All Goals Should Be SMART
Coming to you today to talk about smarter goals for entrepreneurs. I feel like I talk about SMART goals a lot. But maybe I haven’t broken it down for some of you. I realize that maybe some people aren’t familiar with SMART goals and why this mnemonic is so important in goal setting. So jumping on real quick to run through how to set SMART goals.
Simply Check the Boxes
SMART is an acronym, S-M-A-R-T. It is a tool that you can use to make sure you’re hitting all of your check boxes when you set goals for yourself. This is to make sure they’re the most effective that they can be.
The S in SMART goals stands for specific. This is why when we talk about whether it’s a big, hairy, audacious goals or baby steps, you have to get very specific about what it is you want to accomplish and what the desired outcome is going to look like.
When we were talking about big, hairy, audacious goals, maybe the “specific” that you set was the exact dollar amount that you want to make in annual revenue for your business. That would be specific. But if you’re looking at the baby step, then maybe that’s something as small as how many calls you’re going to make each day, in order to generate the leads you need, to generate the sales you need in order to hit the revenue. Right? So it needs to be very, very specific.
The M in SMART stands for measurable. So you’ll notice, in both of those examples, as specific as I was about generating more revenue, I made sure to include a number. Numbers are a great way that you can add measurability to your goals. How will you know the goal has been achieved? Are you measuring it by how much money you make? By how many clients you bring in? How many clients you retain? Any way that you can use numbers to help measure your business, it’s going to help you, because numbers are something that you can look at year over year, week over week, day to day, to see how you’re improving. Numbers don’t lie. Measurability.
Now, maybe your business is not numbers-based. Maybe your goal isn’t around revenue. But hopefully it is around clients and then you can measure client satisfaction. Is there a survey tool you can use to measure overall client satisfaction? So you’re looking at how much more satisfied your clients are year to year, or how many more clients are returning to give you more of their business.
Find ways to measure your success so that you can see it happening.
A lot of people have run marathons. So make sure when you’re setting goals that it’s something that you can actually achieve.
The A in SMART is attainable. Now, this one gets a little dicey because, of course, you want your goals to be big and audacious. But they should also be attainable. Everyone knows I love my BestSelf planner, but when they have you set your 13-week big, hairy, audacious goal, they also tell you you’re first one, it should be something that you can attain. The example they give is a marathon. Now, that is still big and hairy and scary but it’s not impossible. A lot of people have run marathons. So make sure when you’re setting goals that it’s something that you can actually achieve. Okay?
Now, the last two letters, the R, realistic/relevant, I think, ties back in with attainable. Right? How are you going to achieve this goal in the time period that you’ve selected? Again, this applies right back to whether it’s big and hairy, your long-term 90-day plan goal, or if it’s a daily. What can you realistically do in a day? I know, for myself, when I set daily baby steps, I try not to set more than three. Sometimes I go crazy and I set four baby steps in a day but that’s a lot, considering your goals aren’t the only things that are happening every day.
You also have your regular life, like taking the kids to school and making dinner, and hanging out with your girlfriend and working out. All that stuff still happens while you’re layering in your daily baby steps, and your long-term goals, by extension. So make sure that you’re being realistic about these goals and about your baby steps. Don’t overload yourself and then make it impossible for you to succeed. That’s a recipe for failure. And of course the steps and goals need to be relevant to your overall objective. If the objective is to get into better shape than your big goal shouldn’t be to learn to speak Mandarin. Make sure you can draw a direct line from your activity to your goals.
Then, finally, the T is time-bound, a deadline. I love this because in the BestSelf planner (I’m talking about it again, I know). But one of the things that they have as a tool for you are these motivational quotes on every daily planning page. The first one that I turned to in this brand new planner for 2019 was a quote by Napoleon Hill, who … Author of my favorite book, right? Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice, co-author with Dennis Kimbro. It’s amazing. If you haven’t read it, get on it. I don’t know what you’re waiting for. But the first quote in this book is,
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
Okay? So it’s great to dream big and have these audacious goals, but you have to put time parameters around it in order to be successful. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound. That’s smarter goal setting for entrepreneurs.