Setting goals is an art. A vision without a goal or plan is just a dream. Having an idea is not enough and what determines success and failure is the way an idea is executed to achieve a certain result. We have all set a goal in life and to achieve that, we go through a process of careful planning and then implementation.
Achieving business goals is no different but the risks are higher. They need to be executed in a way that brings minimum error as a lot of risk factors are involved when it comes to running a business, be it small or big. Over time different techniques have been used to set those, but the most popular one in recent times has been S.M.A.R.T goal setting.
What is S.M.A.R.T goal setting?
Every letter in this word is a way to set goals. It is a tool that helps break down goal setting into various steps which helps in setting clearer goals. The word S.M.A.R.T is an abbreviation of the combination of following words in a sequential order.
And Time Bound
The answer is in the name. You should always set specific goals. They should be clear and precise and indicate a certain direction you want to go in. You can use this to measure how successful your goal has been. Specific goals don’t just state “I need to increase profits”, they also need to state how you want to get there or by how much you want to increase your profits.
Example: “I need to increase the revenue of my business by 10%”.
By specifying a certain target, you can measure the success or failure of your goal through that number or any other unit of measure.
This is a way to quantify the progress of the goal. It helps track the progress of what you want to achieve. A measurable goal is one that takes a specific goal and then gives it an indicator through which you can measure the success of that goal.
Example: I want to increase the revenue of my business by 10% through generating more traffic.
This has now given the goal, a way to be achieved. You can track your progress by checking the amount of traffic you have generated for your business. Every business has an online presence now and higher traffic leads to higher sales which results in increased revenues for the business.
Success indicators are what sets S.M.A.R.T goals apart from any other way of goal setting.
We all like reaching for the stars and dreaming big, but in practical life goals need to be realistic. While having big goals is not bad, there are a lot of other factors that need to be assessed while running a business.
A successful business adapts to changes in time and any goal that is being kept should reflect that.
Example: I will increase the revenue of my business by 10%, through generating more traffic. Traffic will be generated through launching a successful social media marketing campaign.
Social media has impacted everything around us by a tremendous margin. While you know that you have to drive traffic, you also need a clear how. Social media marketing campaigns are the most effective way of gaining more traction. You have now set an attainable goal by researching the industry around you and what works well.
These goals need to be relevant to your overall business. You have set clear goals but you also need to check if your company has the relevant resources or capabilities to achieve that goal.
Example: I will increase the revenue of my business by 10%, through generating more traffic. Traffic will be generated through launching a successful social media marketing campaign. However, to ensure its success a social media management business will be hired to launch it for us.
This is now relevant to your business, if your business does not have a very strong marketing team or your business does not have the tools to generate traffic. It helps clarify the goal and make it relevant to the way your business operates.
This one is a no-brainer. You need to set a certain deadline to ensure your goals are achieved. Creating a time limit acts as a force to push you forward in achieving the goal.
Example: Apply the same example as above and add a time limit i.e. the above goal can be achieved over a period of a year.
Now, you know that within a year you have to generate traffic through a successful marketing campaign and increase your revenue. It is good to keep a realistic deadline which drives you to move forward. A stringent deadline or a time frame that is too long can make or break the whole process. Being rigid with your time can make you do everything in a hurried manner and being loose with the deadline can make you achieve that goal in a lazy manner.
There should be a balance and a time limit should act as a motivator to ensure the success of your goals.
Why are S.M.A.R.T goals important for business growth?
They help in understanding the bigger picture
Gives a clear path to follow which results in less mistakes
It helps breaks down your goal in steps which helps in achieving the vision systematically
You can use such goals to review the performance of your overall business
It helps a business in prioritising. Once you know what your business needs, you will prioritise things that will help you in fulfilling those needs
Get smart and use this method to set goals. This methodology is not just about setting goals, it can also act as a checklist for your business to evaluate its success later on and see where the strengths and weaknesses of your business lie. As the old saying goes: “Work smart, not hard!”