What are SMART Goals?

The first step in developing a business strategy is to set goals. And if you want to be successful in business you have to make SMART goals. If you’re not familiar with this term, SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

SMART goals are used by people in every type of business imaginable. And that’s because they work. They provide structure and trackability, whether you’re running a Fortune 500 company or a solo venture out of your basement. Given my own experience, I recommend writing your goals down and working through the acronym one-by-one.

Specific: If you aren’t specific about what you want to accomplish you’ll have trouble focusing your efforts and getting seriously motivated. Figure out what your ultimate goal is, why you want it, who’s involved in getting you there, and what resources you’ll need.

Measurable: A measurable goal is key to staying motivated because it allows you to track your progress. This is huge because it helps you stay focused and celebrate all the small accomplishments that happen along the way.

Achievable: When setting a goal make sure that it’s realistic. It’s ok to aim high, but don’t aim so high that you’ve made it impossible to get there. Consider your resources, who else may be involved, your time, and so on. Remember, it’s always ok to set a goal for yourself and then set another once you’ve achieved it.

Relevant: Does your goal make sense? Does it fit in with your current lifestyle or business? Does it align with your other goals? Is it the right time for this goal? Your goal has to make sense in conjunction with everything else you’ve got going on.

Time-based: Your goal needs a time limit, otherwise you’ll never have any real motivation to get there. Other, more pressing things will take over and reaching your goal will become more and more difficult.

Where to Implement SMART Goals

SMART goals can be applied to anything you want to do in life – not just in business. Let’s say for instance that you want to take up running. Ok, but what does that mean? Do you want to run once a week? Twice? And how quickly do you want to run? You can see right away that wanting to take up running isn’t much of a goal.

However, when you turn that desire to run into a goal of running a 5k next month, or running the New York City marathon next November, all of a sudden you have something specific to work towards. You can work backwards from the race date and figure out how often you need to run, what distances you need to reach, and what time you need to reach them in order to build endurance.  You can check in with yourself regularly to make sure you’re on track.

It’s the exact same in business. Wanting to make a lot of money is one thing, wanting to make a million dollars through real estate investing in the next 5 years is another. With a SMART goal, you can take actionable steps to make it happen.

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