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How to set SMART goals for your business
Posted by Katie Zacharkiw

If you haven’t yet given serious thought to your business goals for 2019, it’s time to get planning. It’s easy to set general goals–get more clients, increase, be more organized. It’s trickier to set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

SMART goals are a fancy way of saying set goals that you can measurably achieve in the time frame you set. As an example, let’s take the vague goal “I want to make more money” and re-frame it using the SMART framework.


Specific

Specificity is the difference between saying “I want to make more money” and “I want to increase revenue by 15%.” Including the 15% makes the goal more realistic because it transforms the goal from vague to concrete. Keeping your goals grounded makes planning and striving for them easier.


Measurable

A good business goal can be measured to determine success. In our example, revenue is fairly obvious as the main metric. But the data is for more than just tracking purposes. For our example, you could break down overall revenue data by source and see where any snags in revenue flow might be. By always measuring goals against a metric, you can keep yourself on track and take action when needed.


Attainable

Anyone invested in a performance-based skill knows that it’s important to set smaller, achievable goals rather than think that success will happen overnight. Your business is no different. Set goals that you could realistically achieve this year. A 90% increase in revenue this year is probably a pipe dream, but with some work 15% might be realistic. Adjust for your business based on past performance.


Relevant

It probably goes without saying that you want your business goals to be relevant to your business. Take a moment to consider why you have this goal. How does this goal help overall business? How does it help my clients? It makes sense to talk to your staff about goals for the year, too. Not only will they have great insight into client and staff needs, but you’ll also be counting on them to help you achieve your goals, and you’ll want their buy-in.


Time-Bound

Increasing revenue by 15% is a great goal, but when do you want to hit that mark? One year from now? Two? Part of making goals specific and attainable is setting realistic end-dates for them, and holding yourself accountable. “I want to increase revenue by 15% by the end of year” is a much more powerful goal than “I want to increase revenue by 15% eventually.” If you find yourself never meeting your goals on time, it might be because they aren’t attainable in the initial time frame you set

By using the SMART goal framework, we’ve transformed our vague goal of making more money into a goal that is specific (15%), measurable (against year-over-year revenue), attainable (based off revenue projections), relevant (increased revenue = good for business ), and time-bound (one year). And that’s a goal we can realistically go after.

If you’ve never used the SMART goal framework before, you may find the first time a little tricky. But the method works, and after a while you’ll likely find yourself setting SMART goals without even realizing it.

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