keep track of where you want to be in the future. However, it's easy to set too many goals, which can lead to overwhelm and frustration.

So instead of trying to hit every single goal you set out to achieve, focus on the ones that really matter to you. Use these 25 ideas to help you figure out exactly what you want from your business and how you plan to get there. Once you have smashed the small business goal setting, have a go at setting larger goals over a longer period, however, keep in mind to make sure they align with the initial plan.

The sooner you start planning, the sooner you'll reach your ultimate destination. So let's get going!

If you are still thinking, "I really don't know what I am doing, or even why I am doing all of this in the first place," speaking with a life or business coach can be of great help. The Life Coaching Directory can be a great place to start when looking for a coach to help you find some additional clarity.

If you have any questions or would like some help, comment below or contact us on one of our social media pages, and we will do our best to help.

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