SMART goals for your business ensure a clear sense of what you want to accomplish and the path to getting there—something that can be elusive for many entrepreneurs. Having a clear, well-defined focal point for your efforts can be enlightening for an overworked entrepreneur trying to stay on track. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. You can actively work towards completing your goal on a weekly basis with a clear sense of how you are performing. Let’s take a closer look at what a SMART goal looks like in business, how to set them, and some tools you can use to better track them.
SMART Goals for Your Business
A SMART goal for your business breaks down the steps and resources necessary to achieve a goal. They can be small like updating the testimonials on your website, or larger ones that change the structure of your business.
Specific: The more specific your goal becomes, the easier it is to achieve. Instead of saying “Hire a new employee for marketing,” your goal would be “By June of next year, hire a new junior-level social media marketing manager with 2–3 years of experience in implementing influencer marketing campaigns.”
Measurable: Tracking the progress and effectiveness of the goal you set is key to ensuring your success. If achieving the goal is a yes/no answer then consider a more specific goal. For example, if you want to increase your network by the start of the next quarter, then include how many people or business you will network with per event you attend.
Achievable: Can you actually achieve this goal? There’s nothing wrong with aspiration, but excessive aspirations put you in danger of failing more often than you succeed. Do you know what steps to take, how much time does each step really take to complete, and do you have the capital or resources necessary to accomplish it?
Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your big dreams. For instance, if your goal is to spend money rebranding your company that might not help you increase revenue. Each goal you set should bring you one step closer to achieving something bigger.
Time-Based: Finally, your goals should be clearly set within a reasonable time frame. There are many risks when setting a deadline. You could procrastinate and fall behind, a step could take longer then you originally thought, or an unexpected problem interrupts. Consider adding a bit of extra time then you need to buffer any mishaps along the way. You’ll be happier to end early than late.
Tools for Setting and Measuring SMART Goals
We recommend continually evaluating your SMART goals. Were they effective, was there something you could have done to make it easier for you, what is the next step? To stay on top of your goal, you also need a system in place to track your progress over time, especially for long-term goals that may take a year to accomplish.
- Worksheet: The easiest way to track your goals is a worksheet. Try the IAW SMART Goals Worksheet to organize and track your goal, plus join our accountability check-ins to find a community of women supporting each other.
- Spreadsheet: If you love crunching numbers, then a spreadsheet can track key metrics for your SMART goals over time, significantly if they will change over the course of several weeks or months.
- Paid Tools: Several paid tools offer advanced features for SMART goal tracking. Databox is a business metrics tool that allows you to set up SMART goals for the entire business or for specific employees. More goal-specific software options include Goals on Track and Goalscape, both of which are paid but very specifically designed for goal setting and tracking.
- Mobile Apps: Apps give you easier access to the things that matter most in your tracking. Strides and ATracker offer options that allow you to track multiple goals over time. Goals on Track also offers an iOS app.
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