5 Tips – Setting SMART Goals
When setting goals, if we choose SMART goals, they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based. This means the goals are very clear and easily understood.
Both in our personal lives and business career, it is important to have goals, because without goals, we are not in charge. This often means that other people will set goals for us, or worse, we will drift aimlessly along. If you are thinking of starting a business, you can use smart goals to set yourself milestones for your first year in business. Your goals will keep you on track and should be reviewed every month to see if your SMART goals are realistic or need to be adjusted. In these uncertain times, goal setting is important, more than ever, so you can cut out the noise and get going on your planned path as quickly as possible.
In 2020 it is even more important to set out your SMART goals. These SMART goals will have a much shorter time frame than during a normal year because everything is totally compressed. For example the drug manufacturing companies, such as Pfizer, had to shorten the time frame to develop a COVID vaccine from 10 years to approximately 10 months. To achieve this Pfizer would have to have clear SMART goals and totally disrupt the process of developing a vaccine. So perhaps they followed the SCRUM project management process. (setting short term goals and achievement, ie bite sizes of SMART goals!)
Follow our 5 Tips – Setting SMART Goals.
Isn’t setting SMART Goals a smart idea?
A specific goal clearly states what is to be achieved, by whom, where and when it is to be achieved and sometimes why.
Non-SMART goal: Market my business in Toronto
SMART goal: Start a monthly networking group for women on event planning in Toronto with a monthly attendance goal of 20 women, with 2 per month signed up for my “How to plan your wedding without stress workshop”.(Wedding Planner)
Non-SMART goal: I need to get an online presence for my business\
SMART goal: I want to get an e-commerce store up and running in one month. I can apply for a Digital Mainstream Grant of $2500 to help with the costs. I need to map out the steps so I can get my e-commerce store up and running.
Measuring the goal is applicable both to the end results and the milestones along the way. The measurement helps to assess if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. It answers the questions, how much, how often, how many?
For example, if your goal is to reach sales of $96,000/year, your milestones could be sales of $8,000/month. By having a process to focus on achieving $8,000/month, it will add up to $96,000/year. The goal of $8,000/month is easier to attain, because there could be multiple ways of getting to this goal and it is less stressful to think in smaller amounts.
What get measured get done. Therefore if you measure you will focus to achieve the goal. One good way to measure is to have a dashboard measurement by month. For example:
Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 6 month Total
Sales 6,500 7,500 9,000 8,500 8,500 8,000 48,000
Quotes over $1,000 5 5 5 5 5 5
Quotes to Sales 45% 50% 55% 55% 55% 55%
When setting your goals, ensure that they are achievable. If you believe yourself that you can reach the goal, it is more likely you will be to get there. It is a mistake to put out goals that are unreachable , because you are setting yourself up for failure from the very beginning. Don’t let others set your goals.
This is also true with teams. If the goals that are being set are unrealistic, you won’t get the buy-in from the people you are setting the goals for. With teams, you want them to share in their goal setting so that they contribute to the attainability and own the goal. You can tie a performance incentive to the goal, so that your team knows you are serious about their goals and want them to stretch themselves to reach the target.
When setting goals they fall into long and short term. Understanding how these fit into your organizational or personal vision, mission and purpose is important.
It is tempting to set a goal because it is either easy or sounds great, only to find out later that it has no long term importance to what you want to achieve as an individual or an organization.
5. TIME BASED
This ensures that you put a time-frame to your goals. This can be a great motivator and shouldn’t be seen as a detractor. If for example, you want to run a marathon in one year, then this long term goal can be achieved by concentrating on the system that will get you to run the marathon in one year. This could be going to the Running Room 2x week, for 3 months, 3x week for 6 months, working up to a ½ marathon at 6 months etc. Gradually you will have achieved these short term time based goals which all add up to running the marathon in one year.
This can also help you avoid procrastination because you know you will reach your goal if you stick to your process.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
If you find yourself unable to set a SMART goal, it is usually because that your future plans are not clear enough and you need to do more work to clarify exactly where you want to go within a set time period. Don’t try to skip the process of SMART goal setting and just “go for it”, without analyzing your goals and match them to your vision.
Doing this exercise carefully at the beginning will save you lots of time and disappointment at a later stage and could help you avoid making costly mistakes.
What are your goals? Writing them down, helps clarify your thinking. Can you stretch yourself both personally and in your business by setting three goals in each area?
And a Stretch Goal
We call this a “kick ass” goal, one that scares you and takes you out of your comfort zone, but could elevate your business to a different level. Only pick one kick ass goal, because that is all you will be able to handle in small steps. It could also take you a while to achieve this goal. Maybe six months or a year to make this goal happen.
A Systems Focus Helps You Reach Your Goals
Once you have set a goal, find a way to develop a system to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to write a book in one year and you are not an author, that goal might be overwhelming. Instead, why not try writing 250 words per day. Don’t agonize over what you are writing, just write. At that rate if you write 5 days per week (240 days/year) you will have 60,000 words in a year, which is approximately a 200 page paperback in 1.5 spacing.
The same happens for the entrepreneur. Set the goal, and then find a system to help you reach that goal. Your focus will be on the system and not the goal, but in the end you will reach the goal. In the case of the sales goal, all it may take is consistently achieving 10 quotes per month with a 50% success rate. Jeff Hayden writes in a blog article in Inc. Magazine about how focusing on the system, almost guarantees you success.
Find a supportive person to act as your accountability coach. Share your goals with this person. Then set up a monthly call/meeting to go over your progress. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t reached your goal. Question, is this still a relevant goal? Have I made some progress? Either change your goal if it isn’t effective in six months, or stay the course as long as you have made some progress and you have put in the effort.
Do you have a system to help you reach your goals? Knowing that 2021 is likely to be a repeat of 2020, SMART goals are essential for your small/medium business to survive. It’s easy to lose focus when you are overwhelmed and you are not sure if your business is going to survive, but with collaboration and planning, it will survive!
XL Consulting Group works with clients to define or improve business/marketing strategies for short and long term growth. Call us at 905.639.3555 or contact us for a one hour complimentary session to see if we can help you advance your business to the next level.
Check out some of our other blogs to help you jump start your business.