Do you have S.M.A.R.T.E.R. G.O.A.L.S.?
Why is business goal setting so important?
There’s so much hype at year-end or the beginning of a new year about making it the “best year ever.” What is that all about? Any smart business owner wants to top the year before.
Successful entrepreneurs know exactly what to do to make that happen. Others just go through the motions for a while and, when they don’t see any sort of results, they go on to the next company or drop off the face of the earth all together. That’s why business goal setting is so critical.
You don’t need a new year to dawn to have a business goal setting session. You can, and should, do one quarterly, maybe even monthly or weekly when you are first getting started. To help in your projections, collecting data consistently. Any good business goal setting strategy involves knowing your key performance indicators (which we will talk about in just a bit). You also want to make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.E.R. according to a book we read by Michael Hyatt.
Let’s dive into some goal setting strategies so that you can get the most out of your goals. We’ve devised a great 5-step strategy that will help you in brainstorming the perfect goals for your next month, quarter or year. We’ll also take a look at the common S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal template to get you on your way to crushing some goals! So hold on tight – let’s go!
A 5 Step Strategy for Business Goal Setting
To help you remember a good goal setting strategy, think of G-O-A-L-S. In your own business goal setting session, you need to …
- Get Specific
- Opt for a Few Goals
- Aim for Your Discomfort Zone
- Look at Your Progress
- Seek Support
David recently had me do an assessment of our own business over the past 12 months. We have been working with our business goal setting program. We scheduled a time where we could review each other’s assessments.
We designed a business goal setting worksheet for our purposes and found it extremely helpful. So, we’ve updated it just for you, and you can grab your own copy here to use for your own business goal setting.
In the corporate business world, you have a review with your boss every year. You’ve worked all year to get better at your job to make a good impression. Why should it be any different for a small business like yours?
As a business owner of your own company, you must also strive to be better, to learn more, to invest in what will benefit the business. You want to make a good impression because you are the owner. That’s a higher level than just an employee. Business goal setting should be a priority and focus.
Let’s take a look at the five principles of business goal setting we set out above.
Business Goal Setting 101 Principle 1: Get Specific and Write Goals Down
To define your goals, look ahead and ask yourself, “What will I regret if I don’t accomplish it this year?” What are you trying to grow and by how much? Pick a key performance indicator, an amount, and way to measure. A “key performance indicator” is simply a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success.
For example, perhaps you want to grow your customer base by 100 which will lead to $5,000 more per month (assuming $50/mo/customer in residual income). Your company back office keeps track of the numbers so your calculations are basically taken care of. (If it doesn’t, I can show you a solution to enhance your current business model.)
In addition, write down your goals, post them in a visible place, and know why they are important. I’ve heard a statistic that if you write down your goals, you are 42% more likely to achieve them.
Some people make dream boards. Dream boards are a great way to imagine a preferable future. By comparison, goals are actionable. So it’s just as important to keep your goals highly visible.
Business Goal Setting 101 Principle 2: Opt for only a Few Goals
Don’t overextend yourself and take on more than you could possibly accomplish. The longer you are in this business the more you realize that business goal setting is crucial and should include a minimum and maximum expectation. These goals can be broken down into short-term goals, mid-term goals, and long-term goals with no more than three goals in each category.
Imagine what would happen if you did nothing in your business this year. What if your business goal setting analysis came up with nothing different than what you had done before? Would you expect your business to grow?
Business Goal Setting 101 Principle 3: Aim for Your Discomfort Zone
Set goals that push you outside your comfort zone and make you a bit uncomfortable. When we set easily attainable goals, we don’t stretch or grow ourselves. On the other hand, if you go crazy and set completely unreachable goals, that can be demotivating.
Of course, the challenge with uncomfortable goals is that fear and doubt will creep in. If you don’t spend enough time doing your personal development, your confidence may be like a roller coaster. You’ll sometimes feel like you are getting no where fast. You see others around you succeeding and just wonder what’s wrong with you. You may even have results but not recognize them for what they are.
We’ve seen it. We’ve experienced it, too.
Each time we spend a few hundred dollars for another course, we wonder if we’ve lost our marbles. Then we realize that to get ahead in this industry we need to be knowledgeable and able to help people where they are. That’s what our business model is all about.
You’ll see that that is what a lot of the top trainers are about as well. They invest in themselves. If you’re just a product salesman, you still need to know these techniques, you just don’t need to teach them.
Do what makes you nervous. If it’s recording videos, make a goal to record at least one per week. Recordings are made to be edited!
Business Goal Setting 101 Principle 4: Look at Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress will help you have a better chance of meeting your goals. Keeping your business goal setting results front and center, on the radar so to speak, will benefit your business.
If you are promoting your business on social media, keep track of the different platforms you are using. How many contacts are being made? Of those contacts, how many are being exposed to something you have to offer? Of those exposed, how many are making a purchase? Of those purchasing, what are they buying?
You may need or want to keep this separated by platform (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) as well. While very similar, marketing on different social media is also very different. That’s a whole different matter and training for another day.
Your business goal setting worksheet should include options for evaluating and quantifying your results. The example in the foregoing paragraph is exactly that.
You will begin to see patterns. Use this data to help you in scheduling your daily tasks, knowing how many hours a week you need to work and when, etc.
Business Goal Setting 101 Principle 5: Seek Support
The goals you come up with on your business goal setting worksheet are for your eyes only. However, if you are working with a partner or spouse, they should also do an analysis. When done, you can compare notes for an even better assessment of reality.
However, sometimes we need to seek support. Accountability may be one of the most crucial elements to your home business success. Share your business goal setting results with a trusted friend or adviser. Work out a plan for them to keep you on track and accountable for hitting those goals.
Supportive friends or colleagues may even help you dream bigger to challenge yourself to a degree they feel is appropriate. (We often limit ourselves out of “protection.”)
The S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal System
Now that you have that amazing 5-step process, you might want to clarify some of your goals using the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. system. You may have heard of SMART goals in the past, but we’ve updated it to SMARTER after reading Michael Hyatt’s book, “Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving You Most Important Goals.” Remember, your goals don’t have to be just business goals. This S.M.A.R.T.E.R. system works just as well for personal goals. We’ll lay it out real simple for you.
S = Specific
The “S” is shared between both of the methods we reveal to you in this article. It’s that important. Your goals need to be SPECIFIC. What does that mean? A specific goals clearly state what you are going to do. You use action words in crafting these goals. Instead of saying, I want to recruit more reps into my business, to be more SPECIFIC you would say, “I want to recruit 10 reps into my business each month.” That is an example of a specific goal.
M = Measurable
The “M” indicates our goal should be measurable. Can you quantify a result from this goal? Because you want to be able to track your progress (Principle 4 of our G.O.A.L.S. strategy), your goal needs to be measurable. It can be fun to track your progress. If we look at our first example, we not only made it specific, but we set a number we can track. You have actually set two measurable elements: time (one month) and amount (10 people). As the month progresses, you can see how you are doing. At day 15, for example, are you ½ way to your goal and have 5 people? Hyatt calls those the markers or milestones you can set and track.
A = Actionable
What makes a goal “actionable?” Using action words, like start, lose, grow. Avoid passive actions like “am”, “be” or “have.” Because goals are something you are going to “do,” you want to make sure the “doing” part is clear, concise, and easy to act on. For purposes of our illustration, do you see the action word? Recruit, as in find and start serving. That’s something you can do. You can recruit. The goal sets the boundaries of how many. Another great example would be “Be more health conscious” is not as strong of a goal as “Walk for 30 minutes a day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You can clearly act on the 2nd one.
R = Risky
This is a little bit of a surprise quality, but I think you’ll understand why it is included in this new and improved “SMARTER” process. You were perhaps expecting “Realistic” and that’s another good “R” option but will often limit you if you start too low by being realistic. In other words, sometimes the “safe route” is not the best route. When a goal is risky, it will push you harder, cause you to focus more, and you’ll get a bigger reward than if you simply “settled” for a goal you felt you could attain because it was more “realistic.” People like a challenge. Use one notch above your comfort zone level and you’ll have a risky goal.
T = Timely or Time Bound
Time is precious. Goals should be time bound. If you don’t put an end date on your goal or set the expectation, there is no deadline. People respond better when there is a deadline. Especially procrastinators need a time bound goal. The example we gave hit on that as well with the 30-day expectation.
It may have seemed like a simple goal at first, to recruit 10 more business reps every 30 days, but it hit all the criteria (so long as it is relevant).
So, if you are working with us for any goal setting session, we are likely to ask you if your goals are SMARTER goals. Now you’ll know what we mean. Here are some other examples to illustrate this framework.
E = Exciting
When you goal is excited, you’ll be inspired and have a better chance of reaching it. Is there a bit of a thrill involved? You know those little butterflies you get sometimes when something is new or when you are looking forward to something? That kind of exciting. Just in case you might get a little sluggisih in making your goals happen, you need a goal that inspires and acts as a catalyst to help you reach that goal, as well as other goals. You’re compelled to attain it because you can’t imagine a life without it.
R = Relevant
Doesn’t this seem like a no-brainer. Why would you bother setting goals that didn’t matter, that weren’t relevant or meaningful to you? A relevant goal will be one that makes sense for you. It’s a goal that is going to improve your business in some way. If you take a look at our example, maybe you would realize that 10 people new every month is just more than you can handle or support with the time you are able to devote to your business. It would actually be a detriment in some ways to have that many new reps. So, therefore, a smaller number is more “relevant.”
S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal Examples
Example #1 – Pay Off $10K of Business Start-Up Debt Within 10 Months. This would require a $1K payment per month. For purposes of this example, there was $1200/month in profit being generated by the new business.
Example #2 – Plan and Hold 2 Financial Planning Webinars Every 30 Days.
Example #3 – Reach Out to 5 New People Every Day on Social Media
Example #4 – Record a Live Video Every Day For 100 Days
When you combine the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. system with the G.O.A.L.S. Strategy, you can be sure you’ll have crafted some of the best goals. Now the time is ready to start working toward those goals. Are you ready? Do you feel the confidence you need to do some effective goal setting? You’ve got some tools here to get you started. But sometimes we need something more. Check out this “Bonus Goal.”
A BONUS Goal
Here’s a BONUS goal everyone should put on their goal sheet: take good care of yourself. This goal should never be taken lightly. Being an entrepreneur can be tough on you. You may experience long nights, working through mealtime, lots of rejection.
It’s important to remember to take care of yourself so you don’t get burned out. Don’t ever short change your rest. You want to bring the best version of you to each day. Relaxing a little each day will also improve your mindset and overall well-being. If you can throw a laugh or two in the mix, all the better.
Personal development of some kind should be on everyone’s goal sheet. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs will be critical in your success at business goal setting and following through.
If you haven’t already downloaded your business goal setting worksheet, download it here. Then set aside some time to complete the worksheet. If you are looking for an accountability partner, be sure to comment on this article. We’ll get you connected to a great group.
Blessings to you as you set your business goals!
David & Dana
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