An Evidence-Based Approach to Crushing Your Goals this Year
Whatever you want to achieve this year– start your business, grow your business, expand a product line– SMART goal framework is almost guaranteed to help you get there.
What are SMART Goals?
How often do we declare vague goals (“I want to have more customers this year!”) only to find ourselves discouraged, disappointed, and wondering what went wrong? It’s not you. You’re not lazy, unworthy or incapable of moving forward. You, like many, many other entrepreneurs, have simply not been taught exactly how to set goals. Enter the SMART goal frame work. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Based.
Why do they work?
In a study conducted by clinical psychologist Dr. Gail Matthews, participants who wrote down their goals, created action steps and had an accountability plan achieved their goals at a rate of 33% higher than those who didn’t.
The SMART goal method defines the steps you need to take to achieve your goal, informing your actions and decisions throughout the year. It requires you to think through your goals and continuously engage with them.
S – Specific
To create your specific goal, start with a vague statement and start drilling down with the five W’s.
What do I want to achieve?
Why is it important to me or my business?
Where is it located?
Who is involved?
Which resources do I need to utilize?
Example: If you are just starting out in your business and want to acquire more customers, your specific goal could be, “I want to have more customer traffic through my store so that I can grow my revenue.”
Measurable criteria is required to inform you of how close or far you are to achieving your goal, if you need to pivot, up your pace, or if its OK to slowdown.
Example: You may know when you have reached your goal to acquire more customers when you have an increase of 20% in customer traffic.
What actions are needed to achieve your goal? Outlining exactly what actions to take give you clear direction, but also help you to measure what works and what doesn’t as you make your way forward.
Example: “In order to increase my customer traffic by 20%, I need to create a loyalty shopper program, run social media ads, and host a monthly shopping event.”
Set yourself up for success by setting realistic goals. We can be tempted to indulge our big picture (“I want to have the biggest kombucha and didgeridoo store in the world!”), but the road to our dreams is paved with small, attainable goals (“I want to open a second location in two years.”).
Example: Ask yourself if your goal is realistic. Do you the capacity and the resources to take the actions required to increase your customer traffic by 20%? If not, what can you do to put yourself in a position to achieve that goal?
Give yourself a finish line to work toward. This helps you prioritize relevant tasks over the everyday busy work that can hinder your progress. Having a time-bound goal will help you to visualize a timeline for the tasks oriented to achieving that goal.
Ask yourself these questions:
When will it most benefit me to have this goal achieved?
What can I do today?
What can I do next week?
What can I do next month?
Example: You decide that in three months, you want to achieve your goal of increasing customer traffic through your store by 20%. How long will it take you to set up a customer loyalty program? Purchase ads? Set up a monthly shopping event?
One more thing…
Accountability is a vital factor in achieving our goals, and us humans tend to be more accountable to each other than to ourselves. In the study conducted by Dr. Mathews, the group that outperformed the others not only had SMART goals, but they had someone to hold them accountable. Ask a close friend, family member or mentor to be your accountability buddy. Share your SMART goal sheet with them and schedule regular check-ins– a few minutes will suffice! Additionally, you can team up with other business owners to form an accountability group via social media to share your progress and encourage each other.
Whatever you set out to achieve this year, we believe in you. Download our SMART Goal Setting today to get started!