When was the last time that you looked at your business goals? Today? Last week? Last month? Last Year? If it has been awhile, maybe it’s time that you dusted off those goals and refresh your mind on why you set those goals in the first place. Goal setting can be a very powerful technique for achieving specific outcomes if used correctly. So let’s give goal setting one more try.
First, let’s look at why we failed to achieve our goals. Were your goals not realistic or specific enough to achieve? Did you lose your focus? Whatever the reason you can get back on track by following these simple steps. SMART is an acronym that you can use as a guide to accomplish your goals. What does SMART stand for? (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). When setting goals, your objectives should be specific, otherwise you will not be able to focus your efforts to obtaining the goal. For example, we want to increase our sales by 30%. Next your goal needs to be measurable so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Using the example, above our goal would be, to increase our sales by 30% by next year. How is a goal achievable? It will stretch your abilities but still remain possible. You may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources to obtain it. Can we increase our sales by 30% next year? Is that goal really achievable based on your current situation. How is a goal relevant? Is the goal relevant and in line with your other goals? We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s important to retain control over them. Is your goal timely? You need to have a realistic time frame for accomplishing your goals. By ensuring that the goal matters to you and aligns with other relevant goals will allow you to achieve the results you are trying to achieve. For example, the goal needs to have a target date. This helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer term goals.
Sometimes we need to break larger goals up into smaller goals in order to achieve our objectives. Don’t be afraid to take your goals and create sub goals if necessary to achieve your objectives. SMART goals is an effective tool that will provide clarity, focus and motivation to achieve your small business goals. It can also improve your ability to reach your goals by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date. You may found out that the reason you have not achieved your goals was because your goals were too vague and not obtainable.
Here are some examples of SMART goals:
- In one month, I am going to sell my custom wooden pens on EBay, which will allow me to benefit financially from my hobby. Within six weeks, I will have an inventory of 50 wooden pens to sell and aim to sell a minimum of 10 pens per week through building customer relationships through word of mouth, referrals and networking.
- I want to be established as an expert in my field, so I will write a 200-page book on reading financial statements by writing one chapter per month (6-8 pages per week). The book will be completed within 12 months.
Remember patience is a must. Any goals due in the next year should be reviewed at least once per week and daily if possible. Why so frequently? It forces you to make big decisions and determine priorities. By keeping track of goals that are not being achieved on time or goals on which you keep extending the deadline will allow us to make the changes so that we still can achieve them. So try to use SMART goals in your business and see the results. You will be glad you did. Let me know if this worked for you.