12 Strategies for Setting and Achieving Realistic Financial Goals in Small Businesses

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on January 25, 2024

Navigating the financial landscape of a small business can be complex, but with the right strategies, achieving your goals is within reach. We’ve gathered insights from founders, CEOs, and other business leaders to share their personal experiences and strategies. From setting goals based on resources to leveraging data-driven financial insights, explore the diverse approaches in our compilation of eleven expert tips on setting and working towards realistic financial goals.

  • Set Goals Based on Resources
  • Outline Clear Objectives and Plan
  • Implement a Three-Step Debt Strategy
  • Aim High with Grounded Expectations
  • Focus on Strengths for Financial Success
  • Monitor Budget and Expenses Daily
  • Adjust Goals to Market and Dynamics
  • Use Adaptive Escrow for Financial Goals
  • Ensure Predictable Monthly Cash Flow
  • Embrace Flexibility in Operations
  • Regularly Review and Cut Unnecessary Costs
  • Leverage Data-Driven Financial Insights

Set Goals Based on Resources

I’ve found that instead of focusing on lofty financial goals, I’ve had much better success in setting goals based on resources. It allowed me to break things into smaller, achievable pieces—when we achieved X amount of new revenue, we could start a new project, or when we were able to increase profit by this much, we would allocate more time to another area of the business.

Clear, actionable, and realistic financial goals have always set me up for bigger success and wins down the road.

Matthew SanjariMatthew Sanjari
Founder and Business Coach, PRIME Consulting


Outline Clear Objectives and Plan

Establishing realistic financial goals in a small business involves evaluating your current financial status, outlining clear objectives, and devising a comprehensive plan. It’s crucial to set challenging yet achievable goals that push you to excel.

Regularly updating marketing strategies and staying informed about competitors’ tactics are vital components of success. Additionally, staying up-to-date with new technologies is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the ever-evolving business landscape.

Preston St. MartinPreston St. Martin
Business Owner, Home Hygiene Pressure Washing


Implement a Three-Step Debt Strategy

Drawing from my experience in founding and growing an online shop as well as my current blogging business, I learned the importance of having a debt management plan. Starting a business requires capital, and this often means taking out a loan and subsequently paying off debt.

There’s a simple, three-step strategy for debt management I like to follow: assessment, budgeting, and monitoring. I would start by assessing my budget to see where I can lower expenses while increasing my profits. Develop a realistic budget and cut down on unnecessary expenses.

For instance, if you’re selling a physical product, don’t go overboard on keeping a huge, slow-moving inventory. And don’t forget to count funds for debt repayments as a part of your monthly budget. Also, stay alert for refinancing opportunities. You can always advocate for favorable terms and secure lower interest rates.

If your small business is already profitable and yet you’re still struggling with debt, you probably need to change something about your cash flow management. I’d recommend setting up reminders for automated payments so that you can always keep track of your transactions. Keep in touch if you have any further questions. Kind regards,

Nikola BaldikovNikola Baldikov
Founder, InBound Blogging


Aim High with Grounded Expectations

In setting financial goals, I believe in pushing boundaries while staying grounded. We start with realistic expectations, then dial them up by 25%. It’s like setting a finish line just beyond what you think you can reach. This approach keeps us ambitious yet accountable. It’s not just about hitting numbers; it’s about stretching our capabilities and driving innovation.

A personal experience? This strategy led us to surpass our Q2 revenue target last year, turning what seemed like a stretch goal into a tangible success. It’s about aiming high, but smart.

Justin SilvermanJustin Silverman
Founder & CEO, Merchynt


Focus on Strengths for Financial Success

One thing that allowed me to reach our financial goals as a small business was to look at our strengths and lean into those strengths across all areas of our business. To do this, first we had to analyze what we were actually good at and what was the most profitable part of our current business. We identified these and made them a focus of the entire business.

We streamlined processes, showcased our work across social platforms, and told clients about the problems that were being solved through doing this. This allowed our business to thrive when others were failing. It then opened doors to new clients and markets.

James SandersonJames Sanderson
Creative Director, EverydaySomething


Monitor Budget and Expenses Daily

It’s important to manage expenses and keep a close eye on budgets and accounts. One approach that has worked for me is doing daily checks on my budget and accounts. By monitoring my expenses closely every day, I can find areas where I can cut costs and allocate resources more efficiently.

This method also helps me catch any issues or discrepancies early on, so I can take corrective action right away. Reviewing financial statements regularly and comparing them to my goals keeps me on track and allows me to make necessary adjustments along the way.

Loren HowardLoren Howard
Founder, Prime Plus Mortgages


Adjust Goals to Market and Dynamics

My goal-setting approach blends realism and ambition in guiding Diabetic Insurance Solutions to financial prosperity. A critical component is adjusting financial goals to fit with the particular problems within our specialty. For example, I set reasonable goals by conducting extensive market research and understanding the complexities of life insurance for diabetics.

Continuous adaptation is a powerful approach to human growth. It is critical to examine financial goals regularly and adjust them based on industry trends and internal success. This agility ensures that we not only meet but also exceed our goals. The emphasis is on being tuned in to the market’s pulse and our company dynamics, which will guide us to long-term financial milestones.

Hassan SandersHassan Sanders
CEO, Diabetic Insurance Solutions


Use Adaptive Escrow for Financial Goals

I’ve embraced a unique yet highly effective approach called “Adaptive Escrow.” Instead of the typical annual budgeting process, I allocate a portion of my revenue into an escrow account specifically designated for financial goals. However, what sets this strategy apart is its adaptability. Instead of adhering to a fixed financial plan, I review and adjust my goals and allocations every quarter based on the ever-changing business landscape.

This approach ensures that I remain agile in responding to unforeseen challenges or opportunities, without sacrificing financial stability. It’s a dynamic and unconventional strategy that enables me to set and work toward realistic financial goals by embracing change and adapting to the unpredictable nature of small business, ultimately helping me achieve consistent financial milestones in an ever-evolving landscape.

Albert VarkkiAlbert Varkki
Co-Founder, Von Baer


Ensure Predictable Monthly Cash Flow

Like the old saying goes, cash is king. One of the biggest issues that small businesses face, as well as businesses of all sizes, is cash flow. The operations of a small business are based around a calendar month, i.e., office rent, employee salaries, monthly software subscriptions the business may be using, and more. However, just because a business’s monthly outgoings are consistent and predictable, it doesn’t mean that the business’s monthly income revenue will necessarily be the same.

At Webspider, in an effort to make my small business’s monthly cash flow more predictable, I’ve started offering monthly payment plans for my website projects. This is in contrast to making a few one-off payments. This way, it helps to spread out the cost of the project for my clients while making my own cash flow much more steady and predictable over the course of the year. This approach makes my financial goals much more manageable and allows for predictable forecasting of revenue.

Sam RobinsonSam Robinson
Owner, Webspider


Embrace Flexibility in Operations

The setting of realistic financial goals for our small business now looks like the easy step. We have experienced the almost daily hard work of meeting these goals. External pressures and internal operations have provided us with an informative experience that has added to our financial goal success.

For example, at the outset of our company’s life, we accepted the need to maintain in-house production, experiencing stressful deadlines with limited staff. Only once we grew to a level of sales that appeared sustainable did we begin to outsource very specific tasks to minimize expenditures. For instance, we do not require an in-house accounting expert, and that task has been successfully outsourced.

Additionally, our needs for product production staff have predictably varied, peaking near the major gift-giving holidays. We have been able to successfully retain a core staff and supplement accordingly. Our key strategy to recommend is that of accepting flexibility rather than expecting that a more rigid plan would meet the financial goals.

Ashley KennyAshley Kenny
Co-Founder, Heirloom Video Books


Regularly Review and Cut Unnecessary Costs

I found that regularly reviewing and cutting costs that weren’t necessary changed everything. It gave me a better idea of how our finances were doing and helped me make plans to improve our dedication to supporting dog owners and being the best pet parents.

On the other hand, moving to cheaper suppliers and lowering our overhead costs not only helped our bottom line a lot but also allowed us to put more resources into providing thorough and caring information on how to care for dogs and puppies. This money-saving habit has been very helpful in our goal to help pet owners and improve the health of their furry friends.

Chris AllenChris Allen
Founder, Ooodle Life


Leverage Data-Driven Financial Insights

Setting and achieving financial goals involves leveraging data-driven insights. A key strategy has been predictive modeling to forecast revenue and identify growth opportunities. For example, by analyzing customer data, we identified underserved segments, leading to targeted marketing strategies. This approach not only boosted our sales but also optimized marketing spend.

Regularly reviewing these models against actual performance helps us adjust our strategies, ensuring our financial goals remain realistic and achievable.

Josh StepplingJosh Steppling
Broker Associate, Treasure Coast Real Estate


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By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Greg Grzesiak is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Columnist at Grit Daily. As CEO of Grzesiak Growth LLC, Greg dedicates his time to helping CEOs influencers and entrepreneurs make the appearances that will grow their following in their reach globally. Over the years he has built strong partnerships with high profile educators and influencers in Youtube and traditional finance space. Greg is a University of Florida graduate with years of experience in marketing and journalism.

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