Part and parcel of running a successful business is creating strong building blocks that position your business to thrive. With small and medium enterprises making up 99.9% of UK businesses, and only 42.4% of businesses trading beyond 5 years, it’s important to consider why so many SMEs fail, and how you can ensure yours doesn’t.
The key issue preventing so many businesses from achieving longevity is lack of planning. If there’s no plan, it’s harder to keep track of cashflow, nothing to benchmark your profits against, and a no real focus beyond continuing to trade. You need to establish what you’re working towards.
This is where goal setting comes in, enabling you to set your business apart from the crowd.
How to set goals for your business
1. Think ahead
Start to establish your long-term goals. Think of these as overarching ideas and brainstorm what you hope to achieve in the next five years, and then in the next ten. This can be anything from early retirement, to scaling up the business. Be very clear about what you want. It is difficult to make any of your goals successful if you aren’t clear about what you hope to achieve.
2. Use short-term goals to achieve long-term goals
Once your long-term goals have been conceptualised, the next step is to make them achievable. The S.M.A.R.T method is a great way to do this:
Specific – Your objectives should be as concrete as possible. They need a high level of detail, consisting of your ‘What?’, ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’. For example, you may want to scale up your business, because you want to expand your offices to be in multiple regions and you plan to achieve this by increasing your client base.
Measurable – Putting measurable values, like percentage growth, income or profit value to the goal immediately makes you more accountable. It allows you to see whether the business is on target to achieve its plan. You will also immediately be able to see when you have completed your goal.
Awesome – Are you inspired by your goal? You need to be! The chances are it will be hard work, and it’s only worth it if you find the benefits exciting!
Realistic – Grand ambitions are challenging, at least they should be if they’re truly rewarding, but they also need to be realistic. Make sure to set goals that you can reasonably achieve.
Time specific – Set deadlines to keep your business on track. At this point you will have put your measurable values in place, now break them down by time. If you hope to make £1 million profit in a year, what does that break down to per month? And how many sales, or clients, will you need to make that happen per week? When you have thought about how that breaks down, you will be able to put a calendar in place.
3. Ask for input
Once S.M.A.R.T goals have been completed, it’s beneficial to receive input from other people. Set up a brainstorming session to see if any fresh, innovative ideas emerge. By involving people from multiple roles in your business, you will be able to get a better picture of what it needs. You may even find more efficient ways to work through the day-to-day goals from the people who are on the ground!
4. Create a solid infrastructure
Ensuring that you’re organised, and know exactly what is happening, and when, is crucial to the success of your business. This includes creating a schedule to include your targets, outgoings, incomings and due dates. It will help keep the business on track, but will also provide a solid foundation as your business grows. It’s important not to lose sight of the overarching objective, or miss deadlines because you are too focused on one thing. A strong infrastructure will keep everything in perspective.
A great starting point is Blue Rocket’s Set Objectives, Achieve Results (SOAR) method. It brings all of your strategising together in an easy-to-use 3 page process. Introducing a logical and analytical approach to business decisions, the SOAR methodology can lead to higher profits, improved cashflow and higher levels of personal income and wealth.
Our next SOAR seminar is on 17th March 2021; a fast-paced, 45-minute session with Miguel Calabrese. Click here to register for the FREE event now!