What is a SMART Goal and How Do You Use it to Make Your Business Better?
Goals are an important part of running an ecommerce business. They provide focus, improve teamwork and productivity, increase morale, and help you measure success. By comparing your business’ performance to the goals you set, you’ll have an easy-to-read snapshot of where your business actually sits in the market versus where you expected it to be. If you’ve achieved or exceeded your goals, you can set new ones to help your business reach new heights. On the flip side, if you didn’t reach your goals, you know you need to sit down and carefully examine where you went wrong. This is easier to do if your goals start out as SMART, which is an acronym used to describe a method of goal-setting. A SMART goal is:
- S – Specific
- M- Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time Sensitive
Setting goals works best when those goals are clear, specific, and focused on completing a single task at a time. A specific goal helps you focus your efforts on achieving it, because you’ll know exactly what to work towards and how to accomplish that work. The best way to make your goals specific is to answer the five Ws:
- What do I want to accomplish? List a single achievement you want to reach, rather than listing multiple achievements at once. For example: “I want to increase the number of people following my business’ social media accounts.”
- Who is involved in achieving this? Simply name a party or two who will be involved in reaching the goals you set. For example: “I want to work with my marketing team to increase the number of people following my business’ social media accounts.”
- Where will the goal be achieved: You may answer this question with a specific geographic location, or a more abstract place. For example: “I want to work with my marketing team to increase the number of people following my business’ Twitter account.” In this case, the location of your SMART goal is Twitter.
- When do I want to accomplish this task by? The most successful goals operate within a very specific time frame. Open ended goals are almost impossible to measure because you may never accomplish them. For example: “I want to work with my marketing team to increase the number of people following my business’ Twitter account in six months’ time.”
- Why do I want to meet this goal? Knowing the why of your goals helps you and your team understand the purpose and desired outcome of their work. For example: “I want work with my marketing team to increase the number of people following my business’ Twitter account in six months’ time in order to improve public awareness of my brand.”
A SMART Goal Should Be Measurable
The next step in creating successful goals is to make them measurable. Your measuring criteria allow you to track your goal’s progress and your likelihood of achieving it within the time frame you set. The best way to set measurable goals is to ask yourself these questions: how many/much, how do I know if I have reached my goal, and what indicates my progress? In the example above, progress would be determined by marking how many followers your Twitter account has at the beginning of the SMART goal, and setting a number you wish you reach by the end of it. For example: “I want to work with my marketing team to increase the number of people following my business’ Twitter account in six months’ time. I want to gain 240 followers by the end of the period, or 10 followers per week.”
In order to be successful, your goals must challenge you but also be realistically attainable. If you set goals far beyond your capabilities, you’ll be disappointed and frustrated every time you don’t reach them. In order to set achievable goals, ask yourself if you have the resources necessary to complete the task (and if you don’t, what’s missing), and have other businesses accomplished this task successfully before? For example, a small business with a small to nonexistent social media marketing budget is less likely to grow their Twitter page by thousands of followers than a big business with the funding to pay for sponsored content.
Every time you set new goals for your business, you must ensure that they actually matter to you. Relevant goals should also align with some of the other goals your business has, in order to drive the entire company forward. To determine if a goal is relevant, you should be able to answer “yes” to all of these questions about it:
- Is this task worthwhile?
- Is this the right time to start this task?
- Does this task match the other goals and needs of my business?
If you answer “no” to a single question, that’s a sign that there are probably more important goals for you to focus your time and effort on.
Although this is the last step in setting a SMART goal for your business, you should have already set a time frame for your goal in the first step. But, setting a time frame is so important to your goals that it’s worth mentioning twice. A goal that isn’t bound by a deadline has no sense of urgency and will often be shoved to the back-burner, never to be completed. By not setting a specific deadline, you also reduce the measurability of your goals and thus make determining your success harder.
Be smart by setting SMART goals for your business.
Visit Shopivo and stay tuned for exciting news and updates! Sign up for our emails and stay up-to-date on new developments and features.