Starting a new business has its troubles, and sustaining operations is more tedious, especially for newbie entrepreneurs or small business owners. There are also challenges, such as fear, lack of motivation, and uncertainty about the proper steps to take. These challenges are, however, not exclusive to owners of new or small businesses. Studies have shown that only a few business owners and managers make conscious efforts to incorporate SMART goals into their business development plans. In contrast, others ride on the wing of if it works, don’t fix it.” That is why SMART goals in a small business are vital.

According to a U.S. Small Business Administration survey, only a few small businesses can stand the test of time and survive for five years. The survey further revealed that only one-third of those businesses pull through for 10 years. Furthermore, it showed that only small businesses with SMART goals had survived business hurdles. In other words, to survive the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, it is imperative to set business goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely— SMART goals, to put it even more simply.

Hands shaking in a business meeting.

Importance of setting SMART Goals

in your Small Business

Small businesses typically have the advantage of communicating with their customers directly and on fewer fronts, as they seem closer to their customers than large firms. Thus, though they have fewer resources than large firms, small businesses have more advantages they can leverage. Setting SMART goals can mean all the difference in the depth of benefits they can exploit. The qualities that can foster long-term success for any business, whether big or small, must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

The SMART goal-setting strategy affects every aspect of a business; it is helpful for project management, marketing strategy development, and the overall operation and scaling of the business. It is also used to evaluate a small business’s growth level and progress, especially compared to market realities. This framework enables entrepreneurs to identify strengths, monitor key performance indicators, and identify room for further improvement in the business.

The most frequent causes of small business failure are lack of organisation and unclear goals. However, managing a small business entails more than just administrative duties; it also involves logistics and controlling resources and personnel. A business must constantly develop to be successful—not necessarily by growing into a more prominent company, but rather by maintaining or raising the quality of its goods and services and boosting client loyalty. Therefore, to build a solid business development strategy for small businesses, SMART goals are required. For instance, you might have a broad goal but be unsure how to implement it. By breaking down your main objective into SMART goals, you create a path to the next level.

Business Goals Checked

Characteristics of SMART Goals



Smart goals in a small business mean having a clear, specific outcome for the business. Your pivot is narrowed by having specific goals. Get a clear picture of what you want to accomplish in marketing, data collection, sales, or customer relationship management and determine the steps needed to get there.


Having a specific goal for the business is just a starting point. Once you set goals, it’s crucial to consider the parameters you’ll use to measure whether or not you’ve achieved them. It would be best if you had a meter for your objectives so you could monitor your progress. If your goals satisfy this need, you ought to be able to respond to queries that begin with “How much?” How many? Or how much time? You are inspired to set new goals when you can measure your progress. These goals could be qualitative or quantitative, depending on the quality of the returns or outputs you obtain or generate.


While having a specific and measurable goal is important, achieving the goals is more important to the business, as it gives life to the company. When you develop business goals, it’s critical to provide achievability priority. Making your goals achievable is not to limit the height of your dreams, but working toward a goal that is not outside of your capabilities will reveal more about the nature of your organisation, the way you operate it, your consumers, and the objective itself. By setting attainable goals, you permit yourself to test out different strategies to achieve these goals based on your measurements.


In setting SMART business goals, relevance means that your goals must be directly tied to your core mission, vision, culture, and values. For instance, the long-term vision for your company should be consistent with your short-term objectives. Most businesses aim to grow their customer base and revenue, but setting relevant goals helps you decide what you will do precisely to expand your business.

For example, for a small business that provides service to its customers, relevant aspects of her SMART goals could be identifying what her customers need and adjusting to cost management, which are vital components of the sourcing and procurement strategy.


Finally, as the adage goes, “Time is money.” SMART goals drive on the fuel of time. Setting a timeframe for when you intend to accomplish your goal helps make the planning and execution processes more structured and transparent. A project timeline can be a strong motivator, and it will help your team collaborate in the direction of a distinct goal and improve time management. In addition, achieving timely goals can help you better understand a specific season of your company, which may help you set accurate future goals.


What makes a SMART goal vital, and how does it fit into your small business plan? Small-business entrepreneurs can achieve scaled success by setting SMART goals, taking concrete measures toward progress, and measuring results.


Develop and deliver on SMART Goals for your business by meeting 1-2-1 with a curated subject matter expert. Get access here.

Follow @bipocfoundation on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.