Defining Goals for Your Small Business

Goals are measuring sticks; but on these sticks, we get to draw the dividing marks. You define your goals to meet your needs. Goals are also your guideposts, established to keep you on the right path and to help you assess your progress.

By Terri Lonier, Small Business Author, excerpted from Smart Strategies for Growing Your Business

If our vision is the destination, the ideal structure we see on the horizon, then goals are the substance that gives flight to our ideas. For example, assuming you’ve chosen the type of building your want, you can now decide how many rooms it will have and how they will be furnished—the style and ambience you want to achieve.

Business goals are as diverse as the people who establish them. Some are no-brainers, such as “win enough clients to pay the rent and my salary.” A goal can be as specific as “install a new graphics program, so I can target that client who demands this capability from its vendors.” A goal might be as short-term as “get this done by Friday” or as long-term as “in 10 years I want to be reporting $10 million in sales.”

Goals are measuring sticks; but on these sticks, we get to draw the dividing marks. We determine what we’d like to achieve during a specific time frame; we design a particular outcome. You define your goals to meet your needs.

Goals are also your guideposts, established to keep you on the right path and to help you assess your progress.

Manage Tactics
We all wrestle with innumerable tasks that fill up our daily “To-Do” lists. Most new business owners, and many experienced ones, too, are all too familiar with activities that can take us in a dozen different directions at the same time. They scatter our focus, until at the end of the day we’re exhausted—but find ourselves wondering whether we've accomplished anything of importance.

No doubt about it, such tasks can derail the most capable business owner. That’s why it’s important to make the distinction between a tactic, an approach to accomplishing something, and an activity, which, while necessary, could be assigned a lower priority or delegated elsewhere, freeing you to keep your eye on the prize.

Formulate Strategies
Unlike establishing a vision, defining goals and employing daily tactics, which are individual undertakings, strategies can be shared, adapted and refined among other entrepreneurs in other field.

Strategies are the blueprints you draw to help you achieve your goals; they are the systems you use to get yourself where you want to be. Employing strategies is putting brain before brawn, planning before you act. Strategies are so important that I had no difficulty filling an entire book with them! But to give you the power you need to succeed, strategies must be put in the context of your business “building”—integrated with your vision, your goals, and your tactics.