How to Set Better Business Goals

By Brooke Preston, Manta Contributor - January 13, 2017

How to Set Better Business Goals

The first step to achieving changes in your business is to visualize your goals. Here’s how to get started.

Chances are, you set personal goals for 2017. But did you also define your business goals? After all, it’s important to have a clear picture of what you’re working toward.

Choosing achievable goals can be tricky, especially for small business owners and contractors. We asked Brian Benson, owner of Innovative Construction & Roofing, and Jennifer L Pozner, journalist, educator and author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, to share goal-setting tips.

Goals Should be Realistic and Measurable

Monthly and quarterly benchmarks help keep Benson’s annual goals on track. “It’s easy to lose focus of the outcome when you are entrenched in the day-to-day,” he said. “Visiting goals regularly to discuss them and adjust is paramount!”

He referenced his favorite quote, from The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Set Standard and Stretch Goals

Some goals are relatively conservative targets, while others are much bigger. Identifying both is wise. For instance, while Benson’s goal is to maintain 2017 revenue (along with increasing company morale, improving customer service, decreasing overhead costs and streamlining marketing processes), increasing revenue is his stretch goal.

Pozner, meanwhile, is pursuing a fellowship with a 5% acceptance rate. “Many people might look at that and say ‘Why even try?’ It will never work out if you don’t try,” she said. “At the very least, applying is an opportunity to get my name and work in front of entities in my field, and it’s great practice.”

Marry Passion with Practicality

Pozner built her 2017 goals around her passions while still considering practical matters. “I’m planning to write my second book, so another goal is to research crowdfunding platforms that could help me supplement an advance.”

Pozner also pragmatically adapted her public speaking opportunities to reflect a sagging academic market by targeting increased business conference keynoting instead.

Share Prospective Goals With Friends or Mentors

Benson recommends sharing goals with mentors or others in your network. “Find someone whose opinion you respect to bounce ideas off of,” he said. “I have typically looked to individuals outside my industry for new ideas and different experiences. Having someone to talk to is a vital tool when growing a business.”