A new year is upon us again, and for those of us running small businesses it’s time to get cracking on our goals.
If you haven’t set any goals yet, there’s still time to create (and hit) targets to keep us on track and out of the unemployment lines. If you’ve had trouble creating goals in the past, check out the following info on making smarter goals.
It’s Time to Get SMART
If you haven't heard of SMART goals before, now's a better time than ever to learn and get started! Smart goals help clarify exactly what it is you want and when you want to achieve it.
The one thing SMART goals don’t tell you is how to get there. That’s why once you set your goals, in order to be successful you need to create a plan to make those goals come true.
Why is This Important?
No matter what stage your business is in, having goals give you clarity and direction. Without these two things, your focus wavers and it becomes harder to stay on track. Plus, it’s hard to keep a business running if you’re not making enough to cover your basic expenses.
What is a SMART Goal?
In order for a goal to be “smart,” it must meet five requirements.
- Your goal must be Specific.
- Your goal must be Measurable.
- Your goal must be Attainable.
- Your goal must be Realistic.
- Your goal must be Time-Bound.
Getting Specific About What You Want
When it comes to achieving goals, the universe favors specificity. Saying you want to make some money is not enough. How much money do you want to make? In what amount of time? For what reason?
Here are a couple of questions to help you cast a vision of what it is you really want:
- How many customers do I want to serve?
- What products or services will I sell?
- Am I adding new products or services this year?
- Will I hire additional staff?
- Planning to open a new location?
The more specific you are, the easier it will be to come up with the steps you need to get there. As you move through the other requirements, your goals will become more specific.
Example: I want to get five new retainers this year.
Measuring Your Vision
This criteria gives you the unit you will use to measure progress. It may be dollars, number of customers, or how many people you hire. No matter what you choose to measure, this is not a qualitative exercise. You will use real numbers and units to determine how close or far you are from meeting your goals.
Example: I want to get five new retainers this year worth $5,000 each. (Saying five new retainers is measurable, but including the dollar amount adds more specificity.)
It’s Not About Making the Impossible Possible
There’s a lot of debate in goal setting about how difficult your goals should be. Many experts recommend you set goals that are impossible to achieve. The idea is that if you fail, you’ll still do better than you would if you set the bar lower.
In SMART goal setting, the goals you choose should be attainable. No crazy goals that you’ll never meet here.
However, many small business owners sell themselves short when it comes to estimating their abilities. Before you decide on your goal, talk it over with a trusted advisor. You may be capable of more than you know.
Example: I want to make an average of $10k monthly by the end of the year.
Your Goal Should Make Sense
Setting goals are pointless if they measure pointless metrics. This means that if you’re trying to increase your income, you wouldn’t set a goal related to brand awareness. People may know about you, but that doesn’t translate into dollars in your pocket. Making sure your goals are realistic and relevant is important.
Example: I want to add an additional three staff members by June.
Give It a Deadline
The last requirement for a SMART goal is that it has a time limit. Your deadline is dependent on the type of goal it is. You could make it happen five minutes or five years from now. Good goal-setters create a mix of short- and long-term goals—so don’t think you need to create all your goals the same.
Example: I want to make 10k monthly by December 31st, 2018.
Are You Ready to Create Smarter Goals Than Ever?
Now that we’ve reviewed the five requirements to setting SMART goals, it’s time to get started. By creating specific goals that you can measure, you’re able to better see the state of your business.
But setting goals is just the beginning. You’ll need to make a plan that breaks down what steps you need to take in order to reach those goals.
If you need help tracking your progress for your financial goals, check out Kashoo. You can quickly and easily see how you’re doing, and where you need to improve. Get started for free today!