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Getting SMART About Your Business Goals

Goal setting is a fundamental practice for all businesses, when done correctly it paves the way to success. We know you hear it all the time, "set goals, make a plan, and take action"... but how do you set goals that you will actually achieve? Luckily, we are here to answer that question for you. Let’s break it down!

Goal Setting 101:

Like many companies, we have found that in our experience, following the SMART goals outline has proven to be the most effective way to set, and reach our goals. The framework helps you clearly identify all the details of your goals, increasing your likelihood of achieving them.

What is a SMART goal?

A SMART goal is a goal that is:

  • Specific
    • A generic goal is not going to give you the results you want. To develop a solid, actionable plan on how to get from your current position to your end goal, you need to be specific and detailed. Having a goal to "increase website traffic" is a generic goal, it is not specific enough. You should aim to have your goal answer these questions:
      • Who?
      • What?
      • Where?
      • When?
      • Why?
    • An example of a specific goal would be "I want to increase the number of blog posts and run targeted ads so that I can double my website traffic"
  • Measurable
    • There is value in numbers. Having a goal that is measurable allows you to track your progress and make sure you are on the right path to meeting your goals. Identifying your numerical goal provides you with a concrete result to work towards. Building on the previous example, a measurable goal would be "I want to increase the number of blogs we post and run targeted ads so that I can double my website traffic. I will post 1 high-quality blog post per week and use ads and social media to promote them to targeted audiences"
    • Identifying how you will track your goal is also important, make sure you ask yourself what KPIs, metrics, and milestones you will use.
  • Attainable
    • While it is good to have dreams and aspirations to work towards, it is important to also have goals that are attainable for your business to achieve with the capacity you currently have. When thinking of your goals, you need to ask yourself: Is this realistic for us to achieve? Do we have the tools and skills available to fulfill this goal? If the answer to these questions is no, you may want to reconsider.
  • Relevant
    • It’s easy to get carried away when setting goals for your business, especially if you see your competitors or industry leaders hitting their own milestones. But you need to keep your focus on yourself. The goals you set for your business should be reflective of the overall objectives and principles that guide the direction of the company. If the goal does not support or align with your company’s overall objectives, it likely should not be pursued.
  • Time-Bound
    • Finally, your goals should always have a specific timeline that is clearly outlined. Having a time span for your goals not only motivates you, but it also keeps you accountable in meeting the deadlines you set out for yourself. Adding check points into your time frame, such as a midpoint and final deadline can help you track your progress along the way.
    • Adding a timeframe to our example goal would look like this: "Over the course of the next 6 months, I want to increase the number of blogs we post and run targeted ads so that I can double my website traffic. I will post 1 high-quality blog post per week and use ads and social media to promote them to targeted audiences."
      • Adding this timeframe of six months gives you the ability to monitor progress at the three month mark to know how far you are from reaching the goal, allowing your business to plan accordingly. 

Putting SMART goals to work:

Now that we’ve covered what a SMART goal is, let’s dive into how to effectively use them.

Writing your goals down is going to set you up for the most success. Using a template like this spreadsheet from HubSpot, can be beneficial in a few ways:

  • it helps you to keep your goals organized so that you don’t miss any important details
  • it keeps a detailed record of each goal
  • it gives you the ability to stay focused, track your progress, and hold yourself accountable to achieving your goals

We encourage you to download the template and use it to define, calculate and evaluate your SMART goals. It may sound like a lot more work than just setting a generic goal and hoping for the best, but it really isn't, and the little extra effort is worth it to achieve the results you want. As always, we want to help you work SMARTer, not harder, and this is a great place for you to start. 

If you have any questions about setting SMART goals or need a little help achieving them, we'd love to chat about how our services could help you reach your goals!