What are SMART goals?
SMART is an acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. They are impactful for business marketing strategies and overall growth, because they encourage you to look into your market and evaluate how your business stacks up. It provides a model to identify strengths and room for improvement.
Here’s what it means to be SMART in business:
Having a clear, specific outcome in mind is key to making a SMART goal. Making a specific goal means that you can narrow your focus—whether this is on marketing, data collection, sales, or customer relationship management—and get a concise picture of exactly what you want to achieve and thus, what steps you should take.
When you set goals, it’s important to make sure you know what metrics you will use to evaluate whether and when you’ve met your goal.
Measurable objectives can be quantitative, like how many returns or outputs you receive or produce; or they can be qualitative, based on the quality of those same returns or outputs.
It’s important to prioritize achievability when you set business goals. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t dream big, but a goal that you can take feasible steps towards will tell you more about the nature of your business, the way you run it, your customers, and the goal itself, rather than working towards something outside your capacity. By making your goals achievable, you’re also allowing yourself to experiment with what works best to achieve it, based on your measurements.
Relevancy, in the case of SMART business goals, refers to the pertinent characteristics of your business. Most businesses want to attract a bigger audience and increase their revenue, of course, but relevant goals help you identify what you will do specifically to grow your business. If you run an online magazine, for example a relevant goal is to increase the number of monthly subscribers by 25% this quarter. Subscribers are relevant to the success of your business, and thus the goal meets SMART criteria.
Having a timeframe for when you want to achieve your goal makes the process of planning and executing clearer and more organized. A deadline can be a powerful motivator, and it will help your team work together towards a clear finish line. Plus, working towards timely goals can give you insight into a certain time of year or the seasonality of your business, which might inform future goals.