If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a ton of ideas for new projects or businesses in your head. And, you’re probably sure that they’re winning ideas too.
But, the harsh reality is: ideas alone will rarely get you anywhere.
What really matters is the way that you execute those ideas.
And sure, it can be tough to make sure that you execute your ideas properly, but SMART goals can certainly help you on your way.
But, what are SMART goals? Well, they’re goals which are “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant”, and “Time-bound”.
At Oberlo we’re here to help you succeed, so we’ve created this article to guide you through the process of creating and setting SMART goals for yourself.
We’re also going to walk you through the importance of setting goals, and explain why they’re important for boosting your own productivity.
Okay, let’s get started!
Why Is It Important to Set Goals?
The idea of success is different for everybody. So too is the path that they need to take to achieve that success.
But, there’s one common trait that successful people tend to share: they set goals.
And why do successful people set goals for themselves?
Well, goals are the north star which will guide you along your path to success.
It doesn’t matter how large of difficult your task is, nor does it matter how far away you are from success right now. If you set yourself achievable goals then you’ll give yourself the focus and direction that you need to succeed.
Plus, you can set yourself SMART goals that will help you to boost your productivity. If you follow the framework of SMART goals and make sure that they’re “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant”, and “Time-bound” then you’ll certainly be motivated to stay productive.
Why? Well, SMART goals do a great job of making the path to success seem much clearer.
On the topic of making things clearer, it’s time to dive into each aspect of SMART goals, starting with “Specific” goals.
Specific SMART Goals
The first step to nailing your SMART goals is to ensure they are specific.
And when we say specific, it’s a good practice to make sure that your goals aren’t just specific to you – they should be specific to you, your team, and/or your entire organization.
Everybody should be able to read your SMART goal and gain a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, and the steps that you’re going to take to ensure that you achieve it.
That’s why it’s a great idea to be detail-oriented when you’re setting up your SMART goals. Take as much time as you need to think about what you want to achieve that will have the highest impact, and why you want to achieve it.
Let’s analyze the following example of a specific SMART goal:
“I want to make more money from my business.”
This would be a subpar specific SMART goal – it’s far too broad. Sure, you know what you want to achieve, but there isn’t enough information about how you’re going to achieve it, or why you want to do that.
Instead, we recommend setting a SMART goal similar to the following:
“I want to increase my profit 10% month over month until the end of this year. I want to achieve this by scaling up my Facebook advertising campaigns and optimizing them for ad spend.”
Here we see a clear, tangible objective with information about how that person is going to achieve it. A perfect example of a specific SMART goal.
Measurable SMART Goals
The next thing that you’ll need to consider when you’re creating SMART goals is to ensure that you’re always trying to achieve something which is measurable.
If you ensure that your goal is measurable, you’ll also be able to track your performance along your way. This will help you to gauge how much more time and resources are required for you to fully achieve your goal.
Also, try to consider which tools (if any) you’ll need to properly measure your goal.
For example, if your goal is to draw more traffic to your website, then you’ll need to find a tool that’ll help you to properly track how many people are visiting, like Google Analytics.
So, a good example of a measurable SMART goal would look like this:
“I want to increase the traffic to my blog by 20%. Unique pageviews will be my hero metric, but I’ll also consider health metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and pages per session.”
Achievable SMART Goals
One of the most important parts of setting SMART goals is ensuring that your goals are actually achievable in the first place.
After all, nobody likes failing to hit a goal which they’ve set for themselves.
But, that also doesn’t mean that you should be scared to fail.
Failure is a great thing – we learn and grow so much once we’ve failed.
So, don’t restrict yourself by setting goals which are easy to achieve – reach high instead.
In fact, when we’re talking about setting achievable goals, we’re actually talking about setting goals which are only achievable if everything goes right. You should always need to push yourself to excel and achieve your SMART goals.
So, consider the amount of time that you can spend on your projects, the amount of resources that you can dedicate to them, and use that information to formulate realistic goals for yourself.
Here’s a great example of an achievable SMART goal:
“I want to increase my Instagram following 10% month over month. I’ll use carefully curated content that is coupled with high-potential hashtags to do this.”
A clear, realistic SMART goal that also explains the steps that you’ll be taking to achieve it. Perfect.
Relevant SMART Goals
Setting SMART goals for yourself can be fun, and almost therapeutic even.
But, it’s essential that you don’t get too carried away when you’re coming up with a list of things that you want to achieve in the future.
Always try to stay as relevant as possible when you’re setting SMART goals for yourself or your team. Everything that you want to achieve should be working towards your overarching vision or mission statement.
So, if you’re running a business, all of your SMART goals should be relevant towards the goals of your store.
Let’s take a look at a great example of a relevant SMART goal for a business owner:
“I want to improve my skills in Facebook advertising so I can optimize my campaigns and ultimately increase my store’s revenue.”
Here we see a highly-relevant SMART goal for an entrepreneur – the goal clearly defines how it attributes itself to the store’s goals.
Time-Bound SMART Goals
The final thing that you’ll need to consider when you’re setting SMART goals for yourself is to ensure that they’re time-bound.
Essentially, every SMART goal that you set must have a clear deadline which states when you want to achieve it.
Well, if you make your goals time-bound, you’ll need to stay focused and productive while you’re working through your projects.
Plus, you can also set mini-deadlines for yourself to spur you on along the way.
So, here’s what a good time-bound SMART goal would look like:
“At the end of September I want to be attracting 1,000 unique users per day to my website. That means I’ll need to increase my traffic tenfold in the next 3 months.”
As you can see, there’s a clear deadline for when I want to achieve the goal. It’s also relevant to my business goals, specific, measurable, and achievable. Overall, a pretty great SMART goal.
How to Write a Smart Goal: An Example
So, in the previous sections of this post we’ve covered all of the things that you’ll need to take into consideration when you’re coming up with all your own SMART goals.
But, we know that you might still be wondering how to write a SMART goal for yourself, which is why we’ve created an example below.
SMART Goal Template
Here, you’ll find a template that we’ve created to help you make sure that you always hit each point from the SMART acronym – feel free to use this structure for yourself and make your own SMART goals.
Okay, let’s dive into our example for entrepreneurs.
Specify your goal: “I want to increase my store’s revenue by $500 month over month.”
How will you measure your goal? “I’ll use Shopify’s in-app analytics to measure the amount of revenue that I take in every month.”
Is your goal achievable? “Yes, it’ll be tough at first, but as I continue to grow, an additional $500 should certainly be achievable. I’ll also be able to scale up my marketing campaigns as the additional cash flow arrives.”
Is your goal relevant to your mission? “100%. As a store owner, revenue is one of my main KPIs. It’s always a good thing if I’m taking in more money, as I can choose to reinvest that back into the business, or keep it as profit and put it towards something else.”
Is your goal time-bound? “Yes, but it doesn’t have one specific deadline. Instead, it’s a goal that I’ll need to hit and renew at the end of each month. But, it’s a goal which will ensure that I’m constantly striving towards more growth more for my business, which is only a good thing!”
So, there you have it – that’s exactly what a SMART goal looks like.
Not so hard, huh?
Start Using SMART Goals Yourself
Okay, that’s all you need to know about SMART goals – thanks for sticking around.
Now, it’s time to start using SMART goals yourself, and making sure that you achieve your maximum potential.
Try them out – we’ve found that they’re great for those who need help with directing their focus, or boosting their productivity levels.
And, if you’ve got any questions about SMART goals feel free to leave them in the comments section below – we read them all!