Most people fail at their new year’s resolutions before they even begin. Two weeks into the year already and it’s easy to beat yourself up if you’re not off to a good start But the truth is, the way you are making resolutions could be the reason you are having trouble achieving your goals. There’s a simple formula that many successful entrepreneurs have used to set goals for their business. It’s the SMART formula.
SMART, as you may have guessed from the constant capitalization, is an acronym. It doesn’t hurt that it spells “smart”, but there’s more to it than just a little clever wordplay. So, let’s take a look because you’re probably staring at your long list of resolutions wondering if you’ve done it correctly, and time is money, right? The quicker you get to your 2016 goals, the quicker you can start achieving them, taking your business to the next level of success.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely
If you just make an arbitrary goal like “make more money”, then making just one dollar more could mean success, but that’s probably not what you were hoping for when you set the goal in the first place. If your goal is to make more money, try setting a specific, achievable, and realistic goal for what that means. Did we mention you need to be realistic? That means that you need to look at your past revenue, and set a realistic percentage for growth in the following year.
Once you’ve made a goal that fits the specific, achievable, and realistic aspects, it’s time to measure your progress along the way. Measuring your progress should just be a natural part of your business whether your goal is to improve revenue or not. But, let’s say that you want to increase your revenue by X percent by the end of 2016. You should be able to track your progress from quarter to quarter. This way you can make small adjustments to your work methods or your areas of focus so that you can stay on track to reaching your goal. And, like we said, you should be doing this regardless of whether you’ve made a resolution or not.
Break down your main goal into smaller, more achievable goals
Since it’s a new year’s resolution, most likely you’ll give yourself until the end of 2016 to achieve your goals. But, it’s always good to break down your goal and set yourself a timeline for reaching that goal. Your timeline could consist of some smaller goals, so that you can regularly check your timeline, making sure you are on track to achieving your final goal.
And, breaking down your main resolution into smaller, more attainable resolutions, is a great motivator, as you are counting small successes all year long, instead of feeling like you are at the far end of a long road.
It’s hard to start a business, so if you can make Small, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely goals, you’ll always have something to celebrate along a long, tough road to entrepreneurial success.
Wishing you the best for your business. And, remember when you’re a part of AAI you get to use your network, because even as an independent business owner, you are never alone!