Did you know that people who are committed to setting goals experience 80% more success than people who don’t set goals?
It’s another new year. If you’re like me, January 1 is not just another day. It’s the first day to a fresh start. The New Year is a chance to improve upon the person you’ve been and the business you’ve been conducting and think about the person you want to be and where you want to take your business. Personal health is central to business health, but for the sake of this article, I’m going to be focusing on business.
Just like Dave Ramsey says, “a goal without a plan is just a dream.” I wholeheartedly believe this as well. For anyone who has ever worked with me, one of the pinnacle conversations we have is first identifying your goals. Getting a website is not the end goal, it’s the means to achieving a goal. A more precise goal would look more like this: Increase sales by 20% within 6 months, including an e-commerce website that account for 10% of those sales. Give me this goal and together we can break it down into realistic steps with roles, responsibilities and timelines.
Have you ever heard of S.M.A.R.T. Goals?
I have to tell you that it’s mindblowing how effective this tool is in helping you get what you want, when you want it.
The acronym stands for:
Specific = What exactly do you want to achieve? Include as much detail as possible.
Measurable = How will you know when you have reached your goal and how successful were you. Make this a quantifiable value.
Attainable = List the resources needed and if or how you can obtain them.
Realistic = What change are you hoping to affect by reaching your goal? What outcome should result from you reaching your goal and if it’s not clear, how does reaching your goal help affect that change?
Timely = When will each step be completed? Break the overall goal into mini steps and assign a due date to each step.
- Here is a useful worksheet that you can print and begin writing out your goals.
- Or check out this kickstarter for the Freedom Journal, a S.M.A.R.T. Goals workbook and program.
The first time I ever heard of a S.M.A.R.T. Goal was from my business coach in 2007. As I was in the throws of building a business that my family, including a husband and two small children, relied on as our sole income. I was constantly reacting to whatever fire showed up and I couldn’t get my bearings so I couldn’t get ahead or plan forward and I was on the verge of burning out after just 3 years. I hired a business coach who helped me narrow my focus, identify specific goals and the steps I needed to take to accomplish my goals using S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
Now that I’ve been self-employed for 12 years and WebProdigy has officially been around for 17 years, I’ve made a commitment to use S.M.A.R.T. Goals as part of my 2016 New Year plan to figure out what I want in 2016 and how I will achieve those goals. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year announcing my goals and successes (and failures) because public announcements are a way that I can hold myself accountable.
Let’s explore how you can use S.M.A.R.T. goals in your own business.
Here is one example of an existing consumer products manufacturing business that sells widgets and wants to increase sale so they can expand production.
Specific = Improve financial health of the business and increase production within 12 months.
Measurable = Increase widget sales 30% within 6 months.
Attainable = Invest in an e-commerce website and online marketing that will account for 10% of new sales by the second quarter. Incentivize sales team to increase activity that will result in 20% more sales consistently in the first and second quarter.
Realistic = With an increase in sales, and a newfound momentum in sales, we will be able to recoup our costs from the website, online marketing, sales incentives and we’ll have the funds for the new machine and 8 new employees by the 3rd
Timed = Budget for website and sales incentives. Clarify goals to sales team. Run weekly sales reports and review at weekly sales meetings. Complete website by the end of the first quarter. Initiate sales incentives the beginning of the first quarter. Launch and market the ecommerce site the beginning of the second quarter. Renew/reinvigorate sales incentives the beginning of the second quarter. Begin interviewing for 8 new employees and begin shopping for the new machine in the 3rd In the 4th quarter continue to motivate sales and tend to the web to keep momentum, hire the 8 employees, close the deal on the new machine.
Although this is a fictional company, it’s an example of how real success can be accomplished with S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Alternatively, the business owner could to sit in his/her office at the beginning of the year, unsure about the next steps, failing to make goals, failing to invest time and money into the business to get to the next step, it’s likely that his/her business would keep the status quo from last year and possibly even take a dip in sales which would lead to cutting costs, decreasing staff and decreasing productivity.
Now you know about S.M.A.R.T. goals, you have a worksheet and you have an example to follow, would you be willing to invest the time to create your business goals. Maybe you’re not 100% clear about what your goals should be and you would like a little help from a trusted coach? Just ask Amber Stubbs of Work | Life how she can help you set your goals. Having more clarity and a course of action will help to illuminate the steps that you need to take to accomplish your dreams.
“What are your goals?” gives me a 10,000 foot view of the overall picture so that I can assess the actual value of the website as part of the whole picture. The question is asked of both existing client and new clients because goals change and circumstances shift. For example, I have a client who invested in a website two years ago and they recently asked me about doing a redesign because they felt like their site was out of date. My question elevated to a 10,000 foot view of what their business goals are and how will the site help them meet those goals. By the end of the conversation, we were able to quantify the value of the website redesign in relation to the big picture. We were also able to identify the next steps for the website, including roles, responsibilities and timelines. Sound familiar? You can see that S.M.A.R.T. Goals are useful for figuring out smaller goals that need to be accomplished in order for the big picture to come together.
Let’s have the goals conversation, starting now.
Here are a few questions to prompt the conversation.
- If you don’t already have a website, how will a new website help you achieve your business goals? What are your next steps?
- If you have a website, is it helping you achieve your business goals?
- Would you like to increase sales this year? How will your website and online marketing help you do that?
- Would you like to launch a new product or service? What will it take to set up an online campaign and how will that add to your bottom line?
- Is your site virtually non-existent in the search engines? How will better search engine ranking (SERP) help your bottom line and what do we need to do to make that happen?