SMART — Goal Setting For Entrepreneurs

Published in
3 min readMay 9, 2020


The start of a New Year is often the time when business owners and entrepreneurs turns their sights to setting new aims and objectives for the forthcoming year. In many cases entrepreneurs may also set personal goals, or wish to form new habits that will assist them to grow both personally and professionally.

However, when it comes to resolutions — over 35% of Brits fall off the wagon within 1 month, and 65% within three months. The same can be said for business goals — if they are poorly thought through or not explicit and clear they are likely to fall by the wayside quickly, and entrepreneurs can find themselves aimlessly getting on with business with no set objectives to aim for.

So, how can entrepreneurs set and follow up on goals that will allow their business to grow and flourish?

SMART goals

Most of us are familiar with SMART objectives, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based (with a deadline). However, there are steps to take before even setting these goals to ensure that they will be successful.

Do your Research

Many of us get excited when going through the goal setting process. We envision super-fast growth and expansion for our business, based on anecdotal evidence, possibly from another entrepreneur, or a friend in a similar industry.

For example, you’ve opened an online shop — a friend selling similar wares has seen business growth of 500% in six months, so you set your goals based on that right?

Wrong. Firstly, do you know how much they have spent on advertising? Is there e-commerce store website build better than yours? Have they built up a social media following? Are they already a trusted brand?

When setting goals for your business, make sure that your research is in-depth. You can get a lot of info from places such as Companies House to get the real picture on your competitor’s finances.

If the majority of your business is online you can also use online tools to get an idea of how their sites are performing, but again, do take into account the age of the company compared with yours.

Make Sure You Have a Way of Measuring In Place

It can be easy to fall into the trap of setting a goal, implementing the tactics to achieve it, and then simply failing to measure how it works. Think about it — you wouldn’t set a weight loss goal, and then not step on scales! Set up systems of measurement. If it’s increased sales through a specific promotion, make sure you have a plan of how to measure what sales come through that promotion. Maybe you have a customer retention goal. Will you be using a CRM to measure how many clients return?

If you offer a product or service always keep buyer personas in mind

Buyer personas are the key to the success of your business. If you lose focus on this, the chances are that your goals are likely to fail. Buyer personas are a simple and straightforward way of keeping in mind how your audience will behave.

When looking to define a new set of goals, it’s always worth revisiting your buyer personas, and refreshing where necessary.

Be prepared to refine your goals

Sometimes things change, and being inflexible in your goals will not only mean that they are pointless, but is also likely to de-motivate you. For example, the Brexit vote in 2016 hugely affected some industries as clients took a ‘wait and see’ approach in the run up to, and just after the vote, and therefore delayed their usual buying activities. This is a prime example of a time when there is a need to redefine your goals, based on prevailing external conditions.

Often it won’t be as straightforward as this, however, things happen — new competitors arrive, the economy slows unexpectedly, or any manner of changes, and your goals must be adaptable. By consistent monitoring and refining where needed, you can stay ahead, and make sure that your business thrives.

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Providing access to finance for black, ethnic minority and early stage entrepreneurs