Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re a seasoned pro, consistently reviewing and maintaining a wish list of long term business goals is imperative to your continued success. With so many personal and professional aspirations bobbing around your head it can be a bit intense choosing just a few to focus on. How do you know which will make the most meaningful impact considering your needs right now while also setting yourself up for that long term success you so desperately crave?
If you’re finding yourself waffling on which long term goals for your business to zero in on, here are the most common business objectives having the strongest impact on the success of growing a small business.
Increasing your sales should be on everyone’s list of long term business goals. After all, you didn’t go into business to break even every year. You want to make some money too! Year over year growth is one of the top variables in being able to determine if you are thriving or flailing.
Choose metrics that can be measured and pick a firm number. If your goal is to increase the number of clients you have by this time next year, set a monthly target giving you something to aim for. Alternatively, you may be more interested in boosting your bottom line, in which case you need to set a revenue target. Simply stating that you want your revenue to be larger than it was last year is not specific enough. Include an actual revenue number in your marketing plan to ensure you reach your goal.
Another long term business goal to throw in your marketing mix is to increase your brand awareness and name recognition. This isn’t something that happens overnight and it’s an ongoing process. But being easily recognizable in your community goes a long way in obtaining new customers and keeping current ones. You work hard for your money and so does the rest of the world. When making a purchase, people are more likely to spend that money somewhere they’re familiar.
Doing things like remaining consistent on social media, regularly participating in community activities and events and having a company logo that stands out will help you to reach that goal of having a recognizable brand for years to come.
Creating a Stellar Reputation
Long term goals for a business aren’t restricted to the financials. Building up street credentials in your industry should be on your radar from day one. Credible sources vouching for your business will help gain customer’s trust and direct new clients your way.
Reach out to industry bloggers or local businesses with services complimentary to your own. Playing well with others, getting the thumbs up from those already established in your market, is a launching pad for establishing your own reputation as quality organization.
Grow Social Media Following
These days, people get much of their information solely from what pops up in their daily social media feeds. If you don’t have a strong presence on multiple social media platforms, now is the time to change that.
Growing your social media following can take some time but the reach you receive is worth it. Starting out, focus on marketing via outlets you’re familiar with like Facebook or Instagram, for example. We wouldn’t suggest throwing in the added stress of figuring out a new platform when getting this started.
What’s next? Well, this isn’t an “If you build it they will come” scenario, so you need to promote your pages. Include “Follow” buttons on your website and blog, include links to your social media pages in your email blasts, and cross promote between the accounts.
For example, let’s say you’re running a weekly promotion. From your Facebook page, create a post announcing the fact that you’re running a promo and for more details, the follower would need to visit your Instagram page. Include a link to your IG post, require they follow you to receive the promo and voila, you’ve successfully driven more traffic to your second page and gained a new follower.
Get on the First Page of Google
This has been an elusive goal for many. Considering that on the first page of Google is where we typically see internationally recognized brands popping up, we can sometimes get the impression that it’s not in the cards for us small business owners. That’s simply not true.
Turning up on page one of a Google search is like getting a gold star from the internet. Less than 10% of people search any further than the first page, which is why it’s imperative to add this to your long term business plan. Having a website which is optimized for search engines and effectively using keywords within the site’s content are only a couple ways to get you top billing.
Host Promotional Events
Events may seem like they belong on the short-term goal list, but it really depends on what you’re measuring. If you’re looking purely at having executed a successful event, yes that is a short-term goal. But, events can have an effect on your long term business goals.
You could focus on one-off events or you may consider trying out a series of related events to accomplish several marketing goals including increasing awareness, boosting your revenue and strengthening your relationship with the customer. Maintaining the interest of the consumer over a long period of time, consistently getting them to show up, means that you’re bringing them value.
Each of these long term goals for a business will take time to implement. Some, like getting on the first page of Google or growing your social media following, may take a matter of months while other goals like increasing your sales and brand reputation may take a full year or more. The key is to have an effective marketing plan going in, setting realistic but challenging goals, and identifying the baby steps needed to get you there.