How SMART Goals Can Help You Make Smart Progress

When people are talking about goals for their life or their business, it’s easy to keep things generic and bold. Saying “I want to grow my business” is less scary than “I want to grow my business’ income my five percent by the end of the year.” One is easy to brush off and one requires a plan that can be tracked, measured and evaluated. One can be built into a strategic plan and one is just a wish.

Without Goals that are SMART – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based – it’s hard to work toward meeting and exceeding your goals. But where do you start? We can help:

Specific: Goals need to be specifically outlined. If you want to grow your business, do you mean you want to increase your profits? Add staff? Serve more clients? What is the end goal? While some of those boats may rise together, for you to measure your success, you have to get into the specifics of what “growth” means to you.

Measureable: Profits, staff size, sales… those are all measureable goals. However, if your goal is around something like community impact, branding or staff training, things get a bit more nebulous. For example, let’s look at branding. Are you going to send out surveys? Are you going to measure the growth of your social media channels? What’s the number for your goal?

Attainable: Goals should be challenging, but attainable. If you’re going to stay motivated, you need to be able to celebrate successes along the way. If you want to grow your business by five percent, consider the growth you’ve had in the past and what you’ll need to do to see that five percent increase. However, if your business has grown five percent every year, then maybe you can aim for a 7 or 10 percent growth goal.

Relevant: Business growth is likely a relevant goal because most people do want to grow their businesses, but what if that’s not your end game? What if you want to be able to sell your business at the end of the year? In that case, business growth is important, but it might not be the goal you really need to work toward. Maybe your goal is to create a business handbook by the end of the year? Maybe you need to have a business sales plan in place by the end of the year? Goals aren’t always percentage based.

Time-Based: This one is easy – at what point will you measure your progress against your goal? A quarter, a year or two years? Whatever your goal is going to be, it needs a timeline for success.

So let’s look back at our original goal statement: “I want to grow my business’ income by five percent by the end of the year.” Is that a SMART goal? It’s specific: You want to grow your business by five percent in a year. It’s measurable: That’s where the five percent comes in. It’s attainable: This is subjective based on your past business year-over-year growth, but we’ll assume yes for this exercise. Is it relevant: Again, this is subjective, but we’ll assume you want to grow your business, since that seems likely. Is it time-based: Yes! The goal is to reach that five percent growth by the end of the year. How can you rethink your goals to be SMART goals so you can plan, track, measure and evaluate your progress and then take additional action? If you need help, contact your local Growth Coach!

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