What a year it was! It’s a new month, a new year and there’s nothing more refreshing and exciting than starting over with a big press of the reset button!
If ever there was a time to hit reset on your business, I can’t think of a better one than right now. We are all ready to leave last year behind us and move on to bigger and better things aren’t we? Here at Blue Cricket, we always get a surge of energy as a new year starts because our goals reset, our marketing strategies reset and many times, we get an onslaught of new clients coming as they start to tackle their own marketing goals.
Goals. There’s the word. Goals are the things many of us start to set for ourselves with a positive vibe, only to spiral into a world of defeat and failure. Why is that? Some of the biggest reasons we fail at accomplishing our goals that we set every year around this time, is because we set goals that are either unrealistic, don’t give ourselves deadlines, don’t truly matter to us or they aren’t clearly defined. Sadly…for some business owners, that’s exactly what happens in their marketing efforts.
No matter the size of the goal or the timeline to completion, we have some guidance for you that should help you in setting any business goal you have in mind.
It is important to remember that the whole intention of setting goals is so that you can focus your attention and efforts on achieving them. It’s all about making them a priority. As a company, we believe strongly in SMART goals and have found our chances of success is increased anytime we think SMART.
What are SMART goals?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-Bound
I remember when I was in school, anytime I had to write an essay or paper, my teacher always instructed us to use Who, What, Where, When and Why to explain what is happening. At the time, I may not have fully understood why she made us do all that, but I think it applies to many aspects in life.
Those 5 W’s are truly the only way to specifically explain something. If you are missing, even one, you are missing a piece of the story. It’s the same thing with setting your business goals. If you are using the 5 W’s, your direction will be clear and you will have the highest change of success.
Who\Which resources should be included to achieve this goal? This is especially critical in group projects or where a resource other than you is being utilized.
What exactly is it that I am trying to accomplish with these goals? The more details the better!
Where is this goal happening? Is it a geo location or a “where” in your business? Even if your “where” is online sales and not an actual physical location, if it is a relevant part of the goal, be sure to include it.
When does it need to happen and are there milestones along the way? The more specific your timeframe is the more accurate you can be in your definition.
Why do I want to achieve this goal. Why is it important to achieve it?
Let’s look at an example.
I would like to increase the number of clients we have this year.
That’s a great goal, but it’s not very specific is it? We know “what” and a vague “when” but we are missing the “who”, “where” and “why”. Let’s try again.
I would like my sales team to utilize our newly acquired CRM to nurture and grow our US based clients by two each month, ending with a total of 24 new clients by December 31, 2021, so that we can grow our staff by 3 additional team members.
This is a very specific goal and tells us all of the overall specific details of our goal. We know exactly what the goal is, why it’s important, who’s going to be involved, where our clients are and when we want it completed by.
Having your goal be measurable in some way, not only defines your goals further but it also sets expectations for everyone involved and helps to keep you motivated to keep going. This is the marker you will use to quantify your results and know when you’ve reached success.
If your goal is a long-term project, you will of course have a target date, but you also may have intermittent milestone dates along the way.
As marketing experts, when we start new marketing campaigns, we begin by defining measurable goals with our clients. Some of the things we can look at are:
How long will the campaign run?
What is the budget for the campaign?
How many split ads will run?
How many engagements are we aiming for?
What is the expected revenue or quantity sold?
Are we measuring quantitative results such as revenue or cost savings or are we measuring qualitative results such as testimonials from clients?
Nothing sets you up for failure faster than setting goals that are unrealistic and completely unachievable under ordinary circumstances. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be aggressive in your goal setting, it’s always great to raise the bar, but there’s still a level of realism you should work within in order to set a goal that’s achievable.
Some questions you can ask yourself:
Is your goal realistic from a financial perspective?
Do you have the budget to reach the measurable goal you have set?
Is your goal able to be filled by your company or are you putting yourself in hot water by not being able to complete an orders or sign-ups it receives?
Does your goal have a realistic expectation on the timeline or is it an impossible deadline?
Does your goal require any notoriety that you don’t quite have yet?
Setting business goals may not be the highlight of your life, but we don’t want anyone creating goals simply for the sake of creating them. Your business goals need to be relevant and make sense for your business.
A relevant goal has benefit and a reason that is obvious as to why your business needs that goal achieved.
Some questions you can ask yourself to determine if your goal is relevant to your business:
Does the goal feel important to our business?
Is it the right time to pursue the goal?
Will the goal enhance our business?
Do our other goals we are working on align with this goal?
Open-ended goals simply don’t work. If you set goals without a clear definition of a deadline, they can stretch into…well…forever.
Any goal you set should have a timeline defined so that everyone working on the tasks to accomplish that goal is on the same page as to when it’s expected to be complete. This is also crucial when multiple milestones with multiple dates and dependencies are in play.
A time-bound goal should be able to answer questions such as:
When do we start our project?
What milestones need to be completed in 3 months? 6 months?
When is the final goal result to be achieved and measured?
Remember, to write your goals down, document them on paper, in an email, or in your project management software. Set a reminder to look at them daily, weekly or monthly, depending on your schedule, but don’t lose momentum.
As we move forward into the year, my hope for anyone reading this, is that you understand how best to set your goals using the SMART system to define goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound in order to set yourself up for the highest level of success possible.
Ready to apply SMART goals to your business with our free download? Just enter your email below to be taken to our free SMART goals worksheet download.
Misty Spears is the CEO of Blue Cricket Media and Chief Coffee Drinker. She is passionate about marketing and loves helping businesses grow into great success stories. She has more than 10 years working with an IT focus in the multifamily and education industries and truly enjoys working one-on-one with other CEO's to grow their business and increase ROI. You can find her on Twitter to hear about her latest adventure, favorite coffee bars or bragging on her amazing shoe collection.