SMART Goal Examples for Small Businesses
SMART — which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound — goals set the parameters for actions you and your staff take to improve personal performance and your small business’s overall progress. SMART business goals break down broad objectives into well-defined, attainable milestones to ensure success.
Why Set SMART Goals?
SMART goal-setting is an effective way to help refine your ideas, clarify your objectives, focus your efforts and productively allocate your resources. It also helps promote transparency and accountability throughout your company so employees can be empowered to prioritize their efforts and resources toward accomplishing common goals.
SMART Business Goals’ 5 Elements
Specific: Your goal should be well-defined and focus on a particular outcome. For example, instead of saying, “we want to increase sales,” it should state, “we aim to increase sales by 80% in the XYZ market.”
Measurable : Each SMART goal should have a starting point and a finishing point that can be quantified and tracked. Besides the key metrics, you should indicate a system, method and procedure used to measure progress.
Attainable: This criterion prompts you to take stock of timeline, budget and resource availability (e.g., talent), and even industry averages so you can evaluate how — and if — a goal can be realistically achieved.
The “A” in SMART goal also can stand for “acceptable.” It refers to getting buy-in from everyone involved, so you can rally employees behind a common objective and motivate them to take the initiative.
Your goal also should address market conditions and the realities of the business climate. For instance, a goal might not be relevant if you’re trying to increase your sales by 50% in an economic downturn.
SMART Goals Examples for Work
Consider applying SMART goals to several aspects of running your small business, including leadership, management and employee performance. Here are some SMART business goals examples of setting meaningful SMART goals that’ll help you achieve tangible results:
SMART Goals Examples for Employees
General Goal: Improve Customer Service Quality
Attainable: Provide training sessions to ensure all employees understand expectations and are prepared to execute proper procedures. Ensure we have standards in place to assess customer satisfaction. Customer complaints will be reviewed, and corrective action will be taken where necessary.
General Goal: Increase Blog Traffic
Specific: Increase blog traffic by 200% using search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing strategies . The web team will monitor blog stats and provide a weekly report to help fine-tune the tactics. Work will begin on [XX date], and the goal is expected to be achieved by [XX date].
Relevant: Robust blog traffic will expose our work to a larger audience and help establish us as an authority in our industry. We’ve also seen a healthy conversion rate from blog readers to paying customers.
SMART Goals Examples for Managers and Leadership
Managers need to set SMART business goals that aim to improve their performance and the performance of team members. Remember that it’s important to be a leader as well as a manager. Objectives for developing leadership capabilities include:
General Goal: Improve Communication Clarity
Specific: Develop presentation skills and improve the clarity of my communication to reduce the number of questions in team meetings by 30% in 6 months. This will reduce the time spent on answering questions and minimize misunderstandings to improve the team’s productivity.
Attainable: Take training courses to improve presentation skills. Assess previous Q&A sessions to assess where the confusion arises. Solicit feedback from fellow managers or staffers regarding communication clarity.
Relevant: Clarifying communications and reducing the amount of questions employees need to ask will cut back on misunderstandings and potential errors. Less time devoted to questions can also improve staff productivity.
General Goal: Improve Management and Coaching Skills
Specific: Develop management and coaching skills by having weekly 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports and quarterly 1-on-1 meetings with indirect reports to achieve a 10% improvement in employee engagement in 6 months.
SMART Performance Goals Examples
These SMART business goals can guide employee performance reviews to help workers focus on improving areas most relevant to their professional development and business objectives. Some of these goals focus on meeting specific performance metrics, while others revolve around acquiring professional knowledge and updating relevant skills.
General Goal: Grow Engagement on Business’s Social Media Accounts
Attainable: Take an online course and implement the lessons in my business’s social media strategy. Track account metrics to help chart progress and adjust strategy when necessary.
General Goal: Improve Cost Efficiency In the Procurement Process
Specific: Spend 2 days each month shadowing operation and sales teams to gain customer insights, which will be applied to the procurement process to improve cost efficiency by 10% in 8 months.
SMART Goals Examples for Small Business
Small businesses operate differently than large corporations and require setting SMART goals with a level of granularity that allows you to stay focused on results without losing sight of the big picture.
General Goal: Gain New Clients
Specific: Gain 4 new clients this quarter, each with a monthly retainer fee of 5000,000. This will be achieved by repackaging my services, increasing my fees, improving my lead-generation efforts so I can have 3 or more sales conversations each week and build a pipeline of high-quality prospects.
General Goal: Add Customers and Grow Profits
What Are Personal Development Goals for Work?
It can sometimes take a long time to achieve your career goals, they don’t often happen overnight. It’s important to embrace the experiences along the way instead of being narrowly focused on a singular path. Things can happen differently or unexpectedly, and that’s okay.
What are you willing to give up or sacrifice to achieve your career goals? For example, if being close to friends and family is important to you, moving far away for a dream job might not work out. Or, if you love to travel, committing to a job that keeps you behind a desk might be a recipe for disaster. You want your career path to be fulfilling, not draining.
There are going to be rough patches and moments of stress. You can work with a mentor or someone who can help provide advice and solutions to help you get through any struggles.
Paying it forward is one of those things that have unintended positive results. Help other young professionals or students through mentoring or by offering career advice. Do you remember someone who gave you advice early in your career and how helpful it was? Try and return the favor and give back when you can.
Goals and milestones are useless if they’re not attainable. Use the SMART goals process, which is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. This framework helps ensure your goals are specific and quantifiable.
Balancing work and personal life can become stressful. You want to make sure you are delivering on your tasks and responsibilities at work but you also want to have time at home with friends and family. It can sometimes be even more difficult to try and set personal business goals to achieve.
The good news is that there are tons of things that you can do to help you set your goals and ultimately achieve them. Becoming a thought leader, generating new business ideas or improving your focus are just a few of the goals you can set and achieve.
When you are figuring out which goals you want to set, it’s important to make sure that they’re attainable and specific. If they’re not, your journey to achieving them will become bumpy and will likely have some detours. Use the SMART acronym to help make sure your goals are quantifiable and contribute to your growth mindset.