Whether you’ve just started your business, are conducting a yearly audit, or are in the thick of it, you need goals to ground you and keep your business strategy focused. But, knowing how to set those goals is a different story. 

There are many methods and approaches to goal setting and yet, often, small business owners find themselves with goals they have yet to achieve. This means they are making some fatal mistakes while setting their goals, and we want to help you avoid these pitfalls.

Here are the top goal setting mistakes small business owners make when it comes to setting goals for their business.

  • 📈 Setting too many goals can lead to overwhelm and failure; prioritize quality over quantity.
  • 💰 Avoid linking salary or bonuses directly to goal achievement to maintain motivation.
  • 🌟 Ensure goals are attainable by using methods like SMART or PACT.
  • 🔄 Stay flexible as circumstances change and adapt your goals accordingly.
  • 🎉 Celebrate small wins to stay motivated and focused on achieving overall business goals.

Setting too many goals

While setting goals you want to focus on where you want to be in the short and long term. You might find that there are so many things you want to accomplish, so you’re setting goals for all aspects of your life and business. If you are setting up too many goals for you to track and account for, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Remember to prioritize your goals and focus on the quality rather than the quantity. You want to end up with no more than 3 solid goals that help bring you to where you want to be within 6 to 12 months.

Connecting goals to your pay

You shouldn’t link your salary or bonuses to your achievements. With the exception of sales roles where that practice is appropriate, you don’t want your salary or bonuses to depend on how well you achieve your goals. Doing this will decrease your motivation, as goals often take time to achieve, and cause you to get frustrated. The best thing to do is to think of other ways to measure your progress and your success, for example a percentage increase or a number of new clients in a set amount of time.

Creating unattainable goals

One of the easiest goal setting mistakes to make is to set unattainable goals. If your goals are not specific enough, you may find them to be unrealistic. For example, if your goal is to bring in 50 new clients, a month, or even a quarter may not be a realistic timeframe. Using a goal setting method, like the SMART or PACT approaches, can help you focus yourself and make sure your goals are attainable.

Having a “one-track” mindset

You have to remember that you set your goals usually once a year, and a year can be a long time. Things can change and sometimes, you’ll have to show some flexibility in how you attain your goals. You may even find that your goals change entirely if you shift your focus in your business. Being open minded and accepting of these changes as they come will help you better plan your business strategy going forward and adapt your business as you grow.

Don’t forget to celebrate your progress

Another detrimental goal setting mistake is to only focus on the bottom line. Achieving your goal isn’t always black or white and learning to track your progress and celebrate the small wins is a surefire way to keep you motivated and determined to achieve your overall business goals.

When it comes to setting goals for your business, there are many mistakes you could be making. Use this list as a guide to help you focus your efforts and create truly effective goals that you can achieve and feel proud of yourself for doing so.