As we power through the first quarter of this bright new year at lightning speed, we find it’s already time to start making plans for the second quarter. How are you doing with all the goals you set for yourself and your business before the dawn of the new year? With time ticking by (and the months too) it may be time to pause and revisit your goals for 2015. This quick check-up to see how things are going, not just on the bottom line but in general, will help keep everyone on point and on track to their much anticipated path of success. Looking at your business as a whole on a regular basis every few months is important for optimum growth and satisfaction in all areas. Goal setting, follow through and accountability are crucial to true business success.
Perhaps you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. Originally part of a 1981 paper by George T. Doran titled: There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives, the S.M.A.R.T. acronym has shown up in many forms, and the essence remains the same across the board. The S.M.A.R.T. rule of thumb is meant to apply to ways for entrepreneurs to write management goals and objectives in a clear and concise form. In a nutshell S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
- S – specific
- M – measurable
- A – achievable
- R – realistic
- T – timely
When you are specific about your goals, you know exactly what you want to achieve. Stating, “I want to make more money this year” is a great goal. However, reframing that same goal the S.M.A.R.T. way; “I want to increase current revenue by 12% by August of ___” is even more powerful.[bctt tweet=”When you are specific about your goals, you know exactly what you want to achieve.”]
Are your goals measurable? In simple terms, setting a beginning and an end makes a goal measurable. This means you have to establish an end date to each goal when you begin the process so you can recognize when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. Setting a goal of, “securing three new a-list clients by ___” is not only specific, but offers a deadline as well.
Are your goals achievable? A stumbling block many goal-setters encounter is not making their goals realistic or achievable. Having a goal of, “I want to be on Shark Tank within three months” is exciting and lofty, but definitely not realistic. By being real about what you want to achieve, and not setting unreachable goals to be accomplished in an unreasonable amount of time, the more successful you can become. Timeliness is important as well. When setting any goal, it’s always best to keep in mind things like the seasons and time of year, availability of resources and consumer need.
Have an End Game. Don’t just leave your goals out there blowing in the wind. Verbalizing your goals is great, but once you commit them to paper, they become real. If you’ve avoided committing to a goal because the task seems too overwhelming, break it down into smaller steps and be sure to delegate when possible. Be wise in your delegation; determine who is best for the job at hand. Fit the task to the skill set and expertise of the person doing the job to get the best and most effective results.
In all this, remember to have regular check-in times. Monitor progress and make necessary changes along the way. Just like the captain of an ocean liner or the pilot of a plane, subtle (or big) re-directs may be needed along the way to keep things on course. It’s better to find out if something is working well, or not working at all, early in the process. It’s a sad thing to spend a lot of time, energy and money climbing the ladder of success only to find it’s leaning against the wrong wall.