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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 16 December 2022
  • Tiff Carey

Four Steps to Small Business Goal-Setting in 2023

People who set goals are 10x more likely to succeed than people who don’t. And at first glance, setting goals for your small business seems like an easy task. After all, it’s simply thinking about what you want out of your business and then working towards achieving those things. But making sure your goals are realistic, actionable, and achievable for everyone can be tricky.

business partners review data for plan

If you want to set effective and actionable goals, follow these four simple steps.

Step 1: Clarify your Goals 

There are several ways to nail down what goals you want to hone in on for your small business. One example is using the SWOT analysis method. S.W.O.T. is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It allows you to analyze several areas of your business simultaneously and makes prioritizing your goals manageable.

Based on your analysis, choose three to five goals. Setting too many goals will scatter your focus and hinder your ability to make quality progress. Goal-setting success rests on staying laser-focused on just a few goals. Think quality over quantity.

Step 2: Create a Tactical Plan

Once you’ve identified the most important goals, it’s time to break them down into steps. To do this effectively, ensure your goals are SMART goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Running your priorities through this process ensures that they aren’t vague or general and allows you to fine-tune a plan of action.

Use a goal map or process chart to help you see all the steps involved in achieving your top goals and identify where each step fits into the overall timeline. This type of visualization keeps everything organized and makes it easier to see where you might need support from others. And if you’re sharing your small business goals with your team, a goal map gives everyone guidance when deciding how best to contribute their time, effort, and expertise.

Step 3: Stay Focused on What You Can Control

Rising interest rates, an escalated supply chain crisis, and category four storms are occurrences out of a small business owner’s control. When you focus on the things in your realm of influence, such as improving customer service, increasing average sales, and lowering employee attrition versus those that aren’t, you increase your chances of a positive goal outcome while decreasing your level of stress or anxiety.

Step 4: Be Flexible with Your Goals

Sometimes, the things you can’t control can blindside one of your goals. A hurricane hinders production and shipping, so orders get canceled. That scenario won’t help you achieve your goal of increasing your revenue by 25%. So it’s okay if you adjust your goals as you go. You may need to tweak part of your goal map or add a new goal to the process.

Remember that if your goals become unachievable because of outside circumstances, you’ll most likely feel disappointed or lackluster about your goals overall. Make sure you recognize the external event is the catalyst for change. Reevaluate, reassess and move forward.

Goals are a great way to set yourself up for success, but they’re only as good as the actions that follow them. Plan the work and then work the plan, and you’re on your way to a successful 2023.

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