What are SMART goals and how can they help you to move forward?
Whether in business or in your day to day life, it is pretty clear that the best way to make improvement and change is through setting goals and then working towards them, but how do you know if you are making progress? If your goal is simply to increase your market share, how will you know when you have reached that goal? This is why ensuring that your goals are SMART is essential! With a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goal you will know exactly what needs done and be able to make a plan for how you will do it.
For example, lets say your launching a new line of pet toys. Your goal is to bring a new product to market and launch it successfully. That sounds pretty simple, right? But how will you know when you have accomplished that? When you have reached your 100th sale? 1,000th? At the 1 year mark? When you hit 15% ROI? As you can see, there is really no way to know for sure which makes this a very well intentioned but ineffective goal.
Let’s try that again. This time, we will set our goal as bringing our new product to market with a launch that will lead to a 15% increase in overall sales company wide within 6 months. Now, we have a measurable metric that we can look to to see how we are doing and if what we are doing is working, or if we need to change our strategies. We also have a deadline so we know how long it should take us to get there, this allows us to break down and plan out our attack strategy. If after 3 months we are only at 5% still, we know that we need to make a drastic change if we are going to make up the additional 10% in the remaining 3 months. It is vital that you try to be as realistic with your goals as possible. If the goal is not attainable, you will get frustrated quickly and ultimately fail.
Having these concrete details should be a way to measure, monitor, and motivate you towards a growth mindset. If you don’t hit your exact goal, don’t get frustrated. At the end of the timeframe take a step back and look at what worked, what didn’t, and what you can take away from that experience to do better next time around. Then, set a new goal!