SMART Goals: An Acronym for Success

Short- and long-term goals are essential in business. By planning for the future, you work toward developing a business that is successful and sustainable. There are some strategies for creating goals that enable you and your team to effectively accomplish your business objectives. One such strategy is SMART goals, which ask you to clearly define all of the variables related to your company’s goals, to make it easier and more likely that you achieve them.

 

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What are SMART goals? 

The SMART method helps you effectively approach reaching your goals in the workplace. The SMART acronym stands for:

  • Specific: Increase the chances that you are able to accomplish the goals for your business by making sure they’re well-defined. Determine the who, what, where, when and why.
  • Measurable: Develop criteria for measuring progress toward your business’ goals. Detail the key indicators that help you decide if and when you reach your goal by quantifying them. 
  • Achievable: Create goals for your business that are attainable and achievable by ensuring that you and your team have the skills and resources to reach the goal. 
  • Relevant: Align your company goals with the overall objectives of your business and the realities of the market. 
  • Time-bound: Give yourself and your staff a deadline for reaching your goal to provide a sense of urgency and the opportunity to schedule the steps you plan to take to achieve the goal.

Related: Goals vs. Objectives in Business: A Guide for Managers

 

Benefits of using SMART goals 

There are many benefits for using SMART goals in business, such as it:

  • Increases the likelihood of achieving your goals. Using the SMART goals acronym when creating business objectives may give you and your team more motivation, focus and clarity. 
  • Identifies the steps needed to reach your goals. Thinking through the details enables you to create an action plan and identify the support, resources and training you need to accomplish your company’s goals.
  • Allows you to effectively grow your business. Using the SMART goals acronym helps you establish a target date for deliverables, enabling you to prioritize the goal and see real results. This is especially beneficial as it helps you avoid getting distracted by day-to-day tasks, temporarily dismissing some of your long-term goals for business growth.

 

Examples of SMART goals in business

Here are three examples of how you can use the SMART acronym to create business goals:

 

Goal 1: Completing a big project 

Here’s an example of how to use the SMART acronym for a project:

  • Specific: Most of our customers view our site on their smartphones. Recent feedback shows that their experience is poor so we will optimize our company website for mobile devices by Q3. 
  • Measurable: By May, we should have the new site fully developed and ready for content. June 1 is the deadline for writing all of the copy, approving images and creating any additional graphics. Implementing and polishing the SEO is the primary focus for June.
  • Achievable: The departments that need to be involved in this project agree that this is a realistic timeline.
  • Relevant: Our online presence is a priority in order to attract new customers by increasing traffic and improving click-through rates.
  • Time-bound: The new site launches on July 1.

 

Goal 2: Increasing sales 

Here’s an example of how you could use SMART goals to outline a plan to increase sales:

  • Specific: We need to increase our conversion rate by 5% by the end of Q4. To do this, we need to implement more sales training, increase advertising, create incentives and cold calls or follow up with potential customers.
  • Measurable: I’d like to see us increasing our sales by 1.5% each month. We should identify and implement new marketing and advertising strategies by the end of October.
  • Achievable: Both the marketing and sales teams feel that we could easily accomplish this goal in the allotted time.
  • Relevant: Growing our customer base is a top priority for my company this year.
  • Time-bound: We should reach this goal by January 1.

 

Goal 3: Improving company morale

Here’s an example of creating a SMART goal to improve staff performance:

  • Specific: We have good team members but they are getting overwhelmed and feel undervalued. To improve morale and performance, we need to establish better relationships among coworkers. We can do this by creating incentives, increasing positive reinforcement and establishing team-building activities.
  • Measurable: We want to decrease the turnover rate by 10% by the end of the year.
  • Achievable: By prioritizing employee satisfaction, we can see an improvement in company morale.
  • Relevant: Staff satisfaction is key to our business becoming more efficient and effective.
  • Time-bound: Relationships should be strengthened by the holiday party in December.
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