About a decade ago, there was a huge trend in education called “SMART Goals.” Teachers, myself included, had to write a SMART goal for each one of our students and ask our students to write SMART goals for themselves in each subject area. While the idea was born in the education system, the concept of SMART goals is perfect when it comes to small business – your small business.
SMART is an acronym.
This concept is ideal when it comes to small business because you have the ability to analyze numeric data as well as know every part of what goes into your business.
Before you decide to create SMART goals for your business, you need to gather some information:
- Gross sales
- Net profits
- Breakdown of costs (Supplies, Marketing, Human Resources, Transportation, Postage, etc.)
- Top-margin items
- Best-selling items
Once you have this information in front of you, plus all your internalized anecdotal experience, I want you to sincerely think about an area of improvement in your business that can fit each aspect of SMART goals.
What does SMART really mean?
S = A specific goal means identifying exactly what you plan on doing without ambiguity or room for interpretation. The difference would be between “I’m going to clean the house today” versus “I will wash the kitchen floor.” Keep it simple.
M = It’s so important to choose a measurable goal to fuel a sense of accomplishment and to track progress. When choosing a measurable goal, be sure it follows the rule of specific. For example – “I will write one blog every week” compared to “I will blog more.”
A = An achievable goal is one you can complete in a timely fashion (see T). You must break down your goals so they are smaller and achievable because we, as humans, need to feel a sense of accomplishment. If we’re constantly working toward one lofty goal without anything smaller, we can lose hope. This is where knowing your numbers is vital – for example, if your average sales are $600 a month, an achievable goal would be to reach $700, even if your ultimate goal is $2000.
R = A reasonable goal is one that is sustainable. Setting a sustainable goal means choosing something you’re able to maintain. While it would be amazing to set a goal to call 100 potential clients every month, that’s hardly sustainable (or reasonable). Consider a goal that you’ll be able to recreate consistently.
T = Timely goal-setting is an integral part of the process. This ensures that we continue to create smaller goals in reasonable time-frames. Most small businesses use the quarterly model (every 3 months), this is a great tool for timely goals. You may need something even smaller, like once a month or once a week, no problem. The trick with timeliness is to not allow yourself too much time to lose focus.
The trick with creating SMART goals in your business is to ensure your goals meet each of the criteria. You may be ultimately working for one large goal, but a SMART goal is much smaller leading you towards your ultimate goal.
Good example: I will send out two email newsletters every month for a full year.
Specific – It gives a clear and simple directive for what the plan is.
Measurable – It states two every month.
Achievable – This is definitely something that can be done. You can set aside a little time each day to write the newsletters or even pre-write and schedule the delivery.
Reasonable – This goal makes perfect sense for business. You don’t want to inundate your customers with emails (especially if you haven’t been sending them), and it’s just enough where you can come up with something to write for each.
Timely – Specifically explains every month.
What are your SMART goals for business this year?