Goal setting is a powerful process for every business owner in every industry, but for it to be effective it has got to be SMART! SMART goal setting refers to a resourceful business planning process that measures five individual criteria to evaluate a goal and determine its practicability. It’s a defined process that takes your goal from the general idea stage and puts it into action.
Although different words have been used to describe the SMART acronym, one of the breakdowns that fit business goal setting most accurately is described below.
S = Specific
Great goals are well-defined and specific. Vague goals don’t inspire and can make it difficult to know if you achieved them. Saying you want to make more money in your business is vague. If you make 1 cent more this year, technically, you achieved that goal, but that’s probably not what you meant. Instead, be specific by indicating an exact number you want to make.
A specific goal should clearly state what you want to accomplish, why it is an important goal, and how you intend to accomplish the goal.
M = Measurable
You need to be able to determine, without question, whether or not you are successful in achieving your goal. A measurable goal should include a plan with targets and milestones that you can use to make sure you’re moving in the right direction during the process and should clearly tell you when you have completed the process.
The important point to remember here is that you need a way to know your end goal so you know if you’re progressing and if you reached it. Note that goals don’t all have to be big. You can have weekly goals, such as working on a particular project. When making it measurable, don’t just say, “Work on Project A.” Instead, make it a goal to “Spend three hours on Project A.” You can measure if you spent three hours or not.
A = Attainable
While business goals may often pull you out of your comfort zone and challenge you, if the goal and the parameters you have created are not realistic, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
An attainable goal should be realistic and include a plan that breaks your overall goal down into smaller, manageable action steps that use the time and resources available to you within the timeline you’ve set.
R = Relevant
The relevancy of a business goal will often determine the likelihood of achieving it. Goals that do not mesh with all of the other factors that directly and indirectly impact your business are often unachievable.
Essentially, a relevant goal should make sense when measured against your business model, mission statement, market, client base, and industry.
T = Time-Based
Business goals cannot be open-ended; every goal should be limited by a period of time. The timeline may vary by weeks, months, or years depending on your goal, but a defined timeline is vital for you to commit to the goal. Having a timeline can also create an urgency that will motivate you.
To determine if your goal is time-based, it should include a defined period of time as well as a specific timeline for each step of the process.
Not every goal you initially set in your budding business is worth your time and energy. These SMART business goal setting tips will help you measure your business goals against the SMART criteria to determine if your goals are achievable and worth your time.
There’s never a better time than now to review your existing SMART business goals, to see if you’re on the right track.