Strategy, Legal & Operations

How to set smarter business goals

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It’s difficult (and inadvisable) to attempt to control every area of your business, particularly if it’s growing quickly. Instead, setting SMARTER business goals will help you control what matters, in the way that matters to your business.

Here’s how to do it.

Specific: Rather than setting a general goal like “I want to grow my business,” decide exactly what you want to achieve. For example, are you going to grow your business by increasing sales or by cutting costs? Doing both at the same time could prove problematic.

Measurable: If you want to increase sales or cut costs, set a financial target for your goal that you can track using financial information. For example, you may say, “We will cut costs by 10%” or “We will increase sales by 10%.”

Attainable: You must have a means of achieving your goal. If you want to increase sales, consider if you can cross-sell or up-sell your products or services. Then, include this means in your goal. For example, “We will increase sales by 10% by up-selling X product to Y segment.”

Realistic: Increasing sales by 10% may be ambitious, but can your business achieve it? Remember, a stretch goal pushes your team beyond what’s been done before, while a realistic goal is based on past performances.

Time-framed: Set a deadline for your goals and work them into your business plan. Typically, quarterly business goals work because they’re not so long away that they feel unachievable, and you can track them alongside your financial reports. For example, “We will increase sales by 5% during the first quarter through up-selling X product to Y segment.”

Evaluate: At the end of the quarter, review your SMARTER goals and consider how you’re progressing against a financial target. You can do this using up-to-date financial information paired with business insights from your team.

Re-do: Once you’ve evaluated your progress, adjust your goal for the coming quarter by doubling down on what works and abandoning what doesn’t.

By following the SMARTER formula for your business goals, you’ll be in better control of your whole business.

For even more financial business tips, download our free “Six Stages of Smarter Money Management” ebook.

How to set smarter business goals

Two women smiling in front of a computer