We are at the halfway point of the first quarter of the year and many of us are beginning to assess the goals we have set for the first quarter of the year and starting to plan for the next quarter.
Previously, I talked about the importance of setting goals as a small business. Whether it's goals we’ve set for our marketing, sales, or customer service, we need to regularly evaluate these goals to make sure we are developing our business in the way we want.
The problem I often see is that many business owners set goals for themselves that are unrealistic, unachievable, and unpractical. As a result, they end up disappointed and dismayed when they do not reach these goals and feel discouraged from setting any more in the future.
In addition to setting broad, unattainable goals, I also see owners not set any goals. This often is due to a fear of failure. They want to minimize the blow to their integrity if they don’t achieve them.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Many owners and individuals have trouble when it comes to setting goals. My tip for you is to start S.M.A.R.T.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Framed.
Let’s break it down a little more.
Specific: Our goals should be clearly defined or identified. They should not be broad or vague. The key to this is narrowing your focus and breaking down your desires. If our focus is to increase the number of clients, then you can’t make a vague goal such as “I want to increase clients.”
A more specific goal would be, “Increase the number of clients by 10.”
We can do this with any aspect of your business whether it’s sales, customer service, or marketing. Whatever we choose, we must focus on one individually, then create specific goals for each one.
Measurable: Our goals should be quantifiable to track progress. This asks the question of how we will measure whether the goal has been achieved or not? What metrics will we use? For example, instead of just saying “I will increase the number of clients by 10.” We need to set up a way to measure it. So something like we will measure the number of new clients in our 5 Ways monthly tracker.
Sometimes we may need to make your goals qualitative too. This is fine, but make sure to add some type of quantitive way that you can measure and track over time. If you can't measure it, then it's not a SMART goal.
Achievable: We don’t want to rain on your parade or stop you from dreaming big, but our goals should be feasible. We should be able to reach these goals successfully. They should not be impossible or overly inflated. We can best do this by evaluating your present and past results and determining what would be a bit of a stretch but still achievable next step.
This is another reason it is so important to be keeping track of your analytics continuously in your business. Having a picture of where we are gives us the information we need to plan for the future.
Relevant: We want to make sure that the goal is tied into our 3 year business plan - it needs to be relevant to the bigger picture. As you write your goals, determine the purpose or benefit of achieving this goal.
We should make goals with consideration of your business and your industry. As we mentioned before, you want to look at your analytics and determine reasonable next steps. For example, if your business obtains most of its clients through referrals and strategic partnerships, that is an aspect that is specific to your business or industry and should be defined in your goal if you wish to increase clients in that manner. So then your goal would be, “I will increase my revenue by gaining 6 new clients through referrals and strategic partnerships.”
Time-Framed: We should create goals with a timeline or deadline in mind. If not, we will not be able to measure progress and we don’t have a deadline to accomplish them. Having a time set to achieve your goals puts pressure on you and your team to achieve it. It also helps you determine the priorities of your goals, with you and your team focusing on the goals that are approaching quickly.
Having SMART goals will change the way your business will approach goals with the biggest change being greater confidence when it comes to setting goals. You can avoid the disappointment of failure that many business owners fear. It allows you to give more guidance to your team and sets a clear focus with achievable steps. Overall, you will know what to expect of your employees and they know what to expect of you.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can set SMART goals for your small business. Give us a call today to get connected with our certified business coaches. You could even schedule a complimentary two-hour strategy session to discuss this topic further.
Additionally, we have created a SMART goals worksheet for you to go over with your team.
I am a certified Business Coach, providing business help, business advice, business coaching and mentoring services to successful and emerging business owners. I have a passion for helping businesses like yours grow and become profitable, so you, the business owner can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.
As your Business Coach and advisor, I will help you deliver the results you desire using proven tools, methodologies and systems, tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide for over more than two decades. I will hold you accountable for your results and just like a sports coach, push you to perform at optimal levels. Let's schedule a complimentary Business Coaching session to get started.