SME Owners: What’s Your Goal?

Once you’re over the initial difficult phase of starting up and establishing your business, you might be tempted to sit back on your laurels for a bit. It’s understandable that you want to take a break from constant determined focus, but don’t leave it for too long. If your business isn’t going forward, the world around it will be—and in reality, that means it will be going backwards.

To stay on track you always need to know where the business is going next. You need to have goals.

Choosing business goals

The goals people set for their businesses will vary depending on the type of business and what stage it’s at currently. You need to think about what denotes success — both for you, and for your business.

  • Is it providing enough income for you to draw the wage you want, while paying staff well enough to keep them happy and retain their loyalty?
  • Is there enough money for a financial safety net and the ‘desirable expenses’, such as staff training?
  • Are you meeting the productivity or sales target you hoped for, and what new ones could you set? What’s the potential of your business?
  • Do you have the in-house knowledge, staff, resources and equipment you need for your business to run smoothly and achieve its full potential?
  • Does everyone know about your business and what it does?
  • Are you providing great customer service and keeping your clients happy?
  • If your business has debts, are you clearing them at a reasonable rate? Could you set a target to pay loans off earlier, potentially reducing the interest you pay?
  • Have you applied for any grants you’re entitled to, and looked at grants for future projects, such as energy-saving technologies (good for the planet and your pocket)?
  • Do you need additional, or bigger, premises?

Setting your business goals

Once you’ve decided on the goal you want to set for your business (or goals; but beware setting too many at once), you need to decide how you will achieve them.

Take the time to recognise the interim steps that will be needed and make a plan to steadily work through them, delegating or outsourcing tasks where appropriate. Pinning a note that says, “We’re going to double our sales in the next two years!” on the staff noticeboard may be briefly uplifting, but it won’t bring you any nearer to your goal.  Goals can only be met if you have a realistic plan to achieve them, otherwise there is a real danger of staff, and you, losing motivation.

For each of those steps, you need to think about:

  • What you need to make it happen
  • Who you need to make it happen
  • When it has to happen
  • How much it will cost
  • Where that money will come from; investment, funding, a loan, a grant, or money already in the business.

Remember, your business may be small, but so was every business at one time. You may have no wish to run a huge company, but you definitely want to run a successful one. Goals will help make that