Do you ever feel like you are putting in a lot of effort but not getting anywhere?
When you look back over the last five or ten years, you may notice little progress in your competencies or accomplishments. Or perhaps you are unsure how you will achieve your goals in the coming years.
Numerous individuals spend their entire lives bouncing from one career to the next or scrambling around attempting to complete more while actually achieving little to nothing.
Setting SMART business goals allows you to clarify your ideas, spend your energy, make efficient use of time and resources, and boost your likelihood of attaining your career aspirations.
SMART objectives are a somewhat new concept. It is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound, created by George T. Doran.
In 1981, Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, wrote: "There is a SMART Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives."
In the paper, he introduced SMART goals as a tool for developing strategies that would help maximize the likelihood of achieving a goal.
He realized that businesses must accomplish goals and expectations, but he believed that many established goals were too broad to have a significant impact. He elaborated on the fact that goals are not abstract, inarticulate entities.
Instead, they are measurable goals that must be met in order for an organization to progress. If you set ill-defined or unclear goals, you will not get where you want to go because you are not charting a clear path.
The strength of SMART goals is found in the simple formula associated with this easy-to-remember acronym. When your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound, you increase your chances of success.
Firstly, when you begin setting your objectives, you may only have a hazy idea of what you expect to achieve. However, as you progress through the means, you will have to be as specific as possible about your goal.
A well-defined purpose should precisely mention what you want to achieve, why it is an important goal, and how you intend to achieve it. If your goal is vague, you will never know whether or not you have attained it.
It is best to use the five 'W' questions to help you break the goals down as specific as possible.
What do you want to achieve? Why is this objective important? Who is involved in achieving this goal? Where is it located? Which resources do I have in hand?
An example of an excellent specific objective is, "I want to attain the knowledge and expertise required to become the head of marketing within my organization so that I can advance my career and guide a flourishing team." This sentence clearly defines the five 'W' questions, which makes the goal much clearer.
Once you have determined what you want to achieve, you must make sure that you are able to measure your progress to achieve it.
It is crucial that your goals can be measured. Otherwise, you would not be able to know how much or how little progress you and your team have made.
Setting a measurable goal allows you to estimate a realistic time frame to check your progress and the end result.
A measurable goal should include a plan with benchmarks and timelines in which you can use to ensure you're heading in the right direction throughout the process, as well as a clear indication of when you've accomplished it.
An objective without a measurable outcome is analogous to a sporting event without a scoreboard or scorekeeper. Numbers are a crucial aspect of a business. Therefore, it is advisable to put concrete numbers in your goals.
An example of a measurable goal is, "I would like to increase productivity in project completion, and team member's reported satisfaction survey by 25%". All in all, it allows you to assess everyone's progress that helps to keep you committed and motivated.
Moving on, many investors have discarded small businesses' ideas due to outrageous goals that are impossible to reach within a specified time. Therefore, this point ensures you confirm whether your goals are realistically achievable within the time that you have set for yourself and your team.
It puts emphasis on how significant the goal is to you and what you can do to make it all happen, which may necessitate learning new skills and improving your attitude. The purpose is to empower motivation rather than discouragement.
You have to consider how you will achieve the goal and whether you have the necessary resources. If not, you have to take into account what it would take to acquire those resources that you do not have.
This point makes sure to keep you grounded. It ensures that you do not create goals that are too ambitious, which later will make you disappointed.
An example of a realistic and achievable goal is, "I must set time aside every week to watch PowerPoint tutorials and enrol in an online class that can teach me new knowledge, for me to improve my PowerPoint skills and move forward in my career".
Apart from that, relevance is when the focused goal goes hand-in-hand with other larger business goals. This step ensures that your goal is necessary to you and that it is also aligned with other desired outcomes.
We all need guidance and support to achieve our goals, but it is critical to maintain our grip over them. The reason being is that the relevance of a business goal often determines its likelihood of success.
Any goals that do not align with all of the other factors that affect your business, both directly and indirectly, are frequently unattainable.
Hence, you must make sure that the objectives set should make sense in relation to your firm's operations, mission statement, target audience, and the market industry.
As a result, it will assist in making sure that your plans propel everyone forward in achieving the specified goals. An example of a relevant goal is, "I use 25% of the time in my job using PowerPoint. In order for me to move forward in my career, I have to take more lessons to improve my presentation skills.
Lastly, as mentioned earlier, each goal must be set within a specified timeframe in order for one to monitor their progress. If there is no timeline attached to the goal-setting process, business targets will clearly do not get accomplished.
Therefore, you must choose a time frame to achieve each of the business goals. Whether it is to boost sales by 20% or to obtain five potential customers, specify the duration and the deadline.
Inquire specifically about the goal deadline and what can be fulfilled within that given timeframe. If the target will take four months to complete, defining what should be accomplished halfway through the process is practical.
Plus, adding time constraints adds a sense of urgency. The benefit of this SMART criteria, it helps to prevent us from taking priority over the other longer-term goals.
An example of this is, "I will need to launch the app by the second quarter to achieve 50,000 mobile app installs and a 5% conversion rate by the end of the fiscal year".
As the owner and creative founder of Tomodomo, he claimed that his company uses SMART goals as part of its planning process.
The reason being it assist them to improve their planning process by adding more structure and reducing vagueness.
For example, he mentioned that they rewrite their goals that is more quantifiable, such as "We will redesign our landing page, aiming to increase our net promoter score by 10%."
The CEO of Power Digital Marketing, Mr Lafrenz, said that the usage of SMART goals helped his employees by increasing motivation and reaching desired goals.
He mentioned that each team targets the critical goals to achieve each week. Those who managed to execute all the goal hits got to receive an award from the company.
Hence, this implementation of SMART goals helped the employees to be more motivated to perform better, which consequently benefits the company's success.
Mr Schultz is the president of the RAIN Group, and he mentioned that using SMART goals to track your progress weekly can lead to double execution and achievement of the company's objectives.
He gave an example of one of their goal, which is to generate sales of ready leads per quarter through marketing efforts. He broke it down into each SMART criteria:
Breaking down the goals into a more specific and quantifiable plan allows his company to understand what is needed to achieve. As a result, they managed to gain revenue up to 33% due to solid lead activity.
Applying SMART business goals in your everyday routine provides you with a clear target for you and your company.
You fully know what and when you're supposed to meet the target due to detailed objectives and the time-bound.
After all, this makes it easier to tell when you have made progress, and it also makes it more difficult to procrastinate.
The ability to track your progress keeps you motivated and engaged. It will provide a sense of productivity, which is a good morale booster for the team.
And since SMART business goals are measurable, it is easier to see when you have strayed from your intended path and to correct your path.
The realistic factor in SMART business goals encourages you to think critically about what you need to accomplish your goal.
It assists you in determining whether achieving your objective is not only possible but also more likely to make use of the resources at your disposal.
Hence, you will be able to make better planning for your company to move forward.
Setting goals for your small business is a necessary tool for success. SMART is a beneficial tool for providing the specificity, focus, and encouragement required to achieve your objectives.
It can also help you achieve them by urging you to define your goals and set a deadline for completion. It is also simple to implement and can be used by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialised tools or training.
However, it is critical to review your goals on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed. All in all, there is no telling how much more a team can accomplish in the same amount of time when there is clarity about the work being done.
Eventually, it will contribute to the growth and success rate of the business in the future.