What are your goals for starting a business?
Why is it that you want to start a small business? Money? Fame? Personal freedom? Ego gratification? Retirement income? Inability to get rehired or retrained? Discomfort with larger organizations? If someone were to ask you why you’re going into business for yourself, what would you say?
For many people, it helps to translate expectations and desires into concrete terms by setting long-term goals. We’ve organized these into three broad categories: economic goals, personal goals, and retirement goals. We’ll discuss each of these in detail.
You should also remember that while it’s good to have long-term goals, such as getting the business off the ground and helping it grow, you also need to set short-term goals relating to the formation of your business. Your short-term goals should be realistic and achievable. Examples include:
It will be important psychologically in those chaotic first months to be able to feel that you’re making some progress. Short-term goals can help you achieve those small but crucial victories.
Get clear on the goals you want to prioritize
One of the biggest challenges in any business is that everything needs to be done at the same time. You need to find new clients, keep your existing clients happy, manage your finances, streamline your processes, and motivate your employees—all at the same time.
Based on the SWOT analysis, pick three priorities to create goals for:
Please note: These aren’t actually goals yet! They are your key areas to focus on. After you’ve discussed them with your team—which we’ll cover next—you’ll be turning them into SMART goals (specific, measurable goals) to make sure that you’ll take action on them.
1. Prepare for Emergencies
Rick is a thoughtful fellow. A great planner and professional money manager savvy in methodology, Rick decided that he needed a business interruption insurance policy and so bought one 20 years ago. When Covid hit, like so many people, Rick’s business dried up, almost overnight. People were not looking to invest in March of 2020. But fortunately, Rick was ready. His policy kicked in, paying him 75 percent of his pre-Covid revenue for more than a year.
Yes, a once in a hundred-year pandemic is a, well, once in a hundred-year event. But other emergencies do occur. Bad things happen to good businesses—fires, floods, riots, earthquakes, theft, and more. So getting the right sort of insurance is simply smart business.
2. Go Green
There is no need for a deep dive on the need for us all to do our part, but let’s also just add that from a business perspective, customers increasingly appreciate, and patronize, shops, stores, and other businesses that make sustainability a priority. Climate change is affecting us all and letting the public know that you are doing your small part can pay huge dividends in good will, customer appreciation, and employee satisfaction and retention.
1. Improve Company Culture
A business’ culture is usually a top-down thing. That is, the ways, values, and work ethic of the founders usually sets the tone for how the overall business is run and what the company culture is like.
That said, in a Covid world, where so many people are still working remotely, maintaining the positive corporate culture is ever more difficult. More than ever, your business needs strong, competent, compassionate, and responsive leadership. Your team needs you and your management team to be at the top of your game. Compliments, positive feedback, constructive criticism, authenticity, kindness, bonuses, incentives–they all can make a difference, especially now.
Think about it: After the past few years, many employees are tired, frustrated, and fed up. That is the basic reason for the so-called “Great Resignation.” Given that, it just makes sense that improving your business’ company culture can have real, lasting, valuable, and positive benefits–for both the business itself as well as your team.