Be Smart about Setting Goals
By Rayana T. Starre
Setting SMART goals is a crucial aspect of achieving success in any endeavor.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By setting SMART goals, you can effectively plan and track your progress towards achieving your objectives.
Specific: It’s important to be specific about what you want to achieve. Instead of setting a vague goal like “increase sales,” a specific goal would be “increase sales by 10% in the next quarter.”
Select one important goal in your business that will have the biggest impact on your success this year. Then plan out smaller milestones along the way to check in each week on to make sure you are making progress and keeping that bigger goal top of mind.
Milestones or the smaller steps on the way to achieving that ultimate goal.
Measurable: Goals should be measurable so that you can track your progress and determine whether you have achieved them. This involves setting clear metrics or indicators that can be quantified. For example, if your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, you can measure it by tracking customer feedback ratings or survey responses.
That is why KPI’s – key performance indicators are so important to set up early in a business. Numbers reflect reality. Data shows you trends and patterns over time. They help you figure out what to focus on and where to refine and make adjustments.
Make friends with the numbers and data in your business. It will keep you on track to being more intentional about achieving your goals.
Achievable: Goals should be realistic and attainable. It’s important to set goals that are challenging but still within reach. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and demotivation. Consider your available resources, capabilities, and constraints when setting goals.
Miles Davis said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars.”
Some people like to stretch their limits to see what they are made of. Setting BIG Hairy Audacious Goals empowers and motivates them to go for it and take action.
But there are others who need to take a more slow and steady approach and start smaller to prove that they can do it and build their confidence up.
It is important to know which kind of person you are. Setting realistic and attainable goals is more empowering than being unrealistic and never hitting the mark.
Start small. Track your progress. Celebrate wins. Then challenge yourself with bigger goals after you have some wins under your belt.
Relevant: Goals should be relevant to your overall business objectives and aligned with your long-term vision. They should contribute to the growth and success of your business. Make sure your goals are meaningful and have a direct impact on your business’s performance.
There should be a direct connection to what you want to achieve in your business for the quarter and year to the goals you set. Goals should be leading you to an ultimate destination so they should all be related to each other.
If your main focus for the year is to get momentum with your lead generation and sales so there is a consistent flow, then setting goals that aren’t relevant to those main areas of your business will take you off track and not help you achieve the ultimate goal of growing your business.
Stay focused on what relates specifically to the priorities at hand and set goals related to those immediate priorities.
Time-bound: Goals should have a specific timeframe or deadline. This helps create a sense of urgency and provides a clear timeline for achieving your goals. Setting deadlines also helps you prioritize tasks and allocate resources effectively.
If you don’t have a time frame of some kind, then there is no beginning or end. How do you know if you got there? It is like going on vacation someday but never scheduling the vacation so it never happens.
Set a start and end date. It will motivate you and keep you on track and focused as you watch the days tick on by. It creates urgency. You can always adjust the time frame if needed.
None of this is set in stone or something to use to be a taskmaster or beat yourself up. Afterall, you’re the boss, right? Okay. So be the best boss you’ve ever had and set some SMART goals for yourself.
By setting SMART goals, you increase your chances of success and stay focused on what truly matters. Remember to regularly review and adjust your goals as needed to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with your business’s evolving needs. Try doing a weekly progress check at the end of each week. It will end your work week on a high note making you aware that you are making progress and things are getting done.