S.M.A.R.T goalsby Mary Clymer on January 22, 2021
Stay smart, see results...
One way to stay focused on your business right now is to set achievable goals. Setting goals is a great way to see you are making progress with your work. Without them, you may start to feel discouraged because you haven’t identified specific goalposts. SMART goals help you celebrate all the steps on your way to the big plateaus.
What is a SMART Goal?
Being a savvy business owner I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals before.
SMART goals help you to stay accountable while being able to easily track your progress. Let’s break it down.
What exactly are you aiming to achieve? Be specific. To say you want to make more money this year isn’t as specific as saying “I want to make $100,000.00 in sales this year by developing new marketing material aimed at athletic women 25-30 years old.
Make sense? The details are what will define your success. It puts you in the framework of developing something strong because you know exactly what the target is.
This might seem overwhelming at first, so break it down into questions.
What needs to be accomplished?
Who will be responsible for it?
What steps will I take to achieve it?
What are the limitations?
Why is this goal important?
What are alternative ways to achieve this?
Where and how will I gather resources?
What are my out of pocket expenses?
Thinking through prompts will help you set up more specific goals. This is how you lay out what you’re aiming for. Centering questions around your goal and objectives give you the necessary context to begin your work.
If you took the time to get into the nitty-gritty, you are off to a great start. Now it's time to add to that by making this specific goal measurable. Measurable means that you have identified exactly what it looks like when you have achieved this goal. This will help you track your progress.
If you are looking to attract new customers online, how will you measure that? A more clear view might dictate that you are aiming for 5 new followers per post, resulting in a 30% increase in sales by December of 2020. Now you know clearly when you reach that target.
Now you can take that added information and make your goal even more impactful. Adding in any necessary benchmarks. Refining exactly how you intend to achieve your specific goal will help make it easier to reach.
Hopefully, by this step, you are feeling empowered in the goal you're creating. You should be able to mentally see yourself attaining. Part of the fun of goal setting is that it gives us the opportunity to dream a little. Allow yourself to sit at this moment and feel how you will feel once the goal is achieved.
Okay, that was fun. Now, let's give ourselves a reality check. Let’s relook at the specific goal and how you determined success would be measured. Then ask yourself if what you have outlined so far is reasonable for you and your company based on your current circumstances. Could you realistically accomplish this goal in the timeline set? It's important to be honest here and to consider all limitations that might trample your goal.
I’m not saying you can’t make 100,000.00 by December, however, it might be smart to adjust that number if you're currently making $40K a year. Yes you need to have big goals, and yes you can achieve them, but it might be easier to break it down so it’s more in line with what your actual situation is. Perhaps a $70K goal first so your mind can see it’s possible before making the leap to six figures.
You have to weigh the efforts. Time put in, costs involved, other work obligations, and priorities you have in life. All things must be on the table. How much time, money, talent, etc are you honestly investing. Life needs to have balance, so be sure to take time and adjust to reality before moving on to the next step. The point I’m making is that the goal is to set goals that set you on fire when achieved so that you are motivated to set more of them. If you set yourself up to fail from the start then you missed the whole point. I know, bummertown. I’m a dreamer too but remember small goals set today lead to bigger goals accomplished tomorrow.
With an achievable goal in place, you are now ready to think about the benefits of reaching your target. What benefit will you get out of achieving the goal? What is the objective behind the goal? And will achieving the goal really get you what you seek?
Identifying the key benefits will help you to incorporate that into the actual goal. Your goal of hitting 2000 followers on Instagram is great, but why? Bragging rights? Or because you can use that to drive more business to your webinars.
Think this through. A goal of being the top in your field might look great on paper, but with fame comes a lot of eyes watching what you do, and really you just want to have coffee with a good book every morning before getting to work at 10 am. Know what works for you. Build a relevant measure of benefit around it.
On the other hand, if what makes this goal relevant requires training or outside resources, including how you plan on incorporating this into benchmarks for success.
Questions to consider:
Is reaching your goal relevant to you?
Why do you want to reach this goal?
What is the objective behind the goal?
Have you put a deadline on your goal yet? It's the final step. Without deadlines goals just remain an idea. This is another aspect of measuring your success. Now that the goal is clear you can begin to break it into measurable steps, leading up to a deadline.
If you want to increase sales over the next four months by 20%, then you know that you need an average of a 5% increase per month. Now when you look at your monthly numbers you have something more attainable.
Deadlines help you stay on track, and time is money. So make a tentative plan. You can adjust the plan as you go, but it puts you on the path to success. Deadlines create action, so make them realistic and flexible. When working with goals you need to be ready to change aspects as you go to help keep them as achievable as possible.
Put it all to Work
Writing your goals down makes them more achievable. There's a win or you right away. Hurray! You’ve taken the first step to success by walking through the SMART goal setting steps. Now you need to put them into action. This is a totally separate challenge.
The Goal should be clearly written out by now. If not, do so. Then place it somewhere you can see it. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you. write them down. It’s science! So get to it.
Next, you're going to want to place regular check-ins with. yourself or your team. Put it on your calendar. Once a week is ideal. Weekly deadlines are a great way to baby-step your way to success.
Remember to celebrate the small wins along the way. By recognizing smaller wins and milestones you are indicating to yourself and your team that you are moving in the right direction.
Small goals, big goals, all goals, are a great way to see progress in your business and life. They keep you centered on the positive.
If you're new to goal setting take it slow. Goals are meant to be fun and challenging all in one. So find yourself an accountabli78t6 partner and get to setting those smart goals.
Be sure to share your successes with the Renton Chamber of Commerce. We’re rooting for you all the way, and are here to aid in your success.