Guidelines for Setting Your 2016 Business Goals

January 4, 2016


Now that the holiday rush, closing out the “books” and spending quality time with loved ones is over, setting business goals for 2016 can get pushed to the back burner.  In fact, most businesses find that setting annual business goals doesn’t happen until we are well into the New Year.

Now that you’ve missed the end-of-2015-deadline, is it still a necessity to set goals?  Absolutely.

Think of these goals as a kind of G.P.S. for your business.  If you were traveling somewhere new, you wouldn’t just start driving and hope for the best.  The same applies to your small business: your goals will help guide you on the new adventure that is the year 2016.

Here are some tips for conceptualizing your small business goals:  


Be specific

If you aim for broad achievements, it’s hard to really visualize or measure their success.  Rather than aiming for a “Financially successful year,” establish the goal of “Improving revenues by 10 percent.”  Instead of looking to “Increase retail sales offerings in 2016,” set the goal of “Growing inventory to include 15 new products by the end of the year.”  These goals name a tangible target for success.


Include long-term and short-term goals

A great strategy when outlining business goals is to use short-term goals as part of long-term goal attainment. For instance: Your long-term goal may be to open a second business location.  To help achieve this goal, you can set smaller objectives such as growing your customer base by 20 new clients each quarter.  This will fuel the need and financial support for a second location. These objectives will also help keep you motivated in the short term.


Involve key players

Setting goals should not be a one-man show.  Whether you invite other key business members, employees, or partners from key business alliances, having another perspective can bring clarity to your goal setting. Employees may have valuable insight about shipping operations from their day-to-day tasks with which you may otherwise be unfamiliar.  Involving others will also make goal attainment more of a “team” effort.


Plan a timeline

In addition to setting short-term goals as means for measuring your success along the way, you will need to layout a timeline for meeting goals.  Deadlines will help you track your progress and ensure that you are heading in the right direction towards meeting goals in a realistic amount of time.


Be realistic

While you may want to double your revenues in the coming year (as most companies would), your year-over-year growth may tell you this is unlikely.  If you’ve only seen 15 percent growth in 2015, 50 percent growth may be setting yourself up for failure.  Try to find a healthy balance between what you’d like to see what and what is actually possible in 365 days.


Consider your mission statement

An integral part of setting business goals is aligning them with the overarching vision of your business.  If you deliver “Flexible cleaning services for busy families,” setting a goal to build your client base without also hiring more employees may not work.  While more clients would certainly grow revenues, you may not be able to offer the flexibility upon which your company has built its reputation.  Establishing attainable goals must always be done with the overall success of the company in mind.


Harvard Business School found that the top 3 percent of the most successful people write down specific goals, compared to the remaining 97 percent who do not.  Getting your business goals down on paper is incredibly important, even if 2016 has already commenced.

Aim high (but not too high) and good luck!


The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed.

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