Most businesses know setting goals are essential to grow. However, simply having goals isn’t enough: you need to establish SMART goals. So what are the elements of a SMART Goal?
Great goals are specific, well-defined and focused. This helps limit what a win is, as well as make broad generalized dreams. Focus creates a powerful statement. “Build my clientele by 100 new emails this year” is more powerful than “grow my business”. It’s broad, but HOW do you define that goal as successful?
- WHO (my)
- WHAT (business)
- WHERE/WHEN(this year)
- HOW (100 new emails).
“The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan”
Setting a goal without a measurable outcome is just like a game without scores. How do you know if you won? Put a concrete number in your goal to see if you are on track. You can reflect back at this number through the time-frame and see how close or far away you are. This is also a great way to see if you overshoot your goal - maybe 100 emails was unobtainable in 3 months - so this time you gave yourself 12 months.
Tip - If you want to really challenge yourself, make a GOOD, BETTER, BEST goal: 100 is good, 125 better, 150 BEST. This is a great way to see if you are under selling yourself. Goals should be a challenge but achievable.
Goals should be achievable. Again. Far too often new goal setters will set the goal bar too far away and if they are not able to achieve it think they are the issue. No one has ever built a house overnight. Goals need both realistic measurement and time to achieve. Dream big, but aim for the improvement. If you achieved 80 new emails - that is still AMAZING improvement. Next year, make the goal 80 - 100 - 125. Keep on foot in reality and set goals with an eye on the stars but a foot firmly placed on Earth.
Check out industry specific goals, ask around the office or look for mentors in your area for examples of the direct your should be heading.
You may have a desire to set high expectations in goals, but keep in mind the reality of today’s market. If you set a double revenue goal with a recession looming off the horizon, you might be setting yourself up for failure. It’s impossible to predict the realities of the market - but knowing your industry is key - for example; if you owned a Liquor business and a new law came into play at the beginning of the year limiting your open time - you can’t expect to grow your business by double this year.
Business goals and objects don’t just get done when there is no expectation of time. It’s important to tie end time to your goals so you can measure when they are complete - as well as step up your task to ensure you are reaching them. It’s also good to check in on your goals and make sure you are on point to achieve them. Find a timeline that works for you - quarterly goals are great for businesses since many function in this mindset already.
Once your goals are SMART, you can break down your goals in a task and process that will help you get there. It’s important to both see your goals regularly and review them. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments either - if you for example, you are unable to work for several months due to, say a pandemic, you may want to adjust your goal over that time period. If you blow your goal out the park in the first month - maybe you set it too low and should set it higher. Goal setting is essential to growing yourself and business - so remember to set them SMARTly.