Setting Business Goals for 2021

Tips for Setting SMART Business Goals for 2021

Setting Business Goals for 2021

by Elaine Slatter

With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic firmly with us for at least 3-6 months, then setting SMART business goals for 2021 might be urgent for the survival of your business.

S = SPECIFIC goals



R = RELEVANT goals

T = TIME BASED goals

When working ON your business SMART goals are so important.  This helps you to be in charge of your business outcome rather than letting the business climate dictate what happens to you.

Let’s talk about setting SMART business goals for 2021

First of all, the timeline for your business goals is compressed going into this challenging year.  Depending on your trading area and the focus of your business, the rules, because of COVID, change dramatically from week to week.


A specific goal clearly states what is to be achieved, by whom, where and when it is to be achieved and sometimes why.

Non-SMART goal:       Market my new organic pet snack business in New York

SMART goal:               Set up a facebook business page, Instagram page and advertise in facebook buy and sell groups in my neighbourhood of New York and contact 10 pet shops in my local area.


Measuring the goal is applicable both to the end results and the milestones along the way.  The measurement helps to assess if you are on the right track to achieving your goal.  It answers the questions, how much, how often, how many?

For example, if your goal is to reach sales of $96,000/year, your milestones could be sales of $8,000/month.  By having a process to focus on achieving $8,000/month, it will add up to $96,000/year.   The goal of $8,000/month is easier to attain, because there could be multiple ways of getting to this goal and it is less stressful to think in smaller amounts.

What get measured get done.   Therefore if you measure you will focus to achieve the goal.  One good way to measure is to have a dashboard measurement by month.  For example

Jan.      Feb.     Mar.    April    May     June     6 month Total

Sales                            6,500   7,500   9,000   8,500   8,500   8,000        48,000

Quotes over $1,000        5         5          5          5          5         5

Quotes to Sales           45%     50%     55%     55%     55%     55%


When setting the goals, ensure that they are achievable.  If you believe yourself that you can reach the goal, it is more likely you will be to get there.   It is a mistake to put out goals that are unattainable, because you are setting yourself up for failure from the very beginning.  Don’t let others set your goals.


When setting goals they fall into long and short term.  Understanding how these fit into your organizational or personal vision, mission and purpose is important.  During 2021 most of your goals will be short term, ie 3 months because it may be necessary to pivot if the business climate changes.


This ensures that you put a time-frame to your goals.  This can be a great motivator and shouldn’t be seen as a detractor.   If for example, you want to write a book if you commit to getting it on the market in one year, then you can work the time-line backwards to see if it is possible to achieve your goal in this time frame.

Once you have established the lead time for the printing and editing, then you will know how much time you have left to actually write the book.  From here you can break it down into the number of days to write it and how many hours that will consume.

This can also help you avoid procrastination because you know you will reach your goal if you stick to your process.

Setting SMART Business Goals for 2021

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

If setting SMART business goals for 2021 seems impossible, it is usually because that your future plans are not clear enough and you need to do more work to clarify exactly where you want to go within a set time period.  Don’t try to skip the process of SMART goal setting and just “go for it”, without analyzing your goals and matching them to your vision.

Doing this exercise carefully at the beginning will save you lots of time and disappointment at a later stage and could help you avoid making costly mistakes.

What are your goals?  Writing them down, helps clarify your thinking.  Can you stretch yourself in your business by setting three goals?

Business Goals

Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

A Systems Focus Helps You Reach Your Goals

Once you have set a goal, find a way to develop a system to achieve your goal.  For example, if you want to write a book in one year and you are not an author, that goal might be overwhelming.   Instead, why not try writing 250 words per day.  Don’t agonize over what you are writing, just write.  At that rate if you write 5 days per week (240 days/year) you will have 60,000 words in a year, which is approximately a 200 page paperback in 1.5 spacing.

The same happens for the entrepreneur.   Set the goal, and then find a system to help you reach that goal.  Your focus will be on the system and not the goal, but in the end you will reach the goal.  In the case of the sales goal, all it may take is consistently achieving 10 quotes per month with a 50% success rate.

Listen to our podcast with Anna Yu where we discuss what planning looks like for 2021.


Do you have a system to help you reach your goals?  Tell us about how you reach your milestones.

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