How to set S.M.A.R.T. Business Goals

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How to set S.M.A.R.T. Business Goals

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” – Diana Scharf Hunt


If you have been in the business world for a little while, you’ve probably heard the term S.M.A.R.T. Goals, coined by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review. SMART Goals are Specific (S), Measurable (M), Attainable (A), Relevant (R), and Timely (T). Setting SMART Goals for yourself is a proven way to get better results and actually reach those goals instead of just daydream about them. Let’s break down the SMART Goal process by letter.

  1. Specific

    When setting your goals, think specifics. A specific goal has a much better chance of not only survival but success. To set a specific goal, just think of the typical “W” questions you’d find on a party invite. Who (who is involved), What (what needs to be accomplished), Where (Location, Location, Location), When (decide on a time frame and a specific date), Which (Point out requirements, constraints, and possible obstacles), and Why (specific reasons, needs, or benefits for accomplishing your goal). 

  2. Measurable

    Define a goal that you can measure your progress while working towards achieving it. Ask yourself how questions to see if the goal you have in mind is measurable. How much? How often? How many?  How will I know when it’s accomplished? When you can answer these questions, you will be better able to track your progress toward completion and keep yourself reliable.

  3. Attainable

    Attainable goals don’t mean easy to reach. Your goals should definitely push you out of your comfort zone and stretch your abilities and talents. However, they shouldn’t be so outrageous that they will take years and years to achieve. It’s okay to have those kind of goals but they are more like dreams than actual goals. The SMART Goals you set for yourself, if attainable, will help you reach those dreams.

  4. Relevant

    Your goals needs to be relevant to who you are and what you are trying to do right now. Typically your goals will affect more than just you and you will find that if your goals are relevant, the other people involved will show excitement and be willing to help you reach it. You will know your goal has relevance if you can answer yes to the following questions: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this match our other efforts/needs? Are you the right person?

  5. Time Bound

    This step takes us right back to the quote at the start of this post. A goal without a deadline is simply a dream. Your goals should not only have a specific time frame and date in mind but also should be broken down into smaller steps with time frames and deadlines of their own. Ask yourself what you can four months from now, four weeks from now, four days from now, and today.

Set every single goal with the SMART Goal process in mind and you’ll be well on your way to crossing those goals off your list and succeeding left and right. Your self-esteem will grow right along with your accomplishments, which means only one thing… Your next goals will be even bigger and better because your fear will diminish with each and every victory. Good luck!

Until Next Time!
Bonnie Olswanger | Thrive Web Designs, a Boise web design company




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