What are you working towards in your small business?

By Bob Weir,  December 8, 2015

A key part of the development of strategy is the long-term goal for your business. You need to ask yourself ... "Where do I want my business to be in three to five years?”

Every person starting a business should have some idea about how they will exit the business. That is, you should have the end in mind at the beginning of the business’ life.

Be audacious about your goals. They should stretch and challenge you. Someone external to your business may see potential you don’t so ask a credible third party to challenge you on what is possible. Hopefully it will inspire you.

Without a longer-term goal you will simply be drifting along as the years fly past.

Once you established a goal for the next few years you can work back to a one-year goal and then even closer to, say, the next three months. This allows you to define shorter-term targets and goals.

Your views could change, or other opportunities could arise. Strategy and goal setting are not static processes.

In a rapidly moving world, goals will need to be reviewed and strategic shifts may be required as the years pass. Goal setting is never a static process.

Everybody has a plan until they get
punched in the mouth.
— Mike Tyson

Those punches will come so be prepared to revisit your goals.

Common generic goals for Under 5 small businesses

While all businesses are unique, the strategies that many Under 5s pursue are likely to be covered by one of a number of generic goals. These generic goals are a helpful starting point to help define your own goal. You may decide your goals are a combination of these generic goals. That’s great.

No single generic goal can be looked upon as being more or less successful than the other. You decide what goal fits your needs at that time in your business’ life.

 The following are the most common goals you will come across for Under 5s.

  • I want to maintain the business, but make it a little more profitable.
  • I want to start-up a new business.
  • I want to buy an existing business.
  • I want to grow the business significantly.
  • I want to hand-over the business to someone else.
  • I want to sell the business, in part or in full.
  • I want to close the business and do something else.

Look at these and see if they assist in providing greater clarity on your own goals. This is not a process to rush. If, for example, you decide that you want to sell as you have had enough, be cautious about rushing into such decision. You may live to regret it.

Write down your goals

It is one thing to decide on your goals. It is quite a different thing to deliver on them. The first thing to do is write down your goal. Once you have done this you can start writing down some actions to deliver the goals.

“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down,
you do not have a goal - you have a wish.”
— Steve Maraboli