goal setting setting goals small businessIn a previous post we talked about how important it is to plan and keep taking risks in business. A big part of planning is goal setting; in fact, the two are so intimately linked, it’s impossible to really do one without the other.

In our Small Business Management Course our students learn how to create a marketing plan, financial plan, and eventually, a business plan, and at each point of the planning stage, they’re asked to set goals that they’d like to achieve in their business. So we thought we’d talk a little abut goal setting, and why it’s so important to keep setting goals for yourself.

Short-Term Goals vs. Long-Term Goals

When you first start your business, you’ll probably have a number of goals that will help to get your business off the ground, but as time goes on it’s important that you keep setting goals for yourself that are both long and short term.

We’ve found that it’s easier to set goals if you think with the end in mind and work your way backwards. If you’re bookkeeper, for example, and your ultimate business goal is to work with a large accounting firm in your local area, set that long-term goal first, then think about what steps you would need to take to achieve that goal.

This is why we said that goal setting is so closely related to planning, because in a way, this process of setting goals becomes a lot like writing a recipe in reverse. Each short-term goal you set should help you achieve you long-term goals, which is important so you can track and measure you progress later.

The more detail you include when you’re setting your goals, the easier they will be to achieve. Everyone is different, but some people prefer to drill right down with their goals and almost create a day-to-day list of tasks they need to complete, which filters into a set of weekly goals which filters into a set of monthly goals, and so on.

Milestone Achieved? Indulge Yourself!

Once you achieve a certain number of goals, or reach a particular milestone in your business, reward yourself – give yourself a much-needed break from work, for example. A small reward here and there is motivating, and it’ll encourage you to keep pushing on and achieving those goals. If you don’t, you risk becoming burned out and that’s incredibly demotivating, not to mention, detrimental to your progress.


If you plan on being successful in business, you need to start setting goals for yourself. If you haven’t given much thought to setting short term goals that will help you achieve your long term goals, give it a go now.

Start writing down some things down that could form your short-term business goals. It doesn’t matter where you write them – you can download a productivity app for your phone, or create a document on your computer, or write them on a whiteboard. Just write them down!