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Setting SMART Goals for 2017

Samuel Bradshaw
By Samuel Bradshaw - January 05, 2017

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It’s the new year and many people are busy adhering to newly developed and implemented resolutions created to improve their lifestyle. In a way, resolutions are very similar to goals and in order to successfully implement a resolution or achieve a goal, habitual changes are often needed. We’re not here to talk about losing weight, or getting more sleep, although both would be great resolutions. We are here to talk about setting SMART goals for your business.

What is a SMART goal? It’s a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Why is it important? It’s important because in order to improve your business’s performance consistently over time, you need to have goals that are properly formulated. If you have the goal for “closing more deals”, you’ve given yourself a benchmark for results but it would be unspecific, unmeasurable, and wouldn’t be timely. Change that goal to “close 25% more deals in Q1 2017 than Q4 2016” and you’ve got a SMART goal.

SMART Goal: S - Specific

Specificity in goal setting is extremely important because you’ll never know if you’ve accomplished an ambiguous one. Like the example given above, a goal to “close more deals” lacks specificity and in this case, would be impossible to know if you’ve accomplished because you haven’t specified the number of deals being used as a benchmark. Close more deals than what? “Close more deals than we did last year”, or “close more deals than we did last quarter” would be more specific and less ambiguous.

SMART Goal: M - Measurable

Without being measurable, a goal would also lack achievability. If you have no way of measuring your success, you can’t know if you’ve been successful. If you’ve got a goal for driving more traffic to your website, but don’t have the tools implemented to track that number, (maybe HubSpot for example) you will never know how you’re performing. Additionally, it’s possible to develop goals that are immeasurable not as a result of lacking the proper tools, but as a result of poor formulation. Going back to resolutions, creating the resolution to “be healthier in 2017”, although timely, isn’t measurable. How are you measuring happiness? Instead, take some time for introspection and determine what changes would result in you being more happy and shape your resolutions around that. If “healthier” to you means eating cleaner, a measurable resolution might be “satisfy all my requirements for each food group daily.”

SMART Goal: A - Attainable

This one is relatively self-explanatory. It wouldn’t do a small business owner much good to make a goal to generate more revenue than Apple in 2017. Make sure your goals are attainable. Attainability is oftentimes not as obvious as the example given, and immeasurable goals are always unattainable. These characteristics for goal setting are not mutually exclusive, so be sure to test your goals for each characteristic independently.

SMART Goal: R - Relevant

Imagine the CEO of a major agricultural company setting a goal for beating Elon Musk to Mars. That goal is not at all relevant to that company’s priorities, and would represent a poorly formulated goal. Your goals need to be relevant to your objectives as a company. Before you create any goal for your business in the new year, isolate what it is that you want to accomplish this year. Then create a SMART goal to get there.

SMART Goal: T - Timely

A SMART goal is always timely, and as we set off to do great things in 2017 our goals should be bound by time. Let’s look at a goal like “design a mobile friendly website that’s built to convert for my business”. That’s a great start, but by when? It wouldn’t do much good to set that goal but not clarify when you’d like to reach it. Getting that website developed in 3 months would be attainable and would set the trajectory of your company’s lead generation in a great direction. Getting that website developed in 3 years would be less useful.

Conclusion

We think a collection of great SMART goals is a great way to start off a year of profitability and success regardless of your company size, industry, or performance in past years. If you’re interested in setting SMART goals for 2017, get in touch with us.

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