We all have goals. Some are personal and others professional. Some are short term, and others are longer term. But whatever the goal, be sure it is something you can actually work toward. A vague, unspecific, unattainable goal can never be reached. Similarly, if there are no guideposts to your goals, you simply can’t measure your success. As such, the most successful business owners create goals which are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By ensuring goals meet these characteristics, they will become far easier to achieve.

Specific – Setting a goal to increase revenues doesn’t really mean much. It is not specific. Setting a goal to increase revenues by 15% is specific.

Measurable – Setting a goal to run your business better is virtually unattainable because you can’t measure it. What does “better” mean? Make sure you can measure your success.

Attainable – Setting a goal to have a physical location in all 50 states within 3 months of starting up with no seed capital is not attainable. No matter how hard you try, you can’t possibly do that. Set a goal that can be achieved. Making it a stretch is ok, but make sure there is a clear path to completion.

Relevant – A goal that has no bearing on what you would like to change is not helpful. There may be many areas you would like to tackle, but be sure you understand how the goal you set is actually relevant to the issue at hand.

Time-Bound – Setting a goal to grow revenues by 15% is great, but if you do not have a time by which you would like to see this happen, it can be difficult to create a plan to meet that goal. Instead, put a time-cap on it, such within 12 or 24 months.

By creating goals that are SMART, you will find that your strategic planning to hit your goals becomes easier, you achieve more of your goals, and your business becomes more productive. It is always a good idea to have goals; just be smart about them.…