How to set small business goals

As an entrepreneur poised to uproot competition and climb the ladder to business success, learning how to set goals and achieve them is one of the most crucial tools that will make or mar your dreams.

No! Don’t take my words for it. According to research, millions of businesses have wandered into the desert of oblivion because they know next to nothing about where exactly they are going in the first place.

So, goal setting gets you on the journey to building a thriving business. And in this guide, I’ll be sharing some of the most remarkable and time proven goal setting strategies you can use as you get started.

What is Goal Setting?

Goals setting is the process of identifying achievable expected outcomes that matter to your business and taking steps to plan and outline the strategies that will lead you to achieving those outcomes within a specified time frame.

For entrepreneurs, goal setting is crucial because it gives your business purpose. Beyond that, it also guides you on the steps you can take to actually fulfill the set purpose thus improving your chances of actually achieving them.

Most entrepreneurs divide their targets outcomes into long term and short term goals. Short term goals are usually goals meant to be achieved over a short period of time (say weekly, monthly or quarterly) while long term goals are those that take a longer time to achieve.

Why Goal setting is Important

One of the reasons you want to learn how to set goals and achieve them is because goal setting is very crucial to the success of any business. For example, the following are the key reasons we started with our goals in mind.


No one gets into anything without knowing exactly what they plan to achieve. Goal setting gets you to identify the key things you want to achieve as a business. This is what you need to set the tone for all aspects of your business success.


As a small business, you need a lot of clarity to stay focused on what matters to you or the things you plan to achieve with your business.

Effective goal setting gives your business a sense of purpose and clarity | Image credits: Mikhail Nilov via Pexels

Without such clarity in place, it’s very easy to falter along the way or dabble into aspects of business that are not at the core of what you set out to achieve.

Time Bound

You want to understand how to set goals and achieve them because goal setting allows you to set a specific dead line to achieve a set outcome for your business.

Specifically when your goals are sorted, you are able to define a timeline you want to use to achieve them. Dong this creates a sense of urgency which also gets you focused on meeting the deadline.


As a business, to really know whether you’re making progress or not, you want to outline what success means to you based on your own goals and expected outcomes.

Goal setting gets you to do this by defining your priority; outlining possible resources you’ll need to achieve your expected outcomes as well as giving you a timeline to achieve those priorities.

With this in place, you would have gotten all the needed data to measure your success come to a clearer understanding about what’s going on with your business.

Types of Goals

Goals are not cut in stone. Although different businesses have different goals, majority of these goals are classified into different sub headings based on their purpose and their specific usefulness for a business.

Financial Goals

Financial goals are goals that outline the key financial targets set by a business. it could be either long term, short term or both but this is an important goal usually set by businesses both big and small.

One of the key reasons you need to know how to set goals and achieve them as per finance is because finances will be the life wire of your business.  And being able to realistically achieve your financial outcomes is one of the key indicators of business growth, success or failure.

Additionally, being able to set and reach your financial projections can be a good indicator for future business growth prospects and investors’ confidence in the business, just as it will provide clear metrics to measure your business’ success over time

Growth Goals

Growth goals aim at giving you a set benchmark to achieve or exceed. It is that kind of goal that outlines the specific area of growth you want to focus on.

As a small business aiming to attract more website driven conversions, our target growth goals was to create more visibility and get our website out there in front of a larger target audience.

This strategy was pivotal in delivering a great deal of our expected outcomes.

Sales Goal

Getting your sales right is another key reason to master how to set goals and achieve them as a small business. This is because sales can get very unpredictable without a definite goal.

You want to know exactly how much sales you can make over a certain period of time in order to achieve your set financial outcome.

Also, you want to be able to use your sales to understand your deliverables so you can rejig your business plans re-strategize when you have to or evolve a better business strategy that will deliver results.

Productivity and Innovation Goal

This is the goal that sets a benchmark meant to be achieved in terms of productivity over a certain period of time. This is a very important goal for small business.

As a small business entrepreneur, it’s very easy to get lost in ‘busyness’ that is not real business. We had a lot of struggle with this during our early days but being able to eventually outline specific expected deliverables enabled us to ascertain what productivity means to us.

With this, we were able to innovate evolve aspects of our business that yielded productivity while discarding those other areas that were not delivering results.

Social Media Goals

Social media is a key growth driver for small businesses. Learning to use it as a growth enabler is another key reason to study how to set goals and achieve them as an entrepreneur.

Most businesses use social as a great tool for brand storytelling, audience engagement and improving KLT. As a small startup, using social media for brand storytelling and content marketing was one of the strategies that delivered our first few clients.

As a brand, be intentional with your social media goals. Ensure that it’s realistic, time bound, measurable and achievable.

Also, remember that inasmuch as social media can drive growth for almost any kind of businesses, it’s true some businesses will have better chances over the social media more than others. Your goals will get you to find out where your business stands.

Content Marketing Goals

Closely related to social media goals, content marketing goals is another key business goal that’s very significant for businesses of all kinds.

While embracing content marketing as a new business, we were not sure about result driven marketing. There were no clear content marketing goals.

For this reason, we barely achieved anything in years. The moment we got clear on our content outcomes, we were able to align our content with purpose. This led to a far improved content outcome.

As an entrepreneur, do not go about creating content because you have to. Be purposeful, intentional and result focused with your content and you will marvel at the outcomes.

Customer Relationship Goal

Navigating customer relationships is one key reason to learn how to set goals and achieve them as an entrepreneur.

This is important because as your business continues to evolve, you will meet different kinds of customers who are going to leave behind or leave with different experiences about your business.

You don’t want your clients to leave with conflicting results after coming across your brand. As part of branding, you want to set a clear expected outcome that will drive consistency in customer relationship at all times.

And to be able to get this right, there is need to outline your customer relationship goals and be able to measure them at intervals.

How to Set Goals

Setting goals can be difficult and time consuming for beginners. But to get it right, the following are some of the important steps you can take;

Define what is Important

One of the first steps to set goals and achieve them is to define what is important to you as a business. What is the overall goal or most important thing you want to achieve with this business?

This is a key question that has to be answered at this stage. It doesn’t matter how big or how small it is, be sure you specifically identify this.

Evolve SMART goals

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, achievable, Realistic and Time bound.

Do not be vague or ambitious. Get very specific about what you want to achieve. Afterwards, ensure that this is measureable. For example I want to achieve X number of visitors over a Y duration of time.

In addition to being specific and measurable, your goal has to be something that is achievable when compared to your resources. It also has to be realistic and bench marked over a specific period of time.

Without this, it gets really difficult to deliver on your goals.

Chunk them into Short and Long term Goals

Divide your goals into short and long term goals based on your expected deliverables. This will get you to target each aspect of the goals specifically with more a realistic approach.

Identify your Key Performance Indicators KPIs

Key performance indicators are short term measures used by businesses to measure the progress of their strategies in relation to their set goal.

Setting SMART goals improves your chances of achieving them | Image Credits: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

While you may not have the wherewithal to get this detailed at the initial stages, over time as your business grows, you will be able to find patterns that will get you to understand whether a certain strategy, business goal etc. is ideal for your business or not.

Our KPIs is one key factor that helped us in overhauling our first business model entirely. Although it took time to get a clear idea about it, it was eventually a very helpful tool in measuring performance.

Evaluate & Reset

No business evolves in a vacuum. Learning how to set goals and achieve them as an entrepreneur gets you equipped with the tools you’ll need to ascertain your success.

So, while measuring your performance, you may have need to remove certain goals and create new ones. This is an important aspect of goal setting that cannot be ignored.

Goals are not meant to be set in stone. At intervals, evaluate your business alongside your goals to find what’s working and what is not.

How to Achieve your Goals

As an entrepreneur aspiring to achieve success in business, it’s important to learn how to set business goals and achieve them but, what’s even more important is to learn how to bring your goals to live. And we’ll be discussing that in this segment.

Set the right Goals

Outside setting goals, you have to set the right goals. In the preceding section we emphasized on setting SMART goals. This is very important. To make a head way, you need goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time bound.

Create an Action Plan

You can’t navigate how to set goals and achieve them without being able to create a realistic business plan that will guide you towards the achievement of your goals.

Alongside your expected outcomes, you need an action plans that will outline important steps, milestones and actions that can be taken at certain stages in order to achieve your expected results.

Track your Progress

Tracking your progress is a key aspects of goal setting that can inform you whether you’re making headway towards your goals or not.

At interval, you’ll have to analyze and evaluate your performance so you have a better understanding on what’s working and what’s not. This is very important.

Stay Flexible

One of the keys to successful business is flexibility. To maintain decent success, you want to learn how to remove aspects of your goals that are not delivering while keeping those that are yielding results.

This is one strategy that can lead to a major boost on improved outcomes. It can also be a major drive of innovation for businesses.

Final Words

Whether in personal or professional life, effective goal setting is an important tool that can deliver an improved and consistent success.

As an entrepreneur, you can utilize effective goal setting to breathe life to a dying business, start a new business from the scratch and even achieve as much success as you’re willing to go for.  

But, for all of this to be possible, you want to go all the way out to intentionally implement these tools consistently.

You want to put in your best foot out whether you feel like it or not. And eventually, you want to learn even better ways to navigate effective goal setting by reaching out to us and other successful entrepreneurs to get you started right from scratch.

Now, it’s your turn! What are your most significant challenges when it comes to goal setting? Drop your comments below.

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    Victor Winners

    Victor Winners

    A Nigerian trained Law graduate and British LL.M candidate, using his widespread experience in tech, law and innovation, to evolve cutting edge and growth driven solutions for brands and businesses in Africa and beyond.As a Law-trained tech expert, Victor brings in over 7 years experience working in the Digital Marketing, SEO, Web Development, Online Publishing, Social Media and Legaltech sectors, to create result driven content and innovative solutions to brands and businesses.Named as one of the top 50 Web Design Influencers Globally, Victor Winners started one of Africa's most widely read blogs on Digital Marketing and Strategy.With this platform, he has impacted the lives of over 2 million readers spanning more than 135 countries in 8+ years

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