Small businesses create exponential gains by consistently setting short-term, attainable goals.
Whether your business is looking to expand into a new market, acquire new leads or make key new hires, these short-term goals will help you sustain momentum over the long term.
1. Create Goals For Sales, Then Focus On Marketing
Clearly, without sales there is no point in marketing, but the two combined are the key to success.
Unfortunately, most small business owners don’t have the time to be an expert in both fields.
If you got a business website up and running, then boost its reach on Google by learning the basics of search engine optimization and using software to automate the minutiae of SEO.
I recommend running PPC campaigns after you know a lot about your target audience.
Understanding things like their pain-points and how they are perfect to communicate makes all the difference in overspending on poor results and success.
2. Customers Know What’s Best, So Listen To Them (But Within Reason)
The customer feedback is essential to getting an edge on your competitors. Adapting to their ever-changing taste and requirements will keep them loyal or win them over.
To do this, your business must prove that it’s listening by following through these customers’ recommendations.
When their voices feel heard, they will provide more constructive feedback and probably tell their friends/family.
A good way to gather info on customer feedback is to create a survey that is sent with the purchase or sign-up from new customers.
This way you can have relevant feedback on their satisfaction, thoughts, and concerns.
Long-term feedback information helps build up your business’s reputation.
3. Stop Wasting Valuable Human Capital & Start Streamlining Day-To-Day Activities Using Automation
There are a plethora of CRM Suites out there to choose from. These customer relationship management are also referred to as project management solutions.
No matter how you title them, these pieces of SaaS take the minutiae out of administration work (mostly).
They automatically record customer details and organize call notes, making interactions with customers more personalized and that builds up customer loyalty (and Affordable).
Consider offloading businesses online visibility demands to an agency with a proven track record.
Also, if you’re hesitant on overspending on ads, then overspend on SEO. Ranking 1st on a competitive keyword may take time, but it’s far cheaper and more lucrative in the long-term.
Own Your Search Terms Instead Of Renting Them With AdsCheck Out ATRICA Software Services
When you hire professionals for their marketing insights, they help expand your business’s ability to reach more customers in a shorter amount of time.
While lifting this burden off the rest of the team and allow for more time on important stuff (like sales).
How to Personalize Your Customer Experience: The 7-Step Process
- Survey customers to address their needs and unknown issues.
- Be thoughtful in the presentation of your product or service.
- Follow up after the purchase via email or a quick phone call.
- Make your automation process more personalized.
- Let AI Software handle your grunt work.
- Offer loyal customers personalized recommendations (at a discounted price).
- Make sure your marketing messages are both relevant and timely.
4. Focus On Building Upon Current Customer Relationships For Long-Term Success
Going beyond expectation is not too difficult in a lot of industries in after the sale customer services. Maintaining relevant info on purchasers is a great way to have a reason to for reaching out.
Many business owners have doubts about building personalized experiences for all their customers.
However, small personalizations like remembering a customer’s previous purchase can go all long way in terms of loyalty. We can automate this using inventory management integrations.
(Examples being Shopify, Cin7 Inventory, and Clover POS)
Customers notice the little things and employees who have such key information to help personalize conversations build stronger relationships that with long-term success can generate referrals.
5. Put Time Aside To Brainstorm Innovative Marketing & Sales Ideas
This inclusive activity makes for a healthier workplace environment. No matter if your team is virtual, in-person, or a bit of both.
When team members bounce ideas off one another, it results in stronger relationships, novel opportunities, and unique solutions.
A study called, “The Gender Gap and Goal-Setting,” discovered that both women and men will be more successful after writing their goals.
The study’s participants got requested to consider the question:
“My goal is so vividly described in written form (including pictures, photos, drawings, etc.) That I could literally show it to other people and they would know exactly what I’m trying to achieve.”
Unfortunately, only less than 20% of people responded their goals were ‘Always’ written this vividly.
When we describe our goals vividly, such as in written form, it increases the goals’ chances for success.
The results suggest that participants who painted a picture (in their heads) to describe or physically write their goals are actually 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish their goals compared to people who just go through the motions.
That’s a pretty big discrepancy in successful goal setting! So, remember to document your goals both digitally and on a paper for best results.
Ideas To Start Goal Setting
The quickest goals starting activity is commonly known as brainstorming, but the important part is to write down IN DETAIL both organizational target outcomes, personal aspirations, and ideal scenarios for the next 5-10 years
(The more grandiose and ambitious they are, the better)
Remember to write them down and work backwards using short-term goals and milestones.
After listing your goals – The next part of the process is all about elevating those goals. Start a brainstorming session with your team, colleagues, or whoever will listen.
Brainstorming takes shape in a variety of ways:
1. List making – Stick to solving one goal at a time. Sub-list might be necessary in the breakdown of milestones, short, and longer-term goals.
2. Mind mapping – Useful for abstract problem solving. Think of the goal or milestone, jot it down on a large surface (like a chalk or whiteboard) Then, make the spider web of ideas that spew out from you (or your team) around the goal. This is a fun way to break-down an abstract problem because mind mappings comprise words, images, other inspiring ideas.
3. Brain dump – Not far off from that act of mind mapping, but far more chaotic. The little to no structure of a brain dump involves writing anything and everything that comes to mind.
6. Attract & Keep Talent (Boost Team Morale & Avoid Turn Over)
Keeping high performing employees means offering flexible working arrangements and a work environment that is easy to work in.
- Stop pushing your employees to perform 80-to-90 hour work weeks.
- Try to balance work-place environment using smart scheduling software.
- Promote de-stressing activities outside and inside the workplace.
- Celebrate your team when they meet goals with complimentary lunches.
- Know when your team is overwhelmed and let them take a break if needed.
Finding your perfect pieces to fit the puzzle that is your business takes time & effort.
Implementing these best practices makes the difference between a productive group of employees and one that is constantly looking forward to clocking out.
7. Be Transparent In Your Decision Making
When customers are curious to know why your business is changing their policy, be honest with them. They will most likely be understanding and will have more trust in what they’re buying.
This goes double for employees, because nobody likes to feel like a cog in the machine.
We can implement transparency in a variety of ways, and the amount of it often changes from business to business.
However, there are common situations where companies increase transparency:
- Stands of Practice In Hiring
- Quarterly Growth Charts and Performance Assessments
- Internal Processes
- Pricing Breakdowns
- Revenue Reports
- Diversity & Inclusion Data
Transparency will not only lead to a more productive work environment, but it will also help produce in more accurate feedback from both customers and (or) employees.
8. Identify The Important Factors Reducing Workplace Productivity (Optimize Them)
In most cases, finding a more efficient rate of quality output will positively affect the bottom line.
Factoring in on what works best and what is most resources intensive means fewer expenses for the company. There is likely room for improvement in the following areas:
- Utilization of Technology
- Filing Processes With The Government
- Organization of Inventory
- Efficiencies in Standards of Practice
- Transparency In Financial Reporting
- Smart Operational Design In Production Processes
- Communication Channel Evaluations Between Employees, Managers, & C-Suite Executives
Remember to record the results from the start, compare any changes at selected time.
An example being to get 50 customer reviews across all the social media in the next thirty days.
9. Use Milestones To Overcome Short-term Barriers
Start by creating a clear and easy to understand long-term goal.
As an example, let’s choose to responding to negative online reviews in less than 48 hours of it being posted.
The best way to start is to dissect this long-term goal into digestible pieces.
With customer service, you might focus on responsiveness, consistency and high satisfaction per review. You’ll then separate each of these down into a list of short-term goals.
Remember to write these goals down (pen to paper) and present it somewhere you will frequently pass, like a bulletin board or the front door to the bathroom.
If a goal appears to unachievable, then change it. Don’t be afraid to push yourself with a balance between ambitious and achievable.
Don’t forget the acronym SMART!
A SMART Goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
- A ‘SMART’ short-term goal for customer service might entail a detailed template that makes responding process more efficient.
- A seasonal marketing campaign that requests former customers to offer their reviews of your business.
- It’s recommended to create a goal that is realistically workable.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART Goals is an acronym that is most commonly used methodology for goal setting – It stands for:
Specific – $5K per week is a specific goal compared to “increase sales”
Measurable – Tracking monthly gross revenue is a measurable goal
Achievable – The goal is researched and vetted as doable
Relevant – Decreasing churn for a subscription based service is relevant to business success
Timely – There is a clear and agreed upon deadline for the goal
How to overcome short-term and long-term barriers
It’s inevitable for the occasional lost in motivation, or you get too busy, or maybe even you just simply forget.
Dealing with obstacles is best done with preparation before they even occur, so roadblocks don’t become road detours.
- Schedule time to check up on your progress on a weekly basis to make necessary changes.
- Record the changes that happen after implementing short-term goals to track the progress of long-term goals.
Put in the extra intention by creating two sub-list of things that might stop your business from achieving success and another on the positive out-comes of success.
Wrapping It Up | Goals For Small Business Success
1. Create Objectives That Focus Sales, Followed By Marketing.
2. Your Customers Know What’s Best, So Listen To Them (Gather Feedback & Use It).
3. Streamline Day-To-Day Activities With Automation/
4. Focus On Building Your Current Customer Relationships For More Referrals/
5. Put Time Aside To Brainstorm Novel Ideas (Team-Work Make The Dream Work)/
6. Attract & Keep Talent (Avoid Turnover To Create Stronger Company Morale).
7. Be Transparent In Your Decision Making. (Both In-House & With Customers)
8. Optimize The Most Important Factors That Affect Workplace Activities
9. Celebrate Milestones To Overcome Short-term Barriers
Tips For Creating Short-Term Business Goals?
Short-term business goals are only going to be impactful when they are thoughtful.
Even when your business accomplishes all their short-term goals, if they are not well thought-out then they still may come up short in meeting their long-term goals.
Here are 5 recommendations to remember when you’re in the next company brainstorming session.
1. Use a paper and pen to write down your goals. Be as detailed as possible, this process makes goal-setting easier and more concrete. You can even hang it up on the bulletin board, so you can look at it everyday and remember what is most important.
2. Be sure that the goals you set are being measured. Creating specific targets to meet makes the objective more attainable. Example being wanting more prospects this month and finding three prospects to make at least 3 touch-points with.
3. These short term goals should be actionable. When you break down a goal using a step-by-step process, the more doable it will be.
4. Create milestones to make short term goals less cumbersome. There are times when business gets so hectic, that we just go through the motions and forget the importance of celebrating the little things.
Breaking down goals with milestones will help boost team morale and give everyone a reminder that the company is reaching their long term goals.
5. Make sure everyone knows the progress of the company’s goals. Don’t forget to inform employees about the completion of short and long term goals and how they are affecting the overall progress of the businesses mission.
This is also a great space for encouraging team members to state their individual goals.
Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Business Goals
Business goals that are long-term help guide a company’s overall vision. They set forward the underlying principles to adopt and everything to steer clear of.
A generic example of a lack-luster long-term goal planning is to “grow the business“, but how can we make that more actionable?
A SMART Goal Planning example is concrete and quantitative. “By making it a measurable long-term goal, like doubling annual sales over the next 5 years”.
Actions for something that needs to be accomplished this week are short-term goals. These are things you can do here-and-now to get your company toward the long-term vision.
Short-term goals pertain to the stuff that your company will take care of over the next 1-3 years.
- We can resolve it, but it will be challenging.
- Action focused on problem solving.
- Results are measurable and have a base level to look back to.
- We can break it up into clear-cut actions and definitive milestones.
When you imagine the future success of your company, long-term goals will apply.
- Investigates into unforeseen effects from outside influences.
- Requires extensive foresight to become an industry leader.
- Envisioning an overall situation that merges measurable results to optimize efficiencies.
- Thoroughly throughout with the values of you and your company’s brand image.
Team, E. (n.d.). What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? | Clover. Clover. https://blog.clover.com/what-is-customer-relationship-management-crm/
In-text citation: (Team, n.d.)
Editorial, S. (n.d.). Marketing reports. Shopify Help Center. https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/reports-and-analytics/shopify-reports/report-types/marketing-reports
In-text citation: (Editorial, n.d.)
Murphy, M. (2018, April 15). Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ markmurphy/ 2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them/?sh=27bafb377905
In-text citation: (Murphy, 2018)