I have a confession to make.
I know how it feels; you’re all psyched up because you have this great idea for your business, and you just know it will be a huge success – you can FEEL IT! My friend I have been there! It is so easy to get swept away in the launch and all of the “gotta-dos” that you forget to set goals for the business. Or maybe you just say, “I know I need goals but I just don’t have time right now – I will get to it later.”
Well, it’s LATER – have you set your goals? Are you a success? How do you know? Goal setting is the only real way you know if you have arrived – it’s your road map. Great, now you know you need goals, can’t you just say – “My goal is to sell a make money selling widgets” Sure, you can say if and if you like to live with lots of ambiguity this is the perfect statement. Since you are a businesswoman, ambiguity is NOT what you want, you want to know how are you going to get there(wherever “there” is) and if you don’t get there will you know why?
1. Specific – This is your WHAT, WHY and HOW – kind of like the news – if you are breaking a story the reader needs to know Who, What, Where, When, Why and How or it just doesn’t matter. If you are putting your goals into a business plan, you absolutely need to be specific – What are you going to do, Why are you doing it, and How will it be done?
a. I am going to make $30,000 this fiscal year selling widgets. This is important because $30K is the minimum revenue I need to generate in order to expand the business. I will be using an online store with a point of sale to conduct the transactions which I will generate through interactive marketing.
2. Measurable – They say if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. You need to be able to work backward from the end goal to know how much you need accomplish and by when so that you can tell if you are on track. Milestones is another way to look at this – you break your goal down into smaller chunks and that way if you miss a Milestone you can adjust your plan at that point instead of waiting until the 11th hour to try and meet your goal.
a. I am going to sell an average of 1,200, $25 widgets each quarter of this fiscal year. However, I expect the most sales to occur in the third quarter. In the first quarter I will spend 30 hours a week marketing my widgets online and driving traffic to my website. I expect one sale for every 25 visitors in the beginning and then 3 sales for every 25 by the third quarter. This means I need an average of 333 unique visitors per day for the first quarter and only 111 per day by the third quarter.
3. Attainable – Setting goals can be tricky because we often want more that we can have, faster than we can have it. For example if you wanted to lose 30 pounds, you couldn’t do it in a week or even a month – not safely anyway – you would start with 1lb a week and then move it up to say 2lbs a week once you have gotten some momentum. With a sales example like we are using, understanding your ratios is very important and if you are new, you might have to borrow ratios from someone else until you know what yours are. The ratios described above may or may not be attainable but you do need to start somewhere.
4. Realistic – Can your goal actually be attained from where you are right now in your business? This seems very similar to “Attainable” but what it’s really asking is, do you actually have the skills, personnel, tools, products, target market, price point, marketing plan, correction strategies in place to execute this goal and have more than a prayer’s chance of attaining it? Your goal needs to be something that can be done (attainable) and that can be done with some effort but not so much that you are forced to quit before you get started (realistic).
5. Timed – Goals need to have a start and end date else how will you know if you got there? If you are constantly pushing completion dates out to allow for unforeseen challenges, then you probably didn’t set either attainable or realistic goals to begin with. If you don’t make 100% of your Goal in the timeframe you established, set a new Goal but do not just push the first one out. That would be like running a marathon but when you got to 26.2 miles, they say – oh, well we move the finish line out another 3 miles, and another 3, and another 3… you would be so exhausted you would probably quit and never run another marathon again.
The great thing about the SMART system of goal setting is that you can use it for pretty much any goal you want to set – they don’t have to be big, lofty goals – they can be as simple as planning your calendar each week or staying organized. The system can be used to plan events, trips, and purchases. SMART helps you keep both your nose to the grindstone and your eye on the prize.
So you mavens of mercantile, you conductors of commerce – get out there and get SMART! What are you waiting for? Go! Shoo! We are finished here!
XO & Juicy Love!
The Juicy Geniuses Team