Business goals are set to be met, not just for the sake of satisfaction but of sustainability. However, new research from B2B ratings and reviews platform Clutch finds that while 77 percent of small business owners are somewhat or very confident in their ability to execute their strategy, a paltry 5 percent report achieving all their business goals in the past 12 months.
“I think the best goals are realistic but slightly optimistic,” said Malte Scholz, CEO and co-founder of project management tool airfocus, in a news release. “If you don’t aim high enough, you risk setting unambitious goals, but if you aim too high, you may never hit your goals and feel discouraged.”
Although 95 percent of small businesses fall short of meeting their goals, 65 percent of small businesses say they did achieve at least half their goals in the past 12 months.
More than one-quarter of small businesses didn’t do any formal planning in 2019
Small businesses should create a business plan that breaks down their goals and plans to achieve them, yet few businesses actually do. The research found that just 15 percent of small business owners report fully documenting a strategy in the past year—and 27 percent developed no strategy at all.
Companies can benefit from a documented strategy to meet objectives and motivate employees. Business owners should, however, be flexible to changing their plans, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
E-commerce site iHeartRaves, for example, changed its focus to selling activewear and loungewear from selling festival apparel due to the current lack of in-person events. “Luckily, we’ve been successful with the pivot,” CEO Brian Lim said, according to the release. “We’ve learned that necessity is the mother of change.”
iHeartRaves is surviving the current economic downturn because of its flexibility to reshape its formal plan.
Small businesses focus on creating strategies for sales, marketing and customer service
No matter their industry, Clutch found that small businesses tend to create strategies in three areas:
A sales strategy places businesses’ products in front of target customers, while an advertising and marketing strategy reaches those customers and persuades them to make a purchase. Finally, a customer service strategy keeps customers happy. All three strategies go hand-in-hand with one another.
“If the marketing department is failing, so will the sales department, and so will customer service,” said Rueben Yonatan, CEO of VoIP research database GetVoIP, in the release.
To create a successful business strategy, Clutch recommends the following five approaches:
- Set actionable and clear business goals.
- Focus your efforts on the business areas that matter most.
- Find a mentor to help guide your business strategy.
- Draft a formal, documented business strategy.
- Follow your business plan, but revise it regularly.