Keep reading this blog to learn:
- What a SMART goal is
- Why SMART goals are important and will help your business
- How to write SMART goals
- What an example SMART goal looks like
The First Step to Making Your Business Thrive is Learning
How to Write SMART Goals!
Have you ever set a goal that was difficult to achieve? Or have you gotten lost trying to achieve your goals? This likely happened because you made the goal too vague, too big, or you didn’t give yourself enough time. Individuals or businesses often set themselves up for failure by setting general and unrealistic goals, such as “I want to be the best at X.”
Fortunately, no goal is impossible with the SMART goal framework. Creating SMART goals can organize the process and structure your goal even before you begin! When you use SMART goals, you can create clear, attainable and meaningful goals and develop the motivation and support needed to achieve them.
Below, we will explain what a SMART goal is and why it’s important. Then we will show you how to write SMART goals for your business. After reading this blog, you’ll know how to get started and will be on your way to achieving your goals!
What is a SMART Goal?
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Each of these components helps you create a clear goal that gives you practical direction for achieving it. You need to have all five of them to ensure the goal will be worth your time.
So, what are these components? We will take a closer look at each of them below.
Specific: Determine the Details
Creating the specific part of the goal is where you define what you want to do and how you want to do it. When you’re setting your goal, you want to be as specific as possible. One of the best ways to be specific is to answer the 6 W’s:
This way, you will know all the key elements of your goal before you start it. (We’ll go into detail about these questions when we learn how to write SMART goals below.)
Don’t be afraid to get into those nitty-gritty details in this section! After all, if your goal isn’t specific, you’ll probably lose focus on it or feel less motivated to keep going.
Measurable: Key Metrics to Keep In Mind
In the measurable section, you determine how to track what you’re doing and how well your goal is moving along. Do this by defining what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will prove you’re making progress.
For example, if your goal was to increase activity on your social media accounts, you could measure that in many different ways:
- Increase in followers
- More likes, comments or shares on posts
- Growth in the amount of link clicks leading to conversions
By choosing a specific KPI, you will make it easy to track and assess your progress. If there are no criteria, it will be very difficult to tell how you’re doing and if you are on track to reach your goal.
Therefore, making your SMART goal measurable will keep you motivated in your progress and increase your excitement for achieving your goal.
Achievable: Ensure Success is Possible
Writing an achievable goal means you have the resources to succeed. Therefore, in this section, you need to consider any limitations that might impede your goal. Creating goals that are too large or lack necessary resources will make you unmotivated to keep trying. However, you also don’t want to make a goal that will be too easy to complete. An achievable goal should stretch your abilities but remain possible.
So, think about how to accomplish your goal and if you have the tools or skills needed to achieve it. If you don’t have the resources, what will it take to get them? Before you begin working toward your goal, decide if you can achieve it now or if you should add preliminary steps to become better prepared.
Relevant: Align with Your Values
A relevant goal is a goal that matters to you and your business. If you don’t care about the goal, then you shouldn’t waste your time and effort in doing it!
There should be a worthwhile benefit attached to reaching your objective. Start by asking yourself why this goal is important to you and how achieving it will help your company in the long run. Your goals should always align with broader objectives within your company.
Time-Based: Set a Timeline
To make your goal time-based, you need to create a deadline so that you can focus on your goal and have something to work toward.
This part of the SMART goal criteria helps prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals. If the goal is not time-constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and, therefore, less motivation to achieve the goal.
On top of that, your SMART goals should also have time-related parameters built in. These deadlines will help you stay on track within the overall time frame.
Why are SMART Goals Important?
Now you know what a SMART Goal is, but why should you use it? SMART goals are important to use because the framework organizes your goal, makes your goal a reality, and is super easy to use.
Organize Your Goal
Going through each step of writing your SMART goals gets rid of generalities and guesswork in your goals. You come out with a clear and organized goal that encompasses exactly what needs to be accomplished and when. It will also be very easy to determine when you’ve achieved your goal.
Make Your Goal a Reality
Instead of wishful thinking and keeping the goal in your head, SMART goals bring your intentions to reality. Once you go through the SMART goal framework, you have a fully visualized goal that you can plan for and carry out. It’s much easier for you to achieve your goal when you’re able to visualize what success looks like.
Simplify Achieving Your Goal
Additionally, SMART goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training. With the framework, you can divide large goals into smaller attainable ones. It’s also easier to measure the status of the goal when you’ve written it as a SMART goal.
How to Write SMART Goals for Small Business
Now that you know each part of the SMART goal framework, it’s time to create your own! Fortunately, writing SMART goals isn’t difficult. We’ll go through each component with some questions that you can use to create your own.
Step 1: Create Your Specific Section
When starting your SMART goal, be very specific about what you want to accomplish. While writing the specifics of your goal, it’s important to answer the six “W” questions:
- Who is involved? List who needs to be involved in achieving the goal.
- What do I want to accomplish? Define exactly what it is you’re trying to do.
- When do I want to achieve this goal? Determine a deadline for your goal. (You will get more specific about the time constraints in the Time-Based section.)
- Where will you complete this goal? If a location or event is relevant to your goal, identify it here.
- Why is this goal important? List the reasons you would like to achieve it.
- Which resources or limitations are involved? Determine any related obstacles or requirements to achieve your goal.
The specific part of your goal is also the actionable part. So, you’ll want to use action verbs to explain exactly what you’ll do to accomplish this goal. Some strong action verbs include increase, oversee, coordinate, develop, maintain and produce.
Let’s look at an example of a specific section for a company looking to increase engagement on its Facebook page: “Our company will create posts targeted to our audience to increase engagement on our Facebook channel. As a result, we will grow our social media presence in the next three months.” As you can see, this statement succinctly covers all the questions listed above:
- Who: Our company
- What: Increase engagements
- When: In the next three months
- Where: On our Facebook page
- Why: To improve our social media presence
- Which: Create posts targeted to our audience
Step 2: Create Your Measurable Section
Now that you know specifically what you want to do, let’s figure out how to measure it. Measuring your goal will make it more tangible and provide a way for you to assess your progress. To make a goal measurable, you should answer questions like:
- How much money will we need?
- How many hours do I have to dedicate?
- What is my indicator of progress?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
- How do I know if I have reached my goal?
If your goal will take a long time to complete, you should also set some milestones to accomplish along the way.
What does this step look like for our example SMART goal of increasing engagement on Facebook? In this instance, the Key Performance Indicators we’d choose would be the overall number of likes, comments and shares our Facebook posts receive. Now that we’ve named those metrics as important, we can track the numbers to see how we’re doing along the way.
Step 3: Create Your Achievable Section
You’ve made your goal specific and measurable. Now let’s determine how you can achieve it. Setting goals that you can reasonably accomplish within a certain timeframe will help keep you motivated and focused.
For an achievable goal, ask yourself:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
- Have others done it successfully before?
With our example social media SMART goal, we need to consider many factors to determine if it’s achievable. These factors include whether or not we have the time and resources to create engaging posts and monitor analytics to see if our goal is working.
Step 4: Create Your Relevant Section
You’re getting close to finishing your SMART goal, but let’s make sure it’s relevant before you dive in any further. Writing a relevant goal ensures that your goal matters to you and your business. If it is relevant, you know you’ll be working towards a broad objective that will support your organization.
A relevant goal should answer yes to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Is the goal reachable, given the time and resources?
- Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?
For our example goal, reaching out to our audience on social media is relevant because we want to have more of a presence on social media to grow our business. Achieving this goal would help us find more potential clients and build our company brand. Our goal aligns with our broad objectives in the company, so this goal is relevant to our business!
Step 5: Create Your Time-Based Section
Once you now know your goal works for you and your company, it’s time to make a deadline. Creating a time constraint will give you a sense of urgency and more motivation to get it done.
Ask yourself questions like:
- When do I need to have this goal complete?
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
Now let’s incorporate time-based into our example smart goal. For this goal, we will set a deadline of three months. By that time, we will have increased our engagements significantly through our posting efforts.
Step 6: Summarize Your Goal
Now that you have all the sections complete, the final step is to summarize your goal in a short paragraph. This way, when you want to look back on your goal, you won’t have to go through each step again. You’ll have an easy way to access your goal whenever you want!
What is a SMART Goal Example?
Now we’ve built a complete SMART goal! But what does it all look like put together? Here’s what our sample SMART goal for increasing engagements on Facebook looks like:
Summary: Our company will improve the number of engagements we receive on our Facebook page. We will increase the number of likes, comments and shares on our posts by consistently posting content targeted to our audience once a day on our Facebook page. We will complete this goal within three months to grow our business.
Specific: Our company will create posts targeted to our audience to increase engagement on our Facebook channel. As a result, we will grow our social media presence in the next three months.
Measurable: To measure our progress, we will measure how many likes, comments and shares we receive on each of our Facebook posts. The goal is for that number to increase over time.
Achievable: Because we have a social media manager, we have the means to post once a day on our Facebook page. We also have the time and resources to pursue this goal.
Relevant: Reaching out to our target audience via social media is relevant because we want to have more of a presence on social media. Achieving this goal would help us find more potential clients and build our company brand.
Time-based: We want to achieve this goal in three months. We will do this by consistently posting once a day.
Let Us Help You Achieve Your Goals!
Now you know how to write SMART Goals, let us help you achieve them. We know that you may not have all the time and resources to do this on your own. Fortunately, Frontier Marketing can help make those goals become a reality.
Our in-house team provides a full slate of digital marketing services for companies throughout the Northern Illinois region and beyond. Let us put in the work so that you can enjoy the results! Learn more about all the services we provide, from web design to email marketing.