Creating a successful business takes clarity of purpose and determination. You’ve got to understand your product, your customers, and yourself. For aspiring entrepreneurs, this can sometimes be overwhelming. That is why new and aspiring entrepreneurs need to have clear goals to pursue.
Goals serve as benchmarks against which we measure progress, pivot directions, and maintain momentum. For the aspiring entrepreneur, goals are precise targets that, when hit, unlock the potential of the business idea. While every aspiring entrepreneur should set a goal to create a business plan and research their market, those are not the only goals you should set if you are a new entrepreneur.
Many new entrepreneurs get stuck on the types of goals they should be trying to achieve. This is understandable because, in business, there are an endless number of targets to shoot for. However, if you are just starting, there are some key business goals you may want to consider setting. In this article, we’ll look at 7 examples of goals when starting a new business.
One of the biggest challenges for aspiring entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting a business is just that, they keep thinking about starting a business. While launching a business is not something you should rush into, waiting too long means that you miss opportunities and waste valuable time.
That’s why beginning the process of starting a business should be a primary goal for aspiring entrepreneurs. This process can be somewhat quick or lengthy depending on the type of business you start. However, each step takes you closer to the goal of launching.
If you know for sure that you are not yet ready to launch, you can still take steps in that direction. Here are some things you can do to move forward:
- Come up with ideas that fit your skills and resources
- Research each idea for validity
- List ways to fund your business
- Recruit possible partners or co-founders
- Purchase a domain name for your business
- Start social media profiles
All of these things can be done before you actually launch your business. Doing them while you’re still thinking about launching will get you ahead when you finally make the big decision.
Find Your Target Audience
Before you can offer a product or service, you have to know who it’s for. Finding your target audience means researching demographics, preferences, behaviors, and pain points. What are their needs? Where do they spend their time? What solutions are they actively seeking?
When you know who your product is for, you can better tailor your product for that audience. The goal here isn’t just identification but comprehension – understanding your audience’s nuances can be the difference between a product that sells and one that sits on the shelf.
Launch a Website
Launching a website is pretty much the same as opening the doors of your storefront to a global audience. However, it’s not about just having a website but about creating a digital platform that truly represents your business.
Begin with a clear vision: What is the primary purpose of your site? Is it for e-commerce, a portfolio showcase, or informational purposes? The purpose of the site will always shape its design and functionality. For example, if you are a consultant or someone selling yourself as an expert in your field, you may want to have images of yourself giving presentations. You may also have client testimonies clearly displayed where website visitors can see them.
That is a much different approach than an e-commerce website that should predominantly display its top-selling products or promotions. The temptation for many new entrepreneurs is to try to find the perfect design and layout before launching the website. However, it is much more important that you launch a functioning website and change, update, and customize it over time.
Make Your First Sale
One of the best feelings as a new business is making your first sale. Without sales, a business is just a hobby. That is why making your first sale validates that you have a potentially sustainable business on your hands. Having the first sale or few sales should be a goal of any aspiring business owner even before they launch a business.
Depending on your type of business, the way you approach this varies. If you are launching your ecommerce store, you may find that making your first sale can take some time. Conversely, if you are an eBay reseller with a popular item, you have the potential to make your first sale within days of launching. eBay being a marketplace with built-in customers presents the possibility of someone finding your items. With your store, you would be responsible for driving traffic to your site.
Regardless of your type of business, new and aspiring entrepreneurs should focus on making those first few sales. During that process, you will learn more about your product, marketing channels, and who your customers are. You will also gain valuable experience and a shot of motivation knowing someone finds value in what you have to offer.
Spend 7%-8% on Marketing
On average, businesses should spend about 7%-8% on marketing. However, most only spend around 3%-5%. While starting a new business can be costly, not putting the right amount of funds into marketing may hurt your business in the long run.
New businesses tend to struggle with gaining traction. This means that, since people are not familiar with the brand, they may be hesitant about doing business with it. When allocating marketing dollars, the goal should be to gain as much exposure as possible to your target audience. As we mentioned before, your target audience is the group of people most likely to buy your product. If your marketing efforts pay off, you will be able to gain traction with your core audience.
This will hopefully lead to more organic exposure via review sites, social media engagement, and word-of-mouth marketing.
Save 3-6 Months of Expenses in Savings
Running a business is just as much about managing money as it is about making it. A big part of money management is having funds in reserve that a business owner can use in case of emergencies or to reinvest in the business. One of the goals in starting a new business should be to put money away in savings.
A good goal would be to save 3-6 months of expenses in savings. While this is usually hard to do for a self-funded business, a new business must have some reserve funds to keep the venture going while in the startup stage. 6 months of business savings may not be a realistic goal for a new business. However, you can start with just one month and continue to build a savings habit as your business grows.
Continue Building Your Brand
Branding is the soul of your business. The brand of your business is its values, ethos, and the promise you make to your customers. Building a brand involves introspection, creativity, and strategy. Start by defining what your business stands for. What’s your mission? What values do you have that drive operations? Brand building takes time. So as a new business, this is something that you want to start doing right away.
Visual identity is a substantial part of branding. That includes your logo, color palette, typography, and imagery. All of those elements should consistently reflect your brand’s personality. But branding goes beyond just visuals. It involves the tone of voice in communications, the customer service experience, and even the packaging or presentation of products and services. For example, Chick-fil-A restaurants are famous for their customer service and polite staff. The expectation for customers who visit a location is they will be greeted and treated well.
With brand building, consistency is key. Every time a customer engages with your business, it should resonate with your brand’s identity. Whether it’s through a social media post, a product, or a customer service call, the experience should be “on brand”.
As you build your brand, always seek feedback and be ready to evolve. The most successful brands in the world know how to adapt and grow with their audience’s changing needs and preferences.
While starting a business is multifaceted, setting clear and strategic goals paves the way for measured growth. Your goals may differ depending on your type of business and your objectives for starting the business. Each goal serves as a stepping stone in the grand journey of entrepreneurship.