Set Specific Goals to Increase Business Success

Business Success Program: Lesson 2

Businessmen using cell phone in office
Working on setting goals in the office. Caiaimage/Lukasz Olek / Getty Images

Set Goals to Success!

What one change can you make to dramatically increase your success? Learn about goal setting and use specific goals in all your business planning. Goals need to be specific if we have any chance of accomplishing them. Establishing specific goals sets us up for success rather than failure.

Setting Specific Goals

A success goal is a specific goal, a goal that incorporates an action plan outlining how you will achieve the goal and a performance measure that tells you whether you were successful or not.

This is the goal setting formula for ensuring that you're setting a specific goal:

"I will (goal + performance measure) BY (specific actions)."

The performance measure in the goal is often a date or a length of time, but it could be any objective criteria that you can use to determine whether or not you've accomplished the specific goal that you've set.

Suppose your objective is to lose weight. An example of a specific goal to help you meet this objective is:

"I will lose 10 pounds in two months BY running on a treadmill for half an hour six days a week."

Setting Goals for Business Success

Before you can set specific goals designed to increase your business success, you need to know what you mean by success. I personally think that success means enjoying what you do, to the point that your work energizes you and creates happiness that spills over to your personal life. But what does "increased business success" mean to you?

Perhaps it is to start a home-based business to improve your work-life balance and have more time to spend with your family, or having more energy to tackle your many tasks. Is it becoming more professional and developing more confidence so you can sell your product or service more successfully or try something new?

Or is it making your business more environmentally friendly, or improving your customer service?

Examples of Specific Goals to Success 

Depending on what the purpose of your goal setting exercise is, you might decide to set specific goals such as:

To improve your work-life balance -  "One month from now, I will spend entire weekends with my family BY reorganizing my work schedule and learning how to delegate."

To get a small business loan to start your business - "I will develop enough confidence to present my business plan to the bank BY faithfully completing every assignment in the Business Success program."

To actively promote your business - "I will implement some low-cost ways of promoting my business, including creating a social media plan."

To improve your small business's bottom line (and make more money) - "I will cut my business costs by 10% this quarter."

For more ideas for setting achievable goals to success, see Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Business Success.

Goal Setting Tips

Business success isn't just a matter of a healthy bank account; think about what you really want to accomplish, no matter how outlandish it seems at first thought and set your specific goals accordingly.

(Think of Elon Musk, for instance, and his goal of establishing a human settlement on Mars. It seems outlandish now, but he's set the goals and is working towards it.)

A goal doesn't have to be sweeping to be valuable; small goals are worth working on, too, because they can lead to big changes. For instance, "One month from now, I will work three hours less a week BY becoming better organized", is a perfectly acceptable specific goal.

Use this same specific goal setting formula in all your business planning, and you'll quickly see an increase in the number of goals you accomplish - and more success!

Goal Setting Related Reading

Goal Setting: Your Guide to Setting Goals You Will Accomplish

10 Goal Setting Tips

Use This Action Plan for a Small Business Makeover 

Homework Assignment: Goal Setting

Practice setting specific goals by determining how you want your work schedule to be different one month from now.

Look back over your weekly activity record from Week 1 and evaluate your work schedule. Are there activities that you feel you spend too much time on or activities that aren't there because you didn't have time to do them? These are important clues to possible changes you might want to make to improve your business success.

Think about what business success truly means to you, and what you hope to achieve four weeks from now. Then write down two specific goals, following the formula laid out above, starting with, "One month from now, I will..."

You can create more than two goals if you wish, but if you do, choose only two of the specific goals you've created to focus on over the next four weeks. Too many goals will be distracting.

Continue on to Business Success Lesson 3: How to Delegate