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6 Small Business Goals to Set This Year + Free SMART Goals Template

6 Small Business Goals to Set This Year (+ Free SMART Goals Template)

The truth is you can set small business goals at any time throughout the year. So whether you’re reading this in January, June, or December, there’s no better time to start thinking about the goals that will help drive growth and efficiency for your small business and make your employees' and customers' lives easier. 

If you’re stuck for inspiration, here are 6 goals every small business should set to help get you started. There are also a few bonus tips for achieving said goals and a free SMART goals template you can download to help set realistic, achievable goals and track progress. 

You might notice “increase sales” isn’t on the list, and that’s because it’s a fairly common goal for most businesses. But if you check off even just some of the other small business goals on this list, you should notice those sales figures and profits increase as a result. (If you’re too overworked to think about that, you’ll love goal #3.)

Contents

  1. Boost brand awareness & increase your business's online presence
  2. Optimize customer experience
  3. Streamline business processes with automations
  4. Expand/diversify your company's offerings
  5. Improve company culture
  6. Reevaluate your budget & cut unnecessary expenses
  7. *BONUS* - Free SMART Goals Template

1. Boost brand awareness & increase your business’s online presence 

1 in 4 small businesses doesn’t have a website. Despite many people’s perceptions, setting up a website for your small business isn’t difficult. Thanks to no-code website builders like Wix or Squarespace, it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars for a developer, either. 

4.95 billion people have access to the internet, so boosting your business’s brand awareness goes hand in hand with increasing your online presence. Small business goals that can help with this include: 

  • SEO optimizing your website
  • Running paid ad campaigns on Google or Social Media 
  • Setting up a referral program to attract new customers using your most powerful resource, existing customers
  • Setting up profiles on social media platforms used by your target market 
  • Engaging with your customers on social media 
  • Creating an email nurture sequence to reengage customers and convert leads


2. Optimize customer experience 

The difference between a one-time buyer and a repeat customer often comes down to how good the customer experience is. “Good customer experience” varies slightly depending on your industry but can be summed up as being easy to transact with (online or in person) and offering clear value to customers at every stage of their buying journey. 

Short-term business goals that will help you optimize your customer experience include 

  • Reducing response times — Work on shortening the time it takes to respond to customer inquiries, booking requests, product questions/complaints, etc. 
  • Introducing online booking/eCommerce options (if applicable) — 77% of customers want to book and manage service appointments online, and 59% of consumers prefer to buy physical products online. For a better customer experience, make it easy for customers to transact with you online, or risk losing them to competitors who already have. 
  • Integrate digital payment processing into your online booking process — For service businesses, especially those offering in-home or mobile appointments, digital payment processing will save you a lot of headaches. You eliminate the need to chase invoices while simultaneously making the buying process simpler and more secure for your customers and the service providers who would otherwise have to deal with it. 

3. Streamline business processes with automations 

There’s a very high chance that you and your team are working harder than they need to trying to operate a business with suboptimal processes. Whether you’re handling payroll manually, taking bookings or orders over the phone (or worse, via a submission form that doesn’t give immediate responses), scheduling service providers by consulting multiple spreadsheets and lists, or manually processing payments and sending invoices, there’s an automation to handle it.

Automating recurring admin processes frees up time for your team (up to 32 hours a month), improves customer experience (see goal 2), and makes scaling your business easier. Alternatively, if your goal is just to have a better work/life balance, automations can help with that too. 

To avoid running 15 different software and spending your newly acquired free time monitoring them all, look for a business automation software that provides an all-in-one solution. For service businesses offering in-home and mobile appointments, there’s MarketBox. For businesses in the computer software industry, there’s Workato. And for eCommerce businesses, Shopify supports several apps to help simplify and automate business processes. 

Book a call with the team today to learn more about how MarketBox can help automate your in-home service business. 

4. Expand/diversify your company’s offerings 

One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is staying current in this rapidly changing market. Customer demands are changing, and consumers are pushing for more flexibility than ever before. 

A good goal for small businesses to set every year is to examine current offerings (both what you offer and how you offer it) and see how it fits in with the current trends within your industry.

For example, within the services industry, there’s been a significant uptake in customers looking for companies offering in-home appointments. Customers no longer want to travel for swim lessons, massages, therapy sessions, private tutoring, vet checkups, physical therapy, etc. They want it in their home and at a time that works for their schedule. 

With that in mind, a small business goal for service businesses should be to start offering in-home appointments. But for companies in other industries, it could be diversifying your product line, expanding into new markets, providing eCommerce options, etc.  

5. Improve company culture 

Often business goals are centered around the bottom line — increase sales, reduce overheads, grow profits, etc. What’s often overlooked are cultural goals. 

For small businesses, setting a goal to improve company culture could have far-reaching consequences. But if you’re familiar with the idea of SMART goals, you’ll know that “improve company culture” isn’t particularly specific. So here are some ideas of smaller business goals to set that will, in turn, help improve company culture. 

  • Check-in with employees monthly 
  • Collect and action feedback from employees quickly and efficiently
  • Implement new well-being strategies to prevent burnout and improve morale 
  • Reduce staff turnover by creating a positive work environment, offering competitive wages, and recognizing employee achievements

  

6. Reevaluate your budget & cut unnecessary expenses   

While growing sales is a good way to bring in more money, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to save money if you never evaluate your business outgoings. But before you start slashing business expenses, be mindful of the impact any changes could have on the quality of your product or service. 

A safe bet is to examine the software you use to operate your business. Set a short-term business goal to audit all your subscriptions and ensure you’re not paying for overlapping software, e.g., a separate payment processor because you didn’t realize your booking software had an integrated payments feature. If you’re running multiple software, now is a good opportunity to see if there’s an all-in-one option on the market that could replace some of your individual software and save you both time and money. 

On the flip side, if you’re not using software to operate your business, are you spending more than you need to doing things manually or missing out on opportunities due to inefficiency?

Rather than overwhelming yourself with a long list of small business goals you’ll never have time to implement, start with a short list of the ones that will have the most significant impact and add more as you check them off. Break each goal into actionable steps, give yourself a timeline, and check in on progress regularly. For more information on setting realistic goals for your business, check out our article on SMART Goals. And if you got this far and all you wanted was the free business goals template, here it is!

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