How To Make SMART Goals Smarter

SMART goals | BCBusiness
Don’t get bogged down in the generalities of your goals. Set up a specific plan of action, especially when setting goals for your business.

It’s January, so don’t pretend you haven’t set some kind of goal, even if you vigorously deny it publicly as stupid. The new year is a time of renewal and everybody sets goals, even if they are secret. 

Since we’re a couple of weeks into 2013, let’s see how your goals are shaping up. 

Yes, goals. We all set them even if we go around telling everyone that we don’t indulge in that kind of fantasy.

Presumably, the goals you have created are SMART, as in specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed. But have you identified exactly what you want?

The problem with goal setting is that it’s often a which list. Those goals may be SMART, but they’re still not clear. So here’s how to make those SMART goals smarter.

Write action steps. At this point the goals may be SMART but they are still in wish-list territory. Create a series of action steps so you’ll have a map to guide you to the end point.

Action Step 1. Be real. We all like to think we’re rational, but most of us prefer dreaming. So for each goal you have set, write down the realities and potential setbacks. 

Action Step 2. Write down some options. This will get you moving. Brainstorm what you need to do to to reach that goal, even if it’s tiny, like getting better business cards made.

Action Step 3. Dive deeper. Despite SMART thinking, chances are those goals were still pretty vague when you made them. So now you refine them with more details. For example: “Gain three new clients in the first quarter (ends March 31).” Make that goal smarter by adding more detail, i.e., describe those clients; separate prospects into frogs and princes; describe how and where you’re going to find them; and describe how you’re going to get them (step by step).

Action Step 4. Take all the options from Action Step 2 and rearrange them into a plan, i.e., Action 1, Action 2, Action 3, etc. This makes your goal plan useful and pointed in the right direction.

Action Step 5. Follow the plan to the letter. Sprinkle the steps thoughout your calendar. But don’t get hung up — if something in the plan doesn’t work, pivot and try something else. Don’t let a reversal stop you. Keep moving.

This all sounds great, but it doesn’t really address the biggest problem of all when goal setting, especially if it involves drumming up more business.

That’s shotgunning, or “finding customers.” You don’t just find clients or customers — you should find the right clients or customers. That means defining the kind of people you want to work with, including their likes, dislikes, passions and style.
This doesn’t mean you don’t talk to anyone but your ideal client, but it does mean you keep the concept of “fit” in mind when you’re talking to any prospect.

Good luck.