How to set SMART goals for your online business

Successful online entrepreneurs and achievers in all fields all set goals.

Setting goals helps you define your long-term vision and they provide you with the short-term motivation to get where you want to go. Goals focus you on getting the knowledge you need to succeed and they help you to organize your time and resources so that you can create the business & life you want.

In this post I’ll provide a quick overview of what SMART goals are, how to get started crafting them and i’ll provide you with free Excel template you can download to help you get started crafting your own goals.

SMART goals are a way of capturing goals so they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. This is the best way to capture your goals and generally the most effective in the long run if you want to reach them.

Whether you have short-term or long-term goals, the planning template below will help you manage the process easily.

But before jumping in to the template, let’s review what S.M.A.R.T. stands for.

1. Specific

When creating a goal, you want it to be as short and specific as possible. “Make more money” or “Sell more stuff” isn’t really a specific enough goal you can reach. Your goals need to target a specific area for improvement.

A specific goal will usually answer one or more of the 5 ‘W’s:

  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why: Why are you doing this? Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who: Who is involved?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

2. Measurable

You can’t improve what you don’t measure and the same goes for goals.

Some business owners tell us they want to “increase their social media following.”

While this a relatively specific goal, it’s not really a trackable or measurable goal. If you start the new year with 100 followers, and end with 101, technically you met your goal but if you switch that goal to read more like, “We want to increase our Instagram following by 25%,” then you can measure your progress monthly and see if you’re on track with increasing your followers from 100 to 125.

A measurable goal will usually answer questions like “How much?” or “How many?”.

3. Attainable

It’s important to keep your goals realistic and achievable. If in the past 2 years you’ve generated an average of 5 leads per month, jumping to 2,000 new leads per month would be significant change and probably a goal you won’t even come close to reaching. SMART goals are goals you can actually achieve and that’s the point right? Make your goals attainable but not too easy. You have to find the balance.

An attainable goal will usually answer the question of How?

  • How can the goal be accomplished?
  • How realistic is the goal based on other constraints?

4. Relevant

What’s the point of having a goal if the goal doesn’t matter to your business?

Say you’re a manufacturer that can only sell 1,500 products a month. In this situation, your goal shouldn’t be to “increase production from 1,500 per month to 5,000 per month.” While it’s great that you have more product to sell, if your existing distributors won’t buy more, what’s the point of having this goal?

Your goal should be something more like, “increase distribution channels by X%.”

A relevant goal generally answer yes to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?

5. Time-Bound

All of the above points I’ve made help you develop a solid goal. The next vital piece is to ensure you have a time line for meeting your goal. Going back to the manufacturing example, if you do decide your goal is to increase distribution channels, you need to set a time frame as to when you will accomplish this goal in order to know when to start working on a secondary goal of increasing production.

A time-bound goal will usually answer the question of When?

I hope this quick overview of what SMART goals are and how to get started crafting them was helpful.

Click here to download our free template and get started crafting your 2015 SMART marketing goals.

If you need help setting your goals, we would be happy to help.


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