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Everyone starts a small business with a dream of success, and with the expectation that hard work and persistence will eventually win out, and achieve all objectives that were set. But what if that doesn’t happen? What happens when you put in all the hard work, and invest all the resources you can, and it’s just not enough to achieve the level of success you hoped for?

Failing to meet business goals is not the end of the world, nor is it always a sign that you’re doing something wrong. However, it is a situation where you should take a timeout, and reflect on just why you haven’t been able to meet your business goals, and what can be done about turning that situation around. Here are some possible reasons why you may not have met your business goals.

Inadequate Research and Business Plan

If you didn’t do proper research into your market before you launched, and if you didn’t have a business plan for how to proceed in your market, you may have been doomed to failure before you started. There are few businesses today where you can just fly by the seat of your pants – there’s just no substitute for planning and research.

Too Much Dreaming, Not Enough Working

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in dreaming about meeting all the goals and objectives of a new business, and the excitement of longed-for success can almost hypnotize you into flowing along and waiting for success to come. And then it doesn’t. It’s good to never lose sight of goals, but for day-to-day operations, it’s better to be focused on hard work, and doing whatever it takes to conduct your business properly today. Pay more attention to working and less to dreaming of success.

Were Your Goals Attainable?

If you have fallen drastically short of achieving your interim goals for any time period, it’s a fair question to ask if those goals were achievable in the first place. Did you set the bar at an unrealistically high level? It could be that your goals were simply impractical, or perhaps not achievable within the time frame you allowed.

Inadequate Marketing

If potential customers don’t know about your product or service, or they aren’t aware of how it will fill a need or desire they have, you need to do a better job at getting your message across. It could be that the popularity of your offerings is suffering because they just aren’t recognized by the consumer public. Investigate all the possible marketing channels which might be useful in reaching your target audience.

Did you have SMART goals?

Missing objectives is no reason to give up on objectives altogether – in fact, you should be twice as determined for next time, because achieving goals is one of the great drivers of business success. Make sure your goals are SMART though – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

External Circumstances

There may have been unforeseen events which impacted your business in a major way during the evaluation period. For instance, if the local or national economy experienced a significant downturn, that could have prevented you from having any chance of achieving your goals. Perhaps a local labor strike shut you down for a while, and made it impossible to catch up afterward. At any rate, you should be mindful of this possibility for future business planning.

Employee Motivation

Did you fail to meet your goals because your employees were insufficiently motivated to do their very best on your behalf? Make sure that employees can achieve personal benefits when the company is successful, so they become driven to advance the cause of your business. When everyone is rowing in the same direction, and with the same powerful strokes, the destination is much more easily achieved.