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HOW TO SET S.M.A.R.T GOALS

We all know that in order to succeed in business it takes planning–good strategic business planning. However, do we all know what that entails? Planning requires that you know what you want from and for your business. Identifying those desires will determine what goals you must set.

While most of us know what we want–in theory–many don’t know or even realize all of the tiny details that go into getting there. The solution? Goal setting. The problem? Goal setting. The solution to the problem? Understanding how setting appropriate goals can help you to succeed.

S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting

In order for our goals to be appropriate, they must be effective. To be effective, goals need to be focused. Focused goals provide a clear picture of what is desired and a direct path to get there. One way that many business owners find success in their goal setting is by taking the SMART approach. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. The SMART approach is a method for analyzing and ultimately setting better goals.

Specific

A specific goal clearly defines what you want. Let’s say your goal is “to make money”. Great–join the club. Don’t we all? The problem with that statement is that you have not stated, let alone determined exactly how much you want to make–and please do not say “lots”. Such a simple goal tells people that you have not put thought into what you want and therefore, you probably have no earthly idea on what it will take to get there–where ever there is. However, if your goal is “to make $100,000 in one year” now we are getting somewhere! You’ve identified a specific amount in a certain period of time. You know what you’re shooting for and have more than likely mapped out a plan of what it will take to get there.

Measurable

By specifying how much you want to make, your goal is now measurable. A goal to make lots of money is relative. For you lots might be $1,000 while for someone else, it might mean $1,000,000. By specifying the amount, you have created a target to shoot for in your business planning. It also focuses your business’s activities on the specific goal of making $100,000. As well, a defined goal can be broken down into smaller sub-goals that are tracked and measured as you progress towards the main goal. Keep in mind that your goal can be measured in various other ways, such as units or percentages, as long as it is a number that can be broken down, tracked and measured.

Attainable

Now that we’ve set a goal that is both specific and measurable, it’s time to apply some pragmatism. Ask yourself, “Is my goal attainable?” Meaning, can you really achieve this goal as specified or can you achieve it at all? If you set a goal that is beyond your capabilities, it will discourage you. If you are a brand new business, then a goal to make $100,000 within your first year might not be attainable (of course this depends upon the type of business). So you will need to tweak the goal, just a bit. After giving more consideration to your business, your new–and more attainable–goal might be “to make $100,000 over the course of the first three years in business”. Though it’s not as lofty and romantic as the original goal, it is now much more probable that you will be able to achieve the goal in the specified time.

Realistic

So now we have a goal that is specific, measurable and attainable, but is it realistic? A realistic goal is not overly lofty–such as trying to make $100,000 your first year in business–but it shouldn’t be easy either. Hint:  a goal of making $100 in your first year, isn’t much of a challenge or a goal for that matter–and who wants to settle for an annual profit totaling exactly one measly Benjamin? When setting goals, be sure that they challenge you and your business, but aren’t so difficult that they discourage you.

Timely

All goals should have a time limit. Whether it is a month or a year, when you set a goal, have a predetermined time of when you want to achieve it. This emphasizes the importance of the goal and motivates regular, purposeful progress towards the goal in order to meet the deadline.

Are your goals SMART? If not what adjustments do you need to make to your goal setting to ensure that your goals are appropriate? The next time you set goals for yourself or your business, try using the SMART approach to create goals that are focused and effective.

How do you determine your goals? Do you use the SMART approach or similar method? Share your goal setting secrets with the MYBB community in the comments section!

 

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Louiseza Sanderson

Louiseza Sanderson

Louiseza Sanderson is a business consultant, writer and the founder of www.MindYourBlackBusiness.com. She is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. It was during her time in the military that she learned the value of hard work, community and serving the needs of others. Following her military service she earned a bachelor's degree in business and an MBA in business communications.

She began consulting with the explicit goal of providing affordable business consultation and guidance to those who might not otherwise have access. "I started consulting by 'inherent accident'. I've spent my whole life gathering information, in hopes that it would benefit someone," says Sanderson. When it comes to working with her clients, she believes that the key is to find the human factor. By doing so, she helps her clients to find the best solution for their business, by first figuring out what is best for the person. Her hope is to help such entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits who share her vision of giving back-- be it through job creation, innovation or a cause.

As a consultant and business owner herself, Sanderson came to realize that while there are many resources for small business owners, there were very few that provided a platform for micro and small Black owned businesses, as well as the information germane to them. These are the mom and pops, solo-preneurs and other businesses and organizations that are really the heart and soul of the local (Black) community. She shares, "The vision of Mind Your Black Business is the culmination of what I am most passionate about and what I do best--helping others to achieve their dreams and helping small businesses grow."

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