Having a goal is the start of any business. Do you want to start a sticker shop? Sell t-shirts? Or lemonade? Setting a goal is the hallmark of knowing what you want and obtaining what you want. It’s a way to lay out what you want to accomplish in term that are clear, concise, and specific.
But not all goals are good. Great goals need certain parts to be cohesive and fully address what you want. Goals that lack definition, timelines, or measurable outcomes will not help you reach your business potential.
So what are these parts that you need? Well, they can be summed up into one easy to remember acronym: SMART
Let’s look at these one by one.
This means defining your goal in a way that is clear and concise. Someone else can pick up and read your goal and understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish. By adding just an extra word or two you can take your non-specific goal to a specific one.
Non-specific: I want to start a business.
Specific: I want to start a lemonade business.
A measurable goal is one, well, that can be measured. Your will want your goal to be able to be quantified in some way in order to track your progress toward it. Having a goal that is measurable allows you to see how far you’ve come and understand what you still need to accomplish.
Non-measurable: I want to start a lemonade business and sell some lemonade.
Measurable: I want to start a lemonade business and sell 1,000,000,000 gallons of lemonade.
Goals that are too lofty will not help you. If a goal is not attainable, you will not have the motivation to work towards it. Every goal should be something that you can actually envision happening.
Non-attainable: I want to start a lemonade business and sell 1,000,000,000 gallons of lemonade.
Attainable: I want to start a lemonade business and sell 100 cups of lemonade.
Okay, this one seems obvious, but it’s still very important. Many business owners set goals that don’t seem to make sense in the scheme of where they are trying to take their business. A goal must be relevant to what you want to accomplish. This ensures that you are going in the right direction. For example, if you wanted to start a lemonade business, you wouldn’t make your goal in terms of how many oranges you sold that week. That sounds ridiculous, but you would be surprised by how many judge themselves and their business based on how many followers they got that week. Whether you gained 1 or 1,000 followers, it wouldn’t help you sell your lemonade. A better indicator would be documenting how many cups of lemonade you actually sold.
Non-relevant: I want to start a lemonade business and gain 100 followers a week.
Relevant: I want to start a lemonade business and sell 100 cups of lemonade.
A goal must have a timeline. This will give you motivation and accountability to work toward it and complete it in a timely manner. A due date or deadline for your goal to be accomplished places accountability for a specified period of time. It helps negate any procrastination you may have.
Non-timely: I want to start a lemonade business and sell 100 cups of lemonade.
Timely: I want to start a lemonade business and sell 100 cups of lemonade each week starting
Each part of a SMART goal works and builds upon itself. It is important for you to have each part in order to be able to have a specific goal that you can quantify and track and show progress towards. These goals need to have a timeline so that you can remain motivated to continue working and to keep you accountable along the way. SMART goals are a great way to be clear and concise with what you want, when you want it and how you are going to get it.
Now that you have the tools, write that SMART goal and let’s go get it!