SMART Goals Examples for Small Businesses

April 30, 2024


 SMART Goals Examples for Small Businesses

One of the most vital steps in starting a small business is setting clear, achievable objectives. That's where SMART goals come into play—goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

This goal-setting framework is a powerful way to empower yourself and grow your business. Whether you're just opening your bakery's doors or planning to expand your existing plumbing services, SMART goals can pave the way from start to success.

What is a SMART Goal?

Setting goals for your business is like an architect drawing up plans before starting to build. These plans ensure that every part of the building will work well together and stand strong.

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Similarly, when you set SMART goals for your business, you’re laying out a clear plan that makes every effort count toward building a successful business.

Let’s look at the five elements of a SMART goal, using a bakery as an example for each component.


When setting goals, specificity is your best friend. It transforms big and broad goals into actionable paths. A specific goal clearly defines the what, who, where, and why, making it much easier to focus your efforts and rally your business team around a clear objective.

Here are five ways to ensure your goals are specific enough to drive real results for your small business:

1. Define the Outcome: Instead of a vague goal like "increase sales," specify your desired outcome. This sets a clear target and focuses your marketing and sales efforts on a particular product line.

  • Example: "Increase sales of custom cakes by 20%."

2. Identify the Who: Specify who is responsible for achieving the goal. Is it your sales team, your marketing department, or perhaps a new hire?

  • Example: "The bakery sales team will increase custom cake sales by 20%."

3. Determine the Where: If your business operates in multiple locations or online, define where you expect the changes to occur.

  • Example: "Increase custom cake sales by 20% at the downtown location."

4. Clarify the Why: Understanding the reason behind your goal can inspire and motivate your team. The increase in custom cake sales may fund an expansion or enable you to offer new products.

  • Example: "Increase custom cake sales by 20% to finance the opening of a new bakery section dedicated to custom orders."

5. Set a Benchmark: Set a baseline to measure progress against. If you sold 100 custom cakes last month, a 20% increase means you aim to sell 120 this month. This provides a clear target that you can measure and keep track of.


To truly understand if you’re meeting your business goals, you need to make them measurable. This means setting clear markers that show your progress. For instance, if you want to boost sales of custom cakes by 20%, you’ll want to keep a close watch on your sales figures.

Let’s take a look at how you can measure your progress:

Weekly Sales Checks: Use whatever system you have—whether it's a point-of-sale system or a basic spreadsheet—to keep track of your goal each week.

Monthly Comparisons: Compare your progress to the previous month to see how much you’ve improved.

Visual Progress: Create simple charts or graphs that plot your weekly growth. This makes it easier to see how close you are to hitting your goal. For example, if your goal is to sell more custom cakes, you can plot how many cakes you sell each week.


It’s great to aim high, but your goals also need to be within your reach by considering the resources and time you have.

Still using the bakery as an example, let’s imagine that your bakery sells 50 custom cakes a week. You may want to consider these three steps to set a realistic goal:

1. Check Your Capacity: Look at your current setup—do you have enough people and the right equipment to make more cakes without sacrificing quality?

2. Start Small: Rather than doubling your sales overnight, aim for a 20% increase first. This is challenging but more manageable.

3. Plan for Needs: Think about whether you need to hire another baker or ramp up your marketing to reach this new sales target.

You can push your business to grow without stretching yourself too thin by setting ambitious but achievable goals with the current resources and time you have.


Your goals should align with where you want your business to go. If you’re focused on making your bakery known for its custom cakes, increasing sales in this area should fit well with your overall plans.

Here’s what to consider:

Understand the Market: Is there a demand for custom cakes in your area? Are people looking for more personalized bakery options?

Support Your Business: Does specializing in custom cakes help build the unique image you want for your bakery?

Connect to the Big Picture: Consider how boosting custom cake sales might help achieve larger goals, like hosting events or collaborating with local businesses.

Choosing goals that are relevant to your broader business strategy keeps your daily efforts in line with your long-term goals.


It’s no secret that deadlines drive action. Setting a specific time frame, like aiming for that 20% sales increase by the end of the next quarter, creates a sense of urgency that can motivate you and your team.

Here are three ways to handle deadlines and boost motivation:

1. Break It Down: Divide your main goal into smaller steps, each with its own deadline. For example, aim for a 5% increase each month.

2. Regular Updates: Schedule time to review progress regularly, whether it’s a quick weekly check-in or a more detailed monthly review.

3. Use Deadlines as Motivation: Rather than seeing deadlines as pressure, view them as milestones to celebrate as you move closer to your goal.

With clear, time-bound goals, you keep your business moving forward, making sure you’re not just busy but productive.

SMART Goals for Small Business Owners

Now that you know a little more about SMART goals, let’s look at how they work for small business owners. Whether you’re just starting your business or have been at it a while, these examples will inspire you and help you create your own SMART goals.

Marketing on Social Media Goal Example

Luke is the owner of a new local bakery and wants to market his business on social media.

Let’s see how Luke can use the SMART goal framework to achieve his goal:

  • Specific: Increase business awareness by growing followers on Instagram.
  • Measurable: Aim to gain 500 new followers within three months.
  • Achievable: Post quality content regularly and engage with other users to gain followers.
  • Relevant: More followers can increase business visibility, attracting more customers to the bakery.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline of three months to reach this goal.

To meet his three-month deadline, Luke decides to post photos of the bakery’s daily specials, share helpful tips through creative graphics, and engage with followers by responding to comments and messages. Luke also runs a monthly contest where followers can win a dozen cupcakes if they tag friends and share his posts.

Have you been thinking about creating a SMART social media marketing goal? has just what you need to create high-quality social media posts using customizable templates.

Creating a Business Email Goal Example

Lucy has owned Main Street Salon for five years and recently decided to begin marketing to her customers through email. Let’s take a look at how Lucy can use the SMART goal framework:

  • Specific: Set up a professional email address using a business domain.
  • Measurable: The business email account is called [email protected]
  • Achievable: Register for an email service like Titan and follow the setup instructions.
  • Relevant: A professional email enhances credibility and facilitates better customer communication.
  • Time-bound: Complete this within one week.

Lucy’s SMART goal has a shorter timeline than Luke’s, but that’s okay! Your SMART goals do not have to be a specific length of time; they can be as long or short as you want. As long as they follow the framework, you’ll have a solid plan to help you reach your goals.

How Many SMART Goals Should You Set?

For small businesses, the right number of SMART goals is crucial. Overloading yourself with too many goals can make you lose focus and spend unnecessary resources. Start with broad vision goals. These are large-scale goals that reflect your ultimate ambitions for your business. For example, "Become the leading provider of eco-friendly hair products in my region within three years."

Then, break these down into actionable goals. Using the hair product example, one actionable goal could be, "Increase online sales by 15% in the next six months by enhancing the e-commerce website experience." Limiting yourself to two to three goals at a time is the best way to reach your goals. This focus allows you to budget resources and give your undivided attention to each goal, which increases your chances of success.

For a coffee shop owner, these goals might look like:

  • Goal 1: Increase the number of daily customers by 25% within the next year by expanding our beverage menu and hosting weekly live music events.
  • Goal 2: Improve customer satisfaction by training staff in customer service excellence, aiming for a 95% satisfaction rate on feedback surveys by the end of the year.

Setting two to three significant but attainable goals allows you to keep your business on a clear path to growth without overwhelming yourself or your team. Each goal should act as a stepping stone that brings you closer to your bigger vision, making each step a measurable and significant stride toward long-term success.

Five Quick Tips to Set Achievable SMART Goals

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SMART goals are all about ensuring your small business goals are motivating and manageable. To do this, you need to know what your business can handle and have a plan.

Tip One: Assess Your Resources

Start by looking at what you currently have:

  • Staff: Do you have enough people to take on more work, or will you need to hire?
  • Money: Check your finances to see if you can cover new expenses that come from chasing new goals, like marketing or new equipment.
  • Time: Be honest about the time you can commit to new projects. Stretching yourself too thin can lead to mistakes and burnout.

Tip Two: Break It Down

Instead of one big goal, break it into smaller pieces. If you want to grow your customer base by 20% in a year, think about setting a goal to increase it by 5% each quarter. Smaller steps are easier to manage and adjust if needed.

Tip Three: Make Sure Each Step Is SMART

For each smaller goal, apply the SMART framework:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you’re going to do.
  • Measurable: Decide how you’ll know you’ve achieved it.
  • Achievable: Make sure it’s something you can realistically do.
  • Relevant: Ensure it helps you move towards your bigger business goals.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline.

Tip Four: Get Input from Your Team

If you have team members in your small business, be sure to ask them for their input. They can provide valuable insights you might not have considered and bring new ideas or strategies to help you reach your goals.

Be sure to schedule regular team meetings to talk about the progress and any obstacles your business is facing.

You can ask your team members questions like:

  • What successes have we achieved since our last meeting?
  • What challenges are we currently facing?
  • Are there any resources or support you need to overcome these challenges?
  • How can we adjust our strategies or timelines to meet our goals?

Even if you're a solopreneur (a one-person business), you can still schedule time each month to ask yourself the above questions. Reflecting on your progress and challenges keeps you on track to meeting your goals.

Tip Five: Be Ready to Adjust

Things change, and your goals may need to change, too. If things aren’t going as planned, be ready to tweak your approach. Industry trends and economic conditions change quickly, so it’s essential to keep an eye on the market and know how it can affect your business.

Be sure to listen to your customers — they can tell you what’s working and what’s not. Your customers are the first to experience your products or services, and their feedback is a direct line to understanding their needs and expectations.

By listening to them, you can learn what is working well and what needs improvement. This might involve changes to customer service, adjustments in product features, or even the ambiance of your physical or online store. When customers see that their opinions are valued and acted upon, trust is built, and a deeper and more loyal relationship is created.

What to Do if Your Goals Go Offtrack

Like the goals we set in our personal life, our business goals can go off track. While it can be frustrating, knowing what to do in this situation is key to getting back on the right path.

The first step is to try to pinpoint what is causing the issue. Is it something internal, like a staff shortage, or something external, such as a new competitor in your town?

Next, take another look at your goals. Are they still realistic? Sometimes, what seemed achievable at first might not be practical now due to changes in your business environment or resources.

You might need to change your approach based on what you've learned. This could mean shifting resources to different areas, tweaking your marketing strategy, or even extending timelines to make goals more attainable.

Real-Life Scenario for Getting Back On Track

Coffee shop and bookstore owner Becca Brewster set a goal to increase overall sales by 30% over six months by hosting weekly community events like book readings and local music nights. However, halfway through her SMART goal timeline, Becca’s business, Bookish Brew Cafe, has only increased by 10%.

After reviewing feedback and sales data, Becca noticed that while event nights saw good attendance, they didn't significantly boost sales as expected. Further conversations with customers and her staff members revealed that most attendees come for the events but don't make additional purchases. It was time for Becca to re-examine her goals and make adjustments.

Additionally, Becca set a new mini-goal to increase event night sales by 15% in the next three months through these promotions. She tracks her weekly progress using a simple spreadsheet to see if her new strategy will help her reach her SMART goal.

What to Do Once You’ve Set a SMART Goal for Your Small Business

Setting SMART goals for your small business is a crucial first step, but the work continues beyond there.

The next phase involves breaking down these goals into actionable steps, rallying your team, and keeping everyone motivated throughout the journey.

The Next Steps

1. Break Down Goals into Tasks: Divide each goal into smaller, manageable tasks. For instance, if your goal is to increase online sales by 25% within the next six months, tasks could include upgrading your website, optimizing your online store for mobile users, and launching a targeted social media ad campaign.

2. Create a Timeline: Establish a timeline for each task by including start and end dates and any critical milestones along the way. Timelines help keep everyone on track and make it easier to see how each task fits into the bigger picture.

3. Allocate Resources: Determine what resources are needed for each task—this could be your business budget, tools, marketing materials, or specific skills. Be sure that you have access to these resources when needed to avoid delays.

Engage Your Team for Support

If your business has a team, lean on them for support. Assign tasks to team members based on their skills and workload. Schedule regular meetings to discuss their progress, help them problem-solve, and adjust the plan. These regular check-ins can help keep team members accountable for their part of your business’s goals and create a workplace that values open communication.

Celebrate Small Victories

Being a small business owner can present many challenges, so it is crucial to recognize your efforts and achievements. Whenever a milestone is reached, celebrate it by taking yourself out for lunch. If you have a team, you can give a shout-out during a meeting or even order their favorite treat as a simple thank you. Celebrating milestones boosts motivation and keeps you (and your team) pushing toward the next goal.

Boost Small Business Success with SMART Goals

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SMART goals are more than checkboxes on your business plan — they are stepping stones to success. Setting SMART goals gives you a clear path to a bright business future. Remember, you can set SMART goals at any time. Whether you’re a new business owner or have owned your small business for twenty years, setting goals moves you closer to your vision for your business.

At, we're excited to be part of your entrepreneurial journey, supporting you from start to success. From our free Logo Maker to our customizable Business Card Design Tool, you’ll find everything you need to run your business.

Here's to building your business dreams, one SMART goal at a time!

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