Business owners do seem to cloud over when I start talking about SMARTER goals, as almost everyone knows what they are, and they do feel like a load of old business jargon. However, fewer people than I thought have SMARTER goals. Goals are essential to have in your business plan, if you want to be able to measure your performance, and that of your business. Without a goal, how do you know when you’ve achieved something that also enables you to celebrate it?

So, to save you from the whole spiel, I’m only going to look at what I believe are the three most valuable parts of SMARTER goals: Specific, Achievable, Realistic, and we’ll touch on measuring, time, evaluating and reviewing as we go.

Get specific

The more specific you are, then I find you have a better chance to create a clear plan that helps you achieve that goal. ‘Increase my customer base’ is not specific enough and does not make it an effective measure of your success, so I would ask you to drill down into what that looks like in real terms.

More customers | More new customers | 10 more new customers | 10 more new customers in 60 days | 10 more new customers in 60 days, starting from Monday.

From a statement such as this, you can then build a sales and marketing strategy around building that growth in your customer base. You can take stock of your actions and achievements at certain points along the way and compare the reality to your expectations.

TIP: Understanding the difference between your reality and expectations, your now and desire, helps  you to set the next goal with a higher chance of success, whether that’s by lowering your expectations, or raising your activity levels.

Can you achieve your goals?

I think 10 new customers in 60 days is achievable if you have a well-liked product that has a proven track record and is promoted well. But for other businesses, I would question how achievable that would be.

To set achievable goals you need to look at your history, what has worked before, what referral streams worked in the past, who has helped you before and is it repeatable, or can you replicate it in another town, with a new type of customer, or for a new product?

This part of SMARTER goals also refers to action. Do you have the capacity, or team beside you to perform the actions required to achieve the goals you want to set?

Get real

Passion for growing your business and a strong self-belief may cloud your judgement on the reality.

In my experience, it’s better to start with the lowest best possible outcome, rather than risk disappointment, loss of motivation and a drop in morale through failure. Often, I help my clients to slow down the game and introduce a smaller step. This way you can evaluate, and review the goal once you have achieved it, and adjust your parameters accordingly for next time. Remember though, failure is a learning opportunity and to be expected as an entrepreneur!

And a final word: Remember the benefits. Be prepared and plan for the negatives.

TIP: Consider the obstacles and solutions that could come your way. Remember the old saying, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’? If you can deliver the solution, or work-around to the obstacle before it appears, you won’t have to tackle it.

I hope I have shown you that SMARTER goals really are a valuable business tool, whilst avoiding too much jargon. If you’d like to read on, I have more on goal planning in my blog, 10 steps for effective goal setting, in my video snippet, Effective goal planning for achievement and you will also find tips and advice on my LinkedIn profile, do connect and let’s have that conversation.

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