As new business owners Tami and I spent some time last night discussing our goals for 2012. Goals are so important at every stage of business. If a business doesn’t have goals, how will you evaluate progress or know when you get where you want to go? There are a lot of quotes about the importance of goals but I think my favorite is this: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” So true.
So, how does someone go about setting goals? I turn to my trusty acronym: SMART. By using this acronym you will ensure that your business is set up for success! So, what does SMART stand for?
S= Specific. Setting goals that are specific is vital towards being able to measure them and for them to be meaningful. When I set goals I put as many numbers, dates, or other measurements in them. For example the goal of: Make more money is not very SMART. There is no way to determine success or measure that goal. An example of a good, specific goal would be: By the end of 2012, Northwest Scents will gross 5% more than in 2011. You can see how putting in numbers and dates helps to make the goal more specific, plus I am specifying that we will be comparing the 2012 gross income to 2011 gross income. Now that’s SMART! Usually SMART goals answer the 5 W questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
M=Measurable. Along with goals that are specific, goals need to be measurable. Again, putting numbers and dates into your goals will help you be able to measure your goals when it is time to evaluate them. Make sure to pick indicators of success that you can actually measure. For example, if you want to have a goal to increase customer satisfaction by the end of 2012, you must have a way to measure that. So, a goal that would meet the SMART criteria would be something like: By the end of 2012, Northwest Scents will have at least 95% positive feedback on Etsy.
A=Attainable. Your goals should be realistic and attainable. It doesn’t do you any good to have goals that are impossible to achieve. For example, if my goal was for Tami and I to be millionaires by the end of 2012 that would NOT be a SMART goal. Unless one of us plays the lottery and gets incredibly lucky, we aren’t going to be millionaires any time soon. It’s good to have a long term vision or big 10 year goal that you are working towards but keeping your goals attainable will increase the likelihood of success! That said, Northwest Scents has a few “stretch” goals. 🙂
R=Relevant. Your goals should be relevant to your business and your situation. Goals should be meaningful and matter. Goals and “to-do” items are different. An example of a “to do” item could be to get business cards by the end of the month but that probably shouldn’t be a goal. The goal might be centered around building a brand, or making a certain number of contacts, or something else that obtaining business cards would be relevant to.
T=Time Bound. Goals should be clearly marked with target dates. I start all my goals with By: (Insert Date),… By making goals time bound you can evaluate progress, re-evaluate goals if necessary, or celebrate if you achieved your goal!
What are your SMART goals for 2012?