06 Jan 2012 Learn smart planning for your Small Business in Massachusetts!

You may have spent some time creating a three or five-year business plan when you first launched your small business. You probably write a “to do” list each day to remind you of critical tasks like paying bills or purchasing small business insurance. Massachusetts entrepreneurs who see the value of business planning recognize that in addition to planning for the long term and short term, it’s important to set medium-term goals, for the next month, quarter, and year.

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Goals selected strategically are likely to have much better outcomes than random goals. According to the experts, set goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-based.

• Specific goals set an explicit outcome. A general goal might be “improve revenue”; a specific goal would be “Increase business income by 20%”.
• Measurable goals set out concrete ways in which your achievements can be measured. Rather than planning to “improve customer satisfaction”, set a measurable goal like “reduce customer complaints by 50%”.
• Action-oriented goals require you to take action, and don’t depend on conditions that are outside your control. An action-oriented goal would be “outline an advertising campaign for a new product”.
• Realistic goals can be achieved. Setting an unrealistic goal that’s unlikely to be achievable is de-motivating, but setting a goal that’s realistic but challenging impels you towards greater achievements.
• Time-based goals have a specific time-frame or deadline, such as “increase business income by 8% over the next 6 months.”

Smart goal setting for medium-term timescales may include planning the purchase of small business insurance. Massachusetts entrepreneurs who set themselves strategic goals may boost personal motivation and business growth – and there’s no better time than a New Year to set some new SMART goals!

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