Creating Truly S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Setting goals can be a powerful accelerator of your business growth.  In addition to motivating us to take action, they focus our energy and effort, help us look past distractions, and enhance our determination and persistence.

Well, that’s true if those goals are properly structured so they actually motivate us!

Enter “SMART Goals”. The ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ acrostic is intended to help us remember the important characteristics (or structure) of our goals. Here’s what each letter stands for:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Actionable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time bound 


It’s important to ensure that our goals are specific. This characteristic of a goal provides the focus and clarity we need to ensure we’re taking the appropriate amount of action.

For example, if our goal for 2020 is to ‘grow our business’, that might be a reasonable objective, but it’s not specific. So, it doesn’t create the clarity we need. However, if we want to ‘go from doing 10 weddings last year, to doing 15 weddings next year’, the growth is very specific. “5 more weddings than last year,” and the goal is 15 weddings in 2020.


Photo Credit: Sweet Like Pie


This characteristic makes sure we will know if we achieve the goal or not. And it will define what achievement looks like for us. Sticking with the theme of growing our business, how do we want to measure ‘growth’? Do we want to measure it by income (the dollars) or by the number of weddings we do?

Let’s say we want to improve on our customer service. Do we measure that by the ratings we get? Or the comments we get? Or the number of referrals?

The importance here ties to the old saying ‘what gets measured gets attention.” So we want to set the right measure for our goals.

Photo Credit: Sweet Like Pie


A major benefit of setting goals is that they motivate us to take action. So, if a goal isn’t one we can take action on, then it’s not very valuable. But what sort of goals aren’t actionable? Those that are out of our control.

Say I set a goal to get 5 ‘unsolicited’ referrals from past clients. Well, there’s nothing I can do to get those referrals, because if I did…then they would be ‘solicited’. Unactionable goals mean that the results are outside of our control.

So, we want to make sure that the goals we set, the goals that we write down, are ones that we can take action to achieve. (Understand, it’s not that we can control the ultimate outcome, but at least we can take actions that make it more likely to happen.)

Photo Credit: Sweet Like Pie


This piece is important emotionally, or psychologically. Because if we don’t believe the goal we set is realistic, it won’t inspire us. It won’t be motivational. If we set a goal that’s ‘so far out there’ then we’ll believe it’s virtually impossible to hit. So, we won’t even try. Instead, what we start doing is making excuses as to why we can’t hit it. Which is not why we’re setting goals in the first place!

So, the best goals are ones that may be challenging, yet are ones we still feel we have a realistic chance of achieving.

Photo Credit: Sweet Like Pie


This final part is important as well. We have to set the date by which we want to achieve the goal. Without the date, there’s no sense of urgency to take action.

Without a date, we’re never able to evaluate if we actually achieved the goal or not. We also can’t determine our progress toward achieving the goal.

So, we want to make sure that we also include the date by which, or the timeframe within which, we want to reach the results we’ve set out to achieve.

Photo Credit: Sweet Like Pie

Setting goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound is a valuable activity in our business. This approach ensures the goals we set will help us move ahead in our business and take actions to achieve what we truly want to achieve in our business.

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