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Welcome back to the Entrepreneur Weekly, your source for everything entrepreneurial success. Of course, in this, the first publication for 2024, we’ll start S.M.A.R.T.  It’s the second week of January 2024 and several entrepreneurs are in the process of drafting their 2024 goals. Setting goals isn’t just a routine task. It’s a strategic manoeuvre that can chart the course of your business.  S.M.A.R.T goals – a savvy acronym representing Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound objectives, is a perfect technique to apply to goal-setting for the new year.

In entrepreneurship, goal-setting is the cornerstone of success. Not all goals are created equal, though. SMART goals provide a structured approach, ensuring your objectives are crystal clear, measurable, and within reach. Without all aspects, you might be goal setting, but not effectively creating a plan for success. Let’s take a closer look at the five elements of S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Specific

The ‘S’ in SMART is your beacon for clarity. Specific goals carve a roadmap for your entrepreneurial journey, eliminating ambiguity and steering your efforts in the right direction. Specificity ensures you have a clear endpoint, guiding your actions with precision.  The goal must be clearly articulated and defined so the necessary actions can be taken to accomplish the goal.  

Measurable

Progress needs a metric. In this section, we’ll explore the significance of measuring progress – the ‘M’ in SMART. You need to have a quantifiable objective so that you can track progress. Define what data will be used to measure the goal and set a method for collection.  This not only keeps you on track but empowers you to make data-driven decisions.

Achievable

Ambitious goals are inspiring, but sustainability demands achievability. Goals need to be realistic in order to maintain the enthusiasm to try to achieve them. Setting big goals without the resources to achieve them is setting up your business for failure.  But you may want to break them down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Consider if the goal is doable. If not, you may need to first ramp up resources to give yourself a shot at success.

Relevant

Aligning goals with your business vision is the key. Ensure each objective contributes meaningfully to the success of your venture. Don’t set goals just as an exercise for something to do. According to Forbes, “One way to determine if the goal is relevant is to define the key benefit to the organisation.” Relevance ensures that every goal plays its part in the grand vision, creating a masterpiece of success.

Time-bound

Time is the entrepreneur’s currency. Goals should have a deadline.  If it doesn’t have a deadline, it’s a goal, but it doesn’t do much.  You want to increase sales.  This could be tomorrow, next week or next year.  Forbes says deadlines help with tracking the success of the goal, “How can you identify success or failure? This is why S.M.A.R.T. goals have a final date.   This doesn’t mean that all the work is done, but it means that you can evaluate the success of the endeavour and set new goals.”

Setting time-bound goals creates urgency, enhances focus, and propels your business forward. Leverage deadlines to your advantage to achieve more and create a rhythm.

5 SMART Goals for Your Small Business

Level up your goal-setting game with these real-life SMART goal examples from Mailchimp:

  1. “Build more customers” vs. “Secure 6 new business accounts before the end of the quarter.”
  2. “Make more profits” vs. “Increase revenue 10% each quarter until the end of the fiscal year.”
  3. “Be more present online” vs. “Increase unique blog views by increasing social media marketing content over the next month.”
  4. “Increase Instagram following” vs. “Grow business Instagram page by gaining 100 followers over the next 6 months.”
  5. “Increase sales” vs. “Strengthen the sales team by ensuring that at least 80% of salespeople in your organisation complete an inbound sales training by the end of the quarter.”

Need Help with Your Business Plan?

Goals and dreams are different. Dreams are wishes and fantasies; goals put your dreams on a deadline and require actionable steps toward achievement. As you enter a new year, incorporate SMART goals into your plans.  The Business Advisory Services (BAS) unit at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) provides guidance with business plans among other business development solutions.  Make that SMART move! Visit https://www.jbdc.net/services/business-advisory-services/ to get started.

Author

Corporate Communications