Starting a business takes courage, determination, and a lot of optimism. Often, this optimism can be a distraction from creating and reaching realistic goals. Sticking to the SMART method makes setting and reaching healthy goals realistic. Maybe you want to reach a certain customer count by year-end. Or, maybe you want to make a profit by a specific month or year. Whichever goals you strive to achieve, make sure that they’re SMART.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART goals is a planning process with five pieces of criteria you can use to set and evaluate goals. So, what does SMART goals stand for? With the SMART method, you use the following acronym to help establish goals in your business:
- Specific: Be as specific as possible about your goal
- Measurable: Measure whether or not you’re successful in achieving your goal
- Attainable: Include a realistic plan that breaks down your overall goal into smaller action steps
- Relevant: Create goals that make sense compared to your business model, mission statement, market, customer base, and industry
- Time-bound: Limit goals by a specific period of time (e.g., weeks, months, quarters, years)
SMART goals can be applied to any goal, regardless if it is business-related or not. Using the SMART formula ensures you don’t miss any details when setting your goals and helps provide a clear understanding of what you want to achieve.
Setting SMART Goals
Instead of setting average (and sometimes vague) goals, SMART goals guide you down a path of actionable steps toward improvement, measurable outcomes, and if done right, success. To help set clear SMART goals for your company and get your goals on the track to success, use these five tips.
- Stick to the SMART acronym – When it comes to setting SMART goals, you can’t be winging the whole process. When coming up with your SMART goal(s), write everything down, no matter how big or small it is. After you establish and prioritize some goals for your company, break them down using the SMART acronym. During this process, make sure you provide as many details as possible for each letter of the acronym. Be specific. Writing your goals down with all the details allows you to refer back to them.
- Choose your goals wisely – Sometimes, coming up with SMART goals is easier said than done. It can be challenging trying to narrow down exactly which goals you want to set and track (and figuring out which ones are worth tracking). So when it comes to establishing your goals, make sure you take your time and choose wisely.
- Set hard deadlines and stick to them – Keep each goal’s deadline in mind and mark it in as many places as possible to help stay on track. For example, you can track your goals’ deadlines in a document and write them down on a calendar. Try setting reminders for yourself that the deadline is coming up.
- Create a plan of action – When writing down your goals, come up with a game plan on how you will achieve them. Your plan of action can vary based on the type of goal you’re trying to reach. For example, if you’re trying to increase your social media following, you may redistribute funds towards social boosting.
- Monitor the progress of your goals – Your goals are no good if you don’t monitor your progress along the way. To measure your goals, check metrics along the way. When your deadline comes to a close, revisit your statistics to see where you stand. Did you reach your goal in time? Were you just shy of reaching your set goal? Review and assess your metrics to see whether or not you reached your goal. If you did not reach your goal by the deadline, try to determine what held you back. And, determine what you can do to help you reach your goal in the future.
When it comes to setting goals, the SMART method is a great way to ensure you don’t miss any details. By following these five tips above, you can be on your way to setting clear SMART goals for your business and achieving success.