The Canadian entrepreneur’s guide to setting goals

7 min read
Leighton Burley

As we hurtle towards the end of 2020, a lot of people are thinking about how to goal set for 2021. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’ll want to set New Year goals now so that you can achieve your business goals in 2021.

By having clear goals, those long days of work will seem more rewarding because you’ll be able to see the progress that you’ve made. You’ll also be able to:

  • Stay focused on your big goals
  • Align your team (if any) with your business ideas
  • Create a clear path on how to achieve your goals for your business
  • Ensure that your business is working towards one common objective

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The Canadian entrepreneur’s guide on how to goal set

As the year winds down, it’s an excellent time for you to create New Year goals for your Canadian business. You’ll be able to take a respite from your busy work life and reset for the new year with new goals that can help your business be more successful.

Here are key tips for how to goal set for the new year.

1. Be clear about your priorities

One of the biggest challenges of operating a small business is that many tasks need to be done, but you don’t have the time or staff to complete all the jobs at once.

To overcome this obstacle, create a list of tasks that need to be completed and rank this list in order of priority.

Once you have a list of tasks and jobs that need to be completed, you’ll have the groundwork laid to begin your business's goal setting.

While a list of tasks and priorities is great for short-term goals and immediate needs, if you’re setting business goals that overarch the entire year, you’ll want to perform a SWOT analysis before setting the goals.

2. Perform a SWOT analysis

If you’re setting business goals for the long-term (over six months), you’ll want to perform a SWOT analysis. This exercise will help you be clear about your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

A SWOT analysis typically has four parts and has been known to be scrawled on napkins. The SWOT for a beauty salon, for example, might look like this:

Once you’ve performed this analysis, it will be easier to identify the tasks that need to be done in the new year. You can then prioritize this list of tasks, ranking them from most to least important, and turn them into goals for your business.

3. Set SMART business goals

After you've completed your analysis, you’ll be ready to begin goal setting for your business. When you’re setting goals for business, you’ll want to ensure that you’re setting SMART goals for your business.

Here’s what it means to set SMART business goals.

  • Specific goals - Make sure that your goals are specific and focused on an achievable outcome. If your goals aren’t specific, they may become vague and difficult for you to accomplish.
  • Measurable goals - When you’re setting goals, you should attach clear definitions of success to each goal. This will help you track and measure your goals to determine if you’re achieving your business goals.
  • Attainable goals - If you’re setting business goals, you should make them challenging for your team but also attainable. If you’re setting unrealistic goals, it can discourage you and your team.
  • Relevant goals - You’ll need to ensure that your goals are relevant to your main objectives. You know what needs to be focused on within your business, and your business goals should reflect this by being relevant to your business needs.
  • Timely goals - When you’re setting business goals, you’ll want to attach a finish time to them so that you know when your goals need to be accomplished. If your goals don’t have an end date, you’ll have no urgency to achieve your goals.

When you’re setting your SMART business goals, you’ll want to focus on what you want to achieve with your goals and why you want to achieve these goals.

This will help you clarify your primary objectives in business and provide the motivation you need to achieve your business goals.

As you’re setting the goals, you’ll also want to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so that you can keep track of your progress and ensure that you’re hitting the target. By setting KPIs, you’ll be able to measure your SMART goals.

4. Review the goals with your team (if any)

If you own a small business and have team members, you might want to include them in the goal-setting process. This will make the goals feel like a team effort, and they’ll be more inclined to achieve the goals they helped set. Additionally, it’ll help newer employees learn how to goal set for their future careers.

When you include your team in the process of setting business goals, you’ll also gain more opinions and perspectives. These different perspectives can be invaluable for a business owner who may have overlooked a certain area of their business.

After you’ve finished setting your business goals, you’ll want to review these goals with your entire business team. You should make sure that they understand the goals and know how to measure the goals' success. You should also ensure that your team believes in the goals and then set attainable time limits for each business goal.

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5. Make business habits that promote goals

When you set new business goals, it can be challenging to make the changes necessary to achieve your goals. To achieve business goals, you may need to remove business habits that prevent you from reaching your goals and replace those habits with habits that promote business goals.

You may want to brainstorm with your team and think of tasks that waste your time and don't promote your goals.

You can then eliminate those habits and build new habits that will help you move forward with your business.

If you want help with removing bad habits in your workplace, you can promote accountability to drive up your team's performance. By keeping yourself and your team accountable for achieving goals, you’ll be able to quickly identify any habits that are wasting your time and keeping you from achieving your business goals.

Hand-drawn note that says ‘make it happen’

How to achieve your New Year goals

We hope that this article has helped you understand how to goal set and achieve your business goals. Always make sure that you do a SWOT analysis so you have a firm handle on your best opportunities for growth (as well as any dangers to prepare for). You can then set SMART business goals and review them with your team so that they’re on board with achieving goals for the business.