Pursuing Effective Goals for Small Businesses

January 5, 2022

It’s the end of the year, and small business owners everywhere are setting their sights on developing their new year’s resolutions. A quick google search will bombard you with countless goal setting strategies, from SWOT, to the SMART method to others. But most of the advice out there fails to address the most important aspect of goal setting: tapping into the motivation behind the goal. We mean the “why” of what you are trying to accomplish, the whole reason you want to set a goal in the first place. Without defining those aspects, we fail to become aware of the deeper reasons we are motivated to accomplish our goals, and often end up failing to achieve our resolutions.

So how can small business owners set goals they are motivated to accomplish? What are effective and meaningful goals to strive towards? To help you develop strong and meaningful small business goals for the next year, we’ve compiled a list of 5 types of goals to consider this year in order to create effective resolutions for the new year.

Read on to get inspired!

Money Talks: Sales & Financial Goals

Money isn’t everything, but we know we need it to survive. After all, money is the bread and butter, the lifeline, of small businesses. Before you want to develop your financial goals for next year- you may want to take a few things into consideration, before throwing numbers down. First- are you clear on your budget for the year? If not- you might want to make one. To tap into true, lasting motivation for hitting sales and financial goals- you need to be clear on what you need, or want, the money for.

Second- are your goals achievable, or are they a stretch? You may dream about hitting a million dollar sales target- and even though there’s nothing wrong with having that as a long term goal-  if that’s not even close to your current revenue, you may be setting yourself up for failure by creating unrealistic targets for yourself.

To set effective financial goals, it pays to be practical. Set sales targets you know you can hit, and have a reward system for both yourself and your employees if they achieve and/or exceed the sales goals. This breeds a feeling of success that is extremely motivating- so don’t forget to celebrate all the little victories! And if the prospect of setting financial goals seems daunting, make it a goal to hire a professional bookkeeper to help you get your books in order and identify key areas to develop further.

Leadership Goals: Be Your Dream Boss

Does the idea of being a leader make you slightly uncomfortable? Even if your small business is a one man show, you will need to enlist the help of others at some point or another- even if it’s hiring a freelancer to design a logo or manage your social media. We need others to help us succeed, that’s a fact. But oftentimes, we don’t realize we’re in a “boss” role until we’re racing to put out some sort of fire.

Being an effective leader or boss is often overlooked as a “soft skill” that’s secondary to selling, performing, or any tasks that directly pays the bills. Will taking time to listen to your employees, and check in on their day, generate more revenue for you? Probably not, at least not directly. But creating an open and empathetic workplace culture makes people happier to be there- which creates good vibes- for both employees and customers. So if you’re trying to figure out what areas to work on next year, we urge you to set some leadership goals.

How can you set out to become a better leader? Well, it could be as simple as taking an online course, or a bit more specific like learning how to run efficient meetings, building inclusivity and diversity awareness, or participating in community events. Wherever you are in your journey as a leader, there’s always room for improvement, so why not make it one of your new year’s resolutions?        

Sustainability Goals: Creating a Better World

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There’s a reason why “sustainability” was one of the most googled search terms of the year. The world is waking up to climate change and the need to address it. As a small business, it may seem like the changes you make are a small drop in the ocean- but that’s not the case at all. Progress is progress, and even small efforts make a big difference. That’s why we want to urge you to consider setting some sustainability oriented goals for the next year.

Not only will you be playing your part in changing the system- but you may uncover some hidden opportunities in the process. Want to switch to sustainable packaging? Maybe you will discover an amazing vendor that you can resell packaging for to other small business owners. With sustainability opportunities abounding, you never know where that trail will lead you. Plus, your customers will be grateful for your eco-conscious approach.

Expanding and Investing in Yourself

When you’re used to trying to survive, it’s hard to invest in yourself. Sometimes it’s because we are so used to stashing every extra dollar into a rainy day fund in order to be prepared for emergencies. However, to grow, you need to be willing to invest in yourself and/or your small business. Before you can level up, you have to place value on the process, and be willing to dedicate resources towards growth and development. So how can this mentality expand into your goals for the year?

What’s one thing you’ve always been curious about, but never had the chance to explore? Whether it’s baking, traveling somewhere, or an aesthetic improvement to your store- the things that make you feel happy and excited are the things that you NEED to be investing in. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of all this hard work, anyways? Make it a point to nourish your passions and invest in your skills and business, and incorporate them into your new year’s resolutions.

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Research & Development: Allow Yourself to Experiment

Small business owners have a difficult task of balancing practical needs with unique value propositions. Uniqueness and innovation are what make us different and stand out from our competition. When we get caught up in doing things a certain way, experimentation takes a back seat. We think “this is working, why change it?”. But change always comes, it’s inevitable. Sometimes we can’t see the change coming, and by the time we realize that sales have stagnated and customers have stopped coming to our stores, we’re frantic for solutions. This is a scenario no small business owner wants to find themselves in, but as the last couple years have proven, some things are just out of our control.

So how do we ensure that you can remain nimble, flexible, and innovative in your small business? By making experimentation, research, & development a part of your everyday business operations. Make a point to always be trying new things, no matter how trivial they may seem. Have you been wanting to revamp your merchandising displays? Try it out on a small section of your store and get customer feedback. Curious about a new social media trend? Give it a go. Have you discovered something cool trending in your industry? Try it out on your customer base. Don’t be afraid to try new things, experiment, and get feedback on your business. That’s how you will ensure you are growing and discovering new things to constantly evolve.

To sum it up- thinking deeply about the types of goals we want to strive towards helps us tap into our motivation behind them. If you want to create new year’s resolutions for your small business that are meaningful, we urge you to take a moment and get very clear on the reasons behind the goals. And if you need a little help achieving your financial goals, or you need help managing everyday budget items, reach out today to one of our amazing professional bookkeepers at KGC Consulting.

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