Growth is an important and necessary strategy for any small business. But recognising its critical importance is a far cry from understanding how to achieve it. 

This is where setting small business growth goals comes into it. In this guide, we’ll help you understand what a growth goal should be for a business, why they are important and help you set practical, valuable and insightful goals to help your business grow sustainably. 

What is a Small Business Growth Goal?

A growth goal can be defined as a specific and measurable objective that will help propel your business forward.

The goal should be oriented around providing you and your team with a directional approach to daily operations and ongoing investment. Whether your growth goal is to increase sales by a certain percentage or to expand your customer base to a new market or region, the key is that the goal must push your business beyond its current state and towards a more long-term objective.

Why are Growth Goals Important?

Running a small business is challenging. So why spend precious time and energy setting up growth goals?

There are several reasons why taking care in outlining specific and explicit goals is crucial for business success.

1. Direction and Focus

Your goals, together, should provide a roadmap for your business. By ensuring everyone in the business is working towards the same objective, and is aware of that objective, there will be unified direction and a consistent focus.

2. Motivation and Accountability

Goals provide you and your business with a yardstick for measuring performance and output. Having something to strive towards will keep your team motivated to work hard and try their best. Plus, it helps to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility. 

3. Decision Making

Having a clear and understandable set of goals helps leaders to prioritise certain initiatives and allocate resources effectively. Without the direction that well thought out goals provide, it can be difficult to make decisions that are in the best long term interests of the company.

4. Measurable Progress

Defined growth goals allow you to track your success and make any required adjustments along the way. Without the signposts that goals provide, it can be difficult to ascertain whether your current efforts are achieving their intended result and whether you are on the right track. 

How to Set Growth Goals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we have outlined the importance of growth goals for small business, let’s walk through effective goal setting.

Step 1 – Start with your vision

The first question to ask yourself is where you want to see your business in one, three or five years.

Knowing where you want to be will help you determine what goals will best help you get there. A small business without a clear vision may not be able to orientate itself around any coherent and consistent strategy.

Step 2 – Identify areas to improve

Now that you understand how you want your business to look in the future, you can assess its current state. You want to identify the key areas of your small business that should be improved to facilitate your intended and desired growth.

From sales and marketing to brand awareness and product development, take stock (no pun intended) of how your business is currently operating and how it can be enhanced.

Step 3 – Set goals using a SMART approach

You may have heard of SMART goals before. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It’s a framework that can be used to determine goals that will actually be effective for your business.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the approach.

SMART What it means
Specific Clearly define what you want to achieve. Avoid goals that simply state the intention to “grow sales” or “increase market share” as these are not specific enough.
Measurable Establish clear metrics to track progress.
Consider how you will know whether and when your goal is achieved.
Attainable Your goals need to be ambitious but realistic as well. Consider your resources and market conditions for this aspect.
Relevant This is where your long term vision comes in. Do your goals contribute to that overall vision and strategy?
Time-bound Make sure to set a specific time-frame for achieving your goal.

Step 4 – Break down your goals

Once you have your goals in hand, it’s time to outline the strategy by which you intend to achieve them. Divide your goals into smaller and actionable steps.

This will ensure that the approach is manageable and keep you motivated, accountable and guided in the pursuit of your goals.

Step 5 – Track progress and review regularly

Small business goals are not set in stone. You should be continuously tracking progress towards your goal and review results regularly.

Should any adjustments need to be made due to a change in the business or marketplace this will give you the opportunity to do so.

Growth Goals: An Example

Let’s take a closer look at an example of a well-defined growth goal for a business.

Goal: To increase online sales of Product X by 20 per cent by the end of the next quarter.

What makes this a strong and SMART goal?

  • It is specific: It outlines what is going to increase, by how much, and by when.
  • It is measurable: How many sales have been processed online of Product X?
  • It is attainable: Increasing sales by 20 per cent might be ambitious but it is not unachievable.
  • It is relevant: Increasing sales for a specific product will increase revenue and assist your small business’s growth.
  • It is time-bound: A clear three-month timeframe establishes urgency and accountability.

With a goal like this in mind, you and your team will be best positioned to outline a series of strategic steps moving forward. From investing in marketing to re-designing your eCommerce platform–you now have a goal to work towards.

ScotPac – Assisting The Growth Of Small Businesses For Over 35 Years

ScotPac has been providing small businesses across industries with customisable financial solutions to help them achieve their growth goals for over 35 years.

With more than 8,000 businesses currently supported across our offices, our lending specialists have the experience and expertise to fuel your company’s growth.

To find out more about our financial solutions or to discuss your business’s growth goals, make sure to get in touch with your local ScotPac office today.