I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have big goals for their business, but struggle to achieve those goals. There are a lot of things that can get in our way when it comes to achieving our goals, but sometimes it’s the goal-setting process itself that’s tripping us up. Sometimes the goals are not specific enough, making it difficult to tell if you’ve actually achieved the goal. Other times the goals are too ambitious, and people fail to adjust the goal to make it more achievable. Let’s take a look at how you can set SMART goals for your business so you can be sure to achieve them and move on to the next steps in growing your business.
The first step to setting SMART goals is to make them specific. Don’t just say you want to grow your business or you want more clients. Be specific. How much income do you need/want to bring in? How many clients will it take to bring in that much money? You need a number in order for your goal to be specific.
You can’t determine whether you’ve achieved your goal if you can’t measure the goal, so part of the goal-setting process has to be to make sure you have a way to measure your goal. This is related to the first tip to be specific about your goals, because when your goals are specific, they’re usually also measurable. As I mentioned above, aiming for a specific income level and/or a specific number of clients fulfills the first step in setting a SMART goal, but it also fulfills the second step because it makes those goals measurable.
I love it when my clients set ambitious goals for themselves and their businesses, but if those goals aren’t realistic, they can leave you feeling frustrated and unmotivated when you don’t achieve them. So when you’re setting your goals for the year/quarter/month, make sure it’s a goal you can realistically achieve in that time frame. Big goals are great, but consider breaking them down into smaller goals. That way, every time you complete a step in the process, you can celebrate and know you’re on your way to accomplishing the biggest, most ambitious goals you have for your business.
Don’t be intimidated by the process of setting goals for yourself and your business. If you’re worried you won’t achieve a certain goal and you’ll feel like a failure, just adjust the goal so it’s more achievable. Setting SMART goals is the first step to laying out a plan to achieve those goals, and as the saying goes, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
It might sound obvious to make sure your goals are relevant, but you might be surprised how many people get distracted with trying to achieve goals that won’t really help them move forward, whether it’s in life or in their business. This is especially true of entrepreneurs and small business owners because there are so many things different people are telling us we need to do for our business that it’s easy to get caught up in tasks and goals we’ve been told will help our bottom line, but in reality don’t have much of an effect. For example, you might want lots of social media followers and/or newsletter subscribers, but if people aren’t clicking through to your website from your social media posts or your emails, are those goals really relevant to your overall business goals?
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