typewriter with business goals

12 Examples of Small Business Goals, Plus How to Achieve Your Own

Setting business goals is one of those concepts that all business owners and managers know they should work on, but very few actually do.

The problem isn’t seeing the value of setting goals — we can all agree on that — but, rather, understanding how to get started and what to do next.

In this article, the experts at Sling discuss some of the more common business goals and how to go about setting — and achieving — your own.

Table of contents

Common small business goals

Calendar for business goals tracking

1) Cut costs

Every business can benefit from spending less. But not every business will go about it in the same way.

Common cost-cutting business goals include:

Your business may benefit from striving for one or two — or all — of these business goals, but you won’t know unless you take a good, hard look at the way your company operates.

We’ll discuss that concept a bit further in point one of the How To Set Your Own Business Goals section later on in this article.

2) Improve productivity

Like the cost-cutting business goal, improving productivity takes many forms and is often unique to your operation.

Your business may find more productivity from large-scale operational changes while, at the same time, benefit from more personal, individualized “tweaks” such as:

  • Harnessing the power of software
  • Working on challenging tasks in the morning when energy levels are highest
  • Making time for personal reflection
  • Taking breaks throughout the day
  • Focusing on things that matter
  • Avoiding multitasking
  • Planning the workweek before it starts

For more suggestions on how you can improve the productivity of your teams, check out this article from the Sling blog: How To Be Productive At Work And Home.

3) Hire high-potential employees

business goals meeting with employees and management

Hiring high-potential — and high-performing — employees can mean the difference between reaching your other business goals and coasting along without improvement.

Identifying high-potential employees is a priority that all HR departments should strive for, and consists of asking such questions as:

  • Are they autonomous?
  • Are they adaptable?
  • Are they persistent?
  • Are they self-aware?

Once you’ve identified — and hired — a high-potential employee, be sure to do everything you can to keep them working for your team.

That brings us to our next business goal.

4) Reduce employee turnover

It costs a lot to find and hire a new employee. Your business is better served by working to reduce employee turnover in order to keep the employees it’s got.

There are many ways to reach this business goal, including:

Find a combination of strategies that work to reduce turnover, and your HR department can turn their attention to other, more beneficial tasks.

5) Prevent employee burnout

Employee burnout — or just burnout for short — is mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that leads to a lack of enthusiasm, decreased motivation, and a general sense of displeasure with the job.

Preventing such brain drain is often high on most managers’ list of business goals, but few ever get around to addressing it.

Start by watching out for the signs of burnout, including:

  • Disengagement
  • Blunted emotions
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Decreased motivation

Then, once you’ve identified an at-risk employee, take steps to alleviate the burden and prevent full-scale burnout.

6) Increase profitability

Jar of coins with a plant in it

Profitability is the cornerstone — and the ultimate goal — of most businesses, but many managers may struggle with reaching the profitability they need to be successful.

Why? Because they might leave it up to chance rather than setting a business goal and focusing on the changes they need to make to get there.

There are many ways to try to increase profitability, including:

  • Cutting costs
  • Improving productivity
  • Reducing employee turnover
  • Expanding market share
  • Eliminating nonessential processes
  • Lowering business taxes
  • Decreasing waste
  • Sticking to a budget
  • Reducing overhead

The list goes on and on, but even with so many options, it may still take some time to reach the profitability numbers you’d like.

Don’t let that deter you. Make a plan, be patient, and keep working toward the goal.

7) Improve customer service

Customer service can often be one of those components that fly under the business radar because it lacks the flash and immediate impact of some of the other goals on this list.

But don’t let that fool you. Improving customer service may be one of the best ways to improve the overall operation of your business.

A strong customer service program can help your business maintain a stable income level through customer loyalty and the addition of new clientele.

With a stable income base to work from — and a good reputation for treating your customers right — reaching your other business might come just a bit easier.

8) Create core values

Your company’s core values are embodied and described in its mission statement and vision statement. At first glance, a mission statement and a vision statement may sound like the same thing. And, while they’re closely related, they explain different parts of your business.

A vision statement is the where of your business — where you want the company to be and where you want your customers, your community, and your world to be as a result of your product or service.

The mission statement, on the other hand, is the who, what, and why of your business. Think of your mission statement as a roadmap or action plan for making your vision statement a reality.

For more information on how to write a mission statement and express your core values, check out this article from the Sling blog: How To Write Your Ideal Restaurant Mission Statement + 15 Inspiring Examples.

9) Grow the business

Growing the business is often at the top of most owners’ and managers’ lists. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s one of the pillars of success.

If a part of your company isn’t growing in some way — even very slightly — the entire organization may run the risk of sliding backward.

When you set this as one of your business goals, don’t restrict yourself to external factors like growing your customer base (though this is certainly important).

Instead, think about growing your business from within as well by analyzing and improving aspects like:

  • Resource allocation
  • Financial control
  • Personnel development
  • Recordkeeping
  • Process management

If you focus on both the internal and external aspects of your business, you might find even more ways to make it grow.

10) Find financing opportunities

Man holding cash in hand for business goals

While you’re in the midst of running your operation, it can be hard to focus outward and identify the financing opportunities your business needs to grow.

In many cases, the first step toward gaining the financing you need is making a commitment and setting a goal to seek it out.

Once you’ve got the goal in mind, it serves as a framework for your actions and a motivation to keep searching, pushing, and stretching for the financing sources you need to take your business to the next level.

11) Achieve marketing milestones

Marketing is a big part of what makes your business successful, so setting a goal to achieve certain milestones is well worth your time.

Whether you’re focusing on traditional marketing (e.g., print, radio, and television), social media marketing, or even guerilla marketing, putting in the time and energy to dial in your advertising can often pay off in the long run.

For ideas and advice to help you reach your marketing and business goals, take a few minutes to read these articles from the Sling blog:

12) Become more eco-friendly

Becoming more eco-friendly is a lofty goal that all businesses should strive for, and even small steps can make a huge difference for the environment.

Implementing and executing eco-friendly policies, procedures, and practices is not only fulfilling for your employees — which is a great morale booster — but it’s also great for your brand image.

Because there are so many similar products on the market these days, customers often make the decision to purchase one over the other based on variables like where the product is made and how much recycled material the business uses.

If you’re struggling for ways to meet this business goal, consider one or all of these options to get you started:

  • Go paperless
  • Organize a carpool program
  • Offer incentives if employees use mass transit to get to work
  • Install motion detectors to control lighting in less-traveled areas of the office
  • Switch from paper towels to hand dryers
  • Reduce food waste
  • Recycle

Don’t feel like you have to go full-bore right away. Make the changes that feel right to you, and then look for additional ways to create an eco-friendly organization.

How to achieve your own business goals

business goals tracking system

1) Examine your business

The first step in setting business goals is to perform a thorough examination of the way your company works.

Investigate all levels of operation including:

Get familiar enough with the active processes and procedures at each level that you can see ways to adjust and modify how things work for the better.

2) Identify what you want to accomplish

With a full understanding of your business, you can now identify what you want to accomplish.

If, for example, you discover that there are issues with the C-suite structure and function, you can set a goal to revise and streamline the way these employees work.

Or, if you see room for improvement in the way your front-line employees operate, you can set your sights on refining the way they work.

3) Create measurable business goals

Tracking business goals

Sometimes, it’s tempting to set general goals, such as “provide better customer service” or “have more fun with the team.” Those are excellent business goals, but they’re too subjective to be of any real use.

How do you know if your team is providing better customer service? How do you know if they’re having more fun?

The best way to set goals that work is to make them measurable. Once you know how you want to quantify them, you can assign a target number so it will be more objective and less up to interpretation.

For example, you might set a goal to reach a 30% increase in customer satisfaction through the last six months of the year.

With a measurable target like this, you can quickly and easily see whether your business has achieved its goals or not.

4) Put together a strategic plan

Once you’ve created your specific business goals, it’s time to compose a strategic plan to get you there. Start by creating a written document that details the steps and processes your business needs to reach the goals you’ve set.

Be as detailed as possible, but also be willing to go back and change the plan if you see that something isn’t working or if someone has a better idea.

5) Allocate resources

After you’ve composed your strategic plan, use that information to allocate any and all resources necessary to reach the business goal.

Don’t overlook such variables as:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Manpower
  • Technology

All of these resources can have a dramatic effect on the success of your plans.

6) Gather your team and go to work

With your plans set and your resources dedicated to the task at hand, it’s time to assemble your team and go to work.

Assign individual tasks and set deadlines to adhere to the timeline you’ve established in your strategic plan. Once you’ve made the necessary changes to head in the right direction, get everyone involved.

While only a few individuals may be working toward a specific business goal, success depends on getting everyone in your business engaged and working toward the same end result.

Reach your business goals the SMART way

Flow chart for business goals tracking

Often, the most efficient and effective way to reach your business goals may be by using the SMART framework.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, the size of the organization, the number of employees, or the industry in which you operate, the SMART system can be a powerful tool.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Here’s how each one contributes to the success of the whole.


When setting business goals, make sure they’re specific. Making goals as specific as possible will help clarify everything that comes next and give you insight into which steps you need to take to reach your objective.

To test whether or not your goal is specific enough, ask yourself these questions:

  • What exactly do you want to achieve?
  • Why is the goal important to your business?
  • When will you start and finish?
  • Who will contribute to helping you achieve the goal?
  • Where will you work on this goal?
  • Which resources will you need?


There’s no way to know if you’re moving toward your goal or away from it — or even if you’ve reached it already — unless you establish some way of measuring progress.

That’s where the M in SMART comes in. Before putting your goal into action, create a set of metrics you can use as parameters for success and failure. These metrics should allow you to quantify your progress toward achieving the goal you’ve set.


Three people out celebrating their business goals

The A in SMART stands for attainable or, sometimes, achievable.

Whichever word you use, it means that it must be possible for you or your team to reach the goal in the time period that you set.

If your team lacks the support, the resources, the finances, the skills, or any of several other variables, their ability to achieve the goal can be seriously reduced.

Take the time to ensure that the objective is attainable by redirecting the necessary resources where they need to go to get the job done.


When setting your business goals and plotting the path to success, make sure the objective is relevant (or realistic). Building a relevant goal means that it’s not overly ambitious but is worth the time it’s going to take to get there.

If you set your sights too high, it can demotivate your team because they won’t see and experience the necessary progress to keep them motivated and on track.

That said, you can create an ambitious goal and keep your team engaged in the process by setting smaller goals — milestones — along the way that give your employees a sense of accomplishment and the drive to continue.


In terms of motivation, achievement, and success, an open-ended goal with no end date is just as demotivating as an overly-ambitious, irrelevant goal.

When planning the goals you want to reach, always abide by the T in SMART: timely, time-bound, time-based, or time-sensitive (choose your favorite).

Regardless of the term you use, it’s essential to set a deadline for your team’s activities. Establish a reasonable deadline — one that’s not too close but not too far away — and make sure everyone involved is aware of the date.

If you make the turnaround time too tight, you’ll likely put undue stress on those who are doing the most work.

On the other hand, if you make the turnaround time too broad, your team can lose sight of the overall progress against the background of their other day-to-day activities.

Conquer business goals with scheduling

Product roadmap for business goals

A significant part of conquering your business goals in a timely manner is assigning tasks to specific sub-teams or individual employees.

As the business owner or project manager, you’re going to need to coordinate the long-term activities of your team as well as their day-to-day work.

Without the ability to schedule effectively, you leave everything up to chance. That’s why tools like Sling are so important.

The Sling suite of cloud-based tools streamlines the scheduling process and helps you keep track of both the business goals you’ve set and the steps your team needs to take to reach those goals.

Try Sling for free and discover just how easy it is to streamline your operations and keep your business on the road to success.

For more resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. Contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.

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