As a business owner, setting goals demonstrates you’re committed to your business and your clients’ success. Goals also create clarity, present learning opportunities, identify areas that need improvement and can help you make the best decisions for your business in 2021 and beyond.
To develop new goals, start by ensuring your objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) to focus your efforts and increase the likelihood you will enjoy success.
For your SMART goals to be effective, follow this simple seven-step process:
Set specific goals
Define exactly what you are going to achieve and when. Be as detailed as possible. The more specific you are, the better the chances are you'll achieve exact results.
Set measurable goals
How will you know when your goal is achieved? Measurable goals allow you to identify exactly what you will see, hear and feel when you achieve success. Choose a goal that is measurable or add criteria for measuring progress. Then track your progress and measure the results of your efforts.
Set attainable goals
Is your goal attainable? To find out, first investigate whether it is acceptable to you. If it is long-term or a larger goal, identify small steps you’ll need to achieve along the way. Ask yourself, “Is this something my team and I can achieve together, or is this out of our grasp without additional resources?”
Set realistic goals
Is reaching your goal relevant to you? What is the big picture, and how does your goal fit into your practice’s overall mission and vision? Focus on what’s actionable right now. Only set goals you know realistically fit your timeline, team and personal life.
Set timely goals
Establish a timeframe for reaching your goal with a clear beginning and end. Deadlines are powerful motivators to act. So, establish clear deadlines for yourself and go after them. To keep morale high, make timelines realistic and flexible. Remember, achieving goals is a team effort. Once you’ve decided on goals for the year, post them in a common area as a reminder for everyone in your office.
Evaluate your goals
Once you have your SMART goals, how will you make sure they are reached? The key to achieving your goals is not just stating them and being specific. It is tracking their progress. On your completion date, you should take a good hard look at your results. Did you achieve your goal? If you did, then congratulate yourself on a job well done – but don’t stop there.
Write your next SMART goal immediately. Don’t put it off. Otherwise you may stagnate. If you didn’t achieve your goal, ask yourself why not? Was it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely? Be honest. Did you bite off more than you could chew? Don’t be discouraged. Use this as a learning opportunity to get on the right track.
Revise your goals
This is where many people fall short. They’ve done all the hard work of thinking through and writing down their SMART goals only to file them away and never look at them again. The completion date passes, the goals are forgotten and nothing worthwhile comes from your planning. Don’t let this happen to you. Once your completion date arrives, pay attention. Evaluate your results and revise your goals. Have fun and feel confident as you create your success plan.
If you dive right into a goal without forethought, planning, and organization, you’re dooming yourself to fail. Very few goals are perfect as soon as you think of them. SMART provides the basic steps to refine your goals, set you up for success. Push you farther, provide a sense of direction and ultimately succeed.