In life and in business setting goals is a crucial part of moving forward, and growing personally and professionally. Whether your company is a startup or you are looking at ways to grow and develop your existing business having goals helps you plan what you need to do to get to where you want to be.

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that you can use as a guide when setting your goals. It breaks everything down to help you create, navigate and implement the plans you have for your business.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

Specific

When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to achieve. This might be to increase sales or productivity or the need to market your business. The goal must be clear. For example, “20% increase in sales in 6 months or implement a new marketing strategy”. Avoid being vague as you are less likely to be able to accomplish an idea that is not strong.

Measurable

This is about how you measure your goals when you put your plan in motion to make it a reality, this could be establishing a timescale or perhaps working towards a financial figure you aspire to. Dreams can be huge but sometimes it pays to break the master plan up into a series of goals. Decide what you think is possible and set a date for when you would like to accomplish this by. For example: 6 months from now… or perhaps by September you will have your website up and running. Doing this will allow you to stand back during the journey and see where you are and if your plan is working.

Achievable

Are your goals achievable, setting the bar too high could result in a failure to reach those goals. It may be that some goals are going to take more work than you and your team are capable of. There could be a need for added training in relevant skills or engaging with services outside of your business to realise those goals. Be prepared to reach out where necessary to others to get them on board, teamwork with everyone doing their bit and being prepared to go the extra mile will pay off.

Relevance

The goals must be relevant and may not increase profits or productivity initially. It could be that there is a need for additional staffing or office space, this of course can add to your outgoings. A goal must make sense within your business, it must enhance your company and not go off in a totally different direction creating a muddle. There is good reason to put your goals in order of priority, this will allow you to action each one logically without going backwards and forward and never getting anything achieved.

Time-bound

A goal may need to be completed for contractual reasons. It is essential to review your SMART goals often, this will allow you to work out if the goal is achievable in the required time. Once again be realistic, you may be the fastest kid on the block but not everyone works at the same pace. Know your team, recognise their strengths and weaknesses and work this into your goal plans.

Tips for SMART success

  • Write everything down, give copies to relevant team members
  • Start with the smaller stuff, split the goal into bits to make it workable
  • Acknowledge when things are going well even if the timeline is tight
  • Know that sometimes the goalposts have to be moved

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