Get S.M.A.R.T.

As we all know, the beginning of the year is a time when we make goals we know we’ll never keep. Come on, admit it. It’s okay. It’s cathartic. Every year, whether or not your formally call it a “resolution,” you make business and personal goals that, by about March or April, you’ve all but given up on. That may cut it in your personal life, but if you want your business to thrive, you really must create a set of goals, and actually achieve them (or at least get pretty darn close). One of the problems small business owners have with respect to achieving goals is in the goal itself. They don’t make S.M.A.R.T. goals. You may have heard of this acronym, and even if you have, it’s always worth freshening up on. S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific: don’t just say your goal is to increase revenue, where will you increase revenue (which products, geographic location, etc.)
  • Measurable: by how much will you increase revenue? 10%? 20%? Or is there a specific revenue figure you want to hit, i.e. $1,000,000.
  • Attainable: is your goal something you can actually attain.
  • Reasonable: the aforementioned revenue goal of $1,000,000 is indeed an Attainable goal. But, if you only generated $100,000 last year, it may not be reasonable. Setting unrealistic goals will be discouraging. Also, if they are revenue related, such goals could throw off your financial planning.
  • Timely: lastly, you need to give yourself a deadline as to when you plan to achieve the goal.

In the end, your “goal” when setting goals is to have something that is quantifiable, so that you can look back on it and see what went right, what went wrong, and replicate the good stuff. So, your homework assignment is to look at your business goals for 2008 and see if they pass the S.M.A.R.T. test.