Welcome back to our Small Businesses Marketing Guide! In this section, we’ll talk about setting realistic goals and objectives, an important step in creating a successful marketing strategy.
Setting goals and objectives helps you define what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts, and provides a roadmap for how to get there. Here are some steps you can take to set realistic goals and objectives for your small business:
Start with your overall business goals
Your marketing goals and objectives should align with your overall business goals. Consider what you want to achieve in terms of revenue, customer acquisition, brand recognition, or other key metrics. Go big in this step and brainstorm goals you would like to achieve, even if they seem a bit ridiculous. While the next steps will have you refine the goals, it can’t hurt to challenge yourself with ideals of what you want the business to achieve. The more excited you are, the better the outcomes.
Be specific and measurable
Your goals and objectives should be specific and measurable, so you can track your progress over time. For example, instead of setting a goal to “increase sales,” set a goal to “increase sales by 10% in the next quarter.” There’s a difference between “I want to 100x my marketing investment in the first few months and sell 200 widgets with my first marketing campaign” and “I will shoot for a 15% conversion rate on my initial marketing campaign in the first 90 days and increase that to 25% by the end of 180 days.” Be eager yet reasonable.
Consider your resources
Your goals and objectives should be achievable with the resources you have available. Consider your budget, time constraints, and team capacity when setting your goals. You can’t do it all. Nobody can. And while you may have big dreams, time and money are finite resources that need to be wisely managed. Focus on what you’re good at and enlist help for the items you aren’t skilled at. Note that outsourcing the miserable parts of work isn’t necessarily the best option here, especially if you’re time rich and money poor. Outsource the work that will have the most impact on your business. For example, maybe balancing the books is doable yet you hate it. And it’d cost about the same for accountant help as it would for someone to manage a social media campaign you’d like to run that you don’t know how to do. And you can’t afford both. Maybe you suck it up and do your own books for a bit and hire out the social media help because that’s your best current option to generate leads.
Set a timeline
Your goals and objectives should be tied to a specific timeline, so you can track your progress and adjust your strategy if needed. Consider setting short-term goals (e.g. quarterly) and long-term goals (e.g. annual). One way to approach timelines is to work backward from a future goal, say your 1-year plan. Chunk that 1-year plan into manageable pieces and then create timelines for those pieces.
Make your goals challenging but realistic
Your goals should push you to strive for excellence, but they should also be realistic and achievable. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and burnout.
Here are some tips for setting realistic goals and objectives for your small business:
- Prioritize: Set goals and objectives that align with your most important business priorities. Focus on the goals that will have the biggest impact on your business.
- Use data: Use data to inform your goals and objectives. Analyze your past performance and industry benchmarks to set realistic targets.
- Break it down: Break down your goals and objectives into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will make it easier to track progress and stay motivated.
- Get input from your team: Involve your team in the goal-setting process. They may have valuable insights and ideas that can help you set more realistic goals.
- Celebrate milestones: Celebrate when you achieve milestones along the way to your larger goals. This will help keep you motivated and energized.
Setting realistic goals and objectives is an important step in creating a successful marketing strategy for your small business. By starting with your overall business goals, being specific and measurable, considering your resources, setting a timeline, and making your goals challenging but realistic, you can set yourself up for success. Remember to prioritize, use data, break it down, get input from your team, and celebrate milestones along the way.