Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Perhaps you are aspiring to be Canada’s smartest person? In the world of business it does not really matter because your objective is to establish SMART goals which have nothing to do with these gimmicky entertainment features.
SMART as you have guessed or already know is a business mnemonic. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. When establishing goals for your business, understanding how these five elements impact on your decisions will ensure you have made the right choices.
Setting goals is not a guessing game. By using the SMART principle, if you think of it as a simple five-step process, you can turn the task of setting goals into a meaningful marketing strategy.
Briefly, here’s what each step in the process entails.
Step one – Specific: It is not enough of a goal to say that you are going to increase business. That’s a generality. It is better to be more focused on the outcome of your goal by stating something like we will increase business by 10 per cent.
Step two – Measurable: There is no point in setting a goal if you cannot track whether you are being successful. While it is fine to say you will increase business by 10 per cent, what does this mean in actual numbers? Is it $10,000 or $50,000? Make sure when you set your goal it can be tracked.
Step three – Attainable: I had a student once who claimed that in their first year of operating a business after college they would pay off all their student loans, buy a new car, a house, be mortgage free, hire a staff of three and generate revenue in excess of $500m. A dream perhaps; however, goals should be something that are attainable and based on thorough analysis of the market.
Step four – Realistic: As in step three it is essential that you establish goals that are realistic. By being honest with yourself ask if the goal you have set is something that can happen? Have you taken into consideration any obstacles that may get in the way of being successful? No point in stating that you are going to sell 100 units when research tells you there are only 50 people in the market for them.
Step five – Time-bound: Business goals should always have a timeline or deadline attached to them. Similar to overstating their attainability as the student in step three, goals without a time frame are just wishful thinking or at best a dream.
By establishing clearly stated goals you can then put together strategies that will become an actionable plan. A plan that will help you achieve what you want to accomplish in order to make your business a success.
Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org