It’s the time of year that we all collectively stop and reflect on our businesses & then make goals for the coming year. January is full of new intentions, hopes for the future & changing habits. It’s a great time for business owners to reflect on what worked & what didn’t work last year. We need time to reassess so we can take leadership over the direction of our growth each year.
Unfortunately a lot of us ditch our goals by the time February rolls around, and there’s a reason for that! (And no, it’s not that you didn’t have enough motivation!)
Here’s something I have learned when it comes to making changes & goal setting: if you aren’t setting goals with very specific intentions, it becomes really hard to follow through.
No, you aren’t lazy. And no, it’s not that you didn’t actually want changes. But as business owners it’s easy to fabricate a big, sweeping goal without thinking through the details. Or even worse, we borrow ideas from other business owners (most of the time without even realizing it!) and think we should measure up to their benchmark of success.
That’s not the most realistic thing when you think about it.
Something that has helped me a lot when I am setting goals is using the SMART goals method. You may have heard of it before, but I’m going to break it down today & share specifically how you can use it as a tool in your business.
If you are distracted from, or ignoring, your 2022 resolutions…didn’t even want to make them…or are just craving some changes in your business this year, I hope this helps make it achievable.
You can dive into a great 2022 with clear, achievable goals & feel good about the process.
So, let’s get into it:
SMART is an acronym for five different filters to run a goal through before implementing it. Each step can provide small changes to your goal, to make it align more to your life! (The more aligned and realistic your goals are, the more likely you will be to stick to them. And the more you achieve, the more goals you’ll want to set. It’s the best version of a domino effect).
S = Specific: the goal should be clear, narrow, and focused so anyone who looked at it would understand exactly what was trying to be achieved. Nothing vague going on here!
Example: I want to reach 6 figures in gross revenue through my business this year.
M = Measurable: the goal should be something that can be quantified in some way. This not only helps make it specific, but also gives clear benchmarks on the way toward success, and is a clear indicator of what it will mean when the goal is accomplished.
Example: I want to book 35 weddings in 2022.
A = Achievable: the goal should be a stretch but should also be realistic, otherwise you will set yourself up for failure. That said, I am a believer in the “aim high” approach, because even if you do not reach the high goal, you probably made incredible progress.
Example: I want to start a mentorship program & sell X amount of spots.
R = Relevant: the goal should be important to forwarding your vision for your business. It should clearly align with what you do, how you do it, and who your company serves. Don’t fall into the trap of subconsciously borrowing someone else’s goal you saw they posted for their business. Put your blinders on and think about what is relevant to your business. We all have different strengths and & weaknesses, so think about what worked well last year for you and what didn’t.
Example: I want to streamline my client workflow and reduce the time I spend on emails to one hour a day..
T = Timely: every goal should have a clear target date for achievement. For your purposes with a one year plan, most of your goals should fall within or around the one year mark. Write that date down, put it on a sticky note on your desk…whatever you need to do to make the timeline clear for yourself.
Example: By December 31st, 2022 I want to sell out my 35 weddings for 2023.
Now that you know how to actually set the SMART goals, let’s talk about next steps:
Strategic actions are tasks, steps, or projects that one does either once or in repetition. These are the things you will do to work toward achieving your SMART goals.
For actions to be strategic, they are necessary, important, and relevant to the goal(s) you are trying to reach. Don’t just set a goal and then wait for it to happen. Planning strategic actions that work toward your goals will help you make progress.
Also keep in mind, actions that are strategic have a direct purpose related to your goals. Ensuring that your actions are intentional means that you won’t waste time on unrelated or unimportant tasks, instead you’ll always be focused on tasks that will meaningfully forward your business. And because, as a business owner, you’re always going to have to prioritize, being crystal clear on your goals will help you decide which actions get priority.
I recommend creating quarterly strategic actions and checking in once at the start of each new quarter to guide yourself and check progress toward your SMART goals.
Let’s break this down together:
Example of turning a goal into a SMART goal:
- Goal: Raise my prices.
- SMART Goal: By the end of 2022 I will raise my prices to an average booking of $XXXX per wedding.
Do you see how it feels different after reading the SMART goal vs the vague initial goal?
All of the sudden your brain will start finding solutions because the SMART goal brought intention & a deadline. Your brain loves to problem solve. And by having clarity & strategy around your goals, you can reverse engineer the steps you need to take to get there.