Setting Short Term Business Goals
for your business Plan

Setting short term business goals can be a lot more difficult than creating a ten year-vision of your future because we have to mesh your big picture vision with the realities of the available resources of time, money, experience as well as the business climate that you are in.

To get your short term business goals right, you first need to

  • Have a good idea about where you want to be in the long term read more
  • Be realistic with where you are starting from, and what you have learned from your past experiences

After all, the shortest distance between point A and point B is well, the shortest distance between two points--- and right now the only point we have is the destination.

Ever tried giving directions to someone who doesn’t know where they are? Same thing applies when it comes to short term business goals. Think about them as mile markers between where you are now and your final destination.

I am here

Take a good look at where you are now and where you have been. Without this critical step you are unlikely to benefit from past experiences and integrate the lessons you have learned from both success and failure.  In considering the following questions lets really take a close look at your habits, your fears your limiting beliefs and the things that distract you, because acknowledging a problem is the first step in making a change.

Take Inventory of your situation

Inventory the good, the bad and the ugly:

  • What are the personal and business strengths you bring to the table?
  • What are the weaknesses?
  • What are the opportunities you have now?
  • What are the threats?

minimize likely threats

After you have done the above exercise, go for a nice long walk.

When you come back make a list of the 10 most likely threats/ weaknesses that would stop you from reaching your goals. Next to each one, create a strategy to prevent that from happening. If you can't prevent it from happening, strategize how you can manage the risk and minimize the effects on your business if it did happen. For example, you can't prevent a hurricane, but you can buy insurance, shutter the windows and stock up on extra supplies.

Leverage opportunities

List your top ten strengths and/or opportunities and next to each one, strategize how you can leverage it.  Put a * next to the five that have a combination of the highest return and likelihood of success. 

Go for another long walk or give yourself a break before sitting down for the next step of  breaking your vision down into realistic short term business goals. 

Benchmark your Short Term Business Goals

It’s kind of hard to follow a roadmap if you never see a road sign. Without benchmarks along the way, you could easily make a wrong turn and get miles off track before even realizing that you have been traveling in the wrong direction for days, weeks, even years.

Go back to step one and review your ten-year goals. Then work backwards to set realistic 5-year, 2-year, 1-year, 6-month, 90-day and 1-month and 1-week goals.

Examples of Business Goal Setting

Say for example you are just starting out and have a 10-year revenue goal of 10 million dollars.

  • Logically your 5-year goal might be $5 million dollars and your 1-year goal might be $1 million.

The problem with THAT logic is that it is a lot quicker and easier to get your business from $1 million to $10 million in top line revenue then what it will be to get to the $1 million mark. Depending on the type of business you have, the first $100,000 might be the hardest hurdle. That is because you have not yet developed the systems in place to scale your business and you are probably doing most of it solo.

If you are just starting out, take a realistic look at what your survival income needs to be and make that level consistently your first short-term business goal.

If you have been in business for a while, you have a better idea of what is possible. Set your goals so that they stretch you -- but not too much. Having coached people in setting long-term and short term business goals for over two decades, I find that if people consistently miss their goals, it erodes their self confidence which can have a devastating effect. 

Focus on systems that you can put in place rather than ideas or transactions. These include databases, marketing systems, sales systems, hiring, training, customer communication, etc.

Examples of "System" Goals for business Planning

Systems streamline your business and can make your business more scalable so that when you get beyond your break-even point you can grow quicker without losing control of things.

  • Set up/ clean up customer database and CRM system
  • Establish customer communication/ hiring/ employee communication policies and procedures.
  • Create a document about "Frequently Asked Questions" from prospective customers for employees
  • Establish a "positioning" document that differentiates you from your competition and defines your niche. Include what you do, how you do it and "why you."
  • Write or review employee policies and procedures

As you work through your short term business goals, consider what you need to be happy, to feel balanced and at peace. This could include stuff like exercise, communion with nature, spirituality, learning, social interactions, hobbies and so on.

If you don't make the journey part of the fun, your short-term business goals could burn you out and you don't want that.  What do you need to feel your best,  enjoy harmonious relationships? What is the best rhythm for your life? It doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be what fulfills you. After looking at your personal needs, revisit your short term business goals ask yourself:

  • Are they relevant to the business you have now and reasonable in time-frame?
  • Are they realistically feasible?
  • Have you taken your other life goals into account. 

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