How SMART Goals Can Help Your Business


With the day to day demands of running a business, it’s easy to let strategic planning go by the wayside. When that happens, you end up guiding your business by the small, moment-by-moment decisions you make. That will get you by for a while, but eventually, things will slide off course. SMART goals can help you run your business by keeping you strategically focused on what matters.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART goals are the best type of goal because they are succinct and specific. They are also easy to write because they follow the acronym, SMART, which makes it easy to remember.


The S in SMART stands for specific. Without specificity, a goal is difficult to work towards. A lack of specificity also makes it hard to determine if you’ve achieved the goal you set.

One way to ensure the SMART goal you set is specific enough is to check it against the “w” questions, like who, what, where, when, and why. If you can answer one of the questions to make it more specific, you should.

For instance, who will be involved in the process? What will he or she do? When will the work take place? What are the methods and deliverables or main objective?


The M in SMART stands for measurable. If a goal is not measurable, it’s too vague. This time, the questions “how much” and “how many” are relevant.

Here’s an example of how making a goal measurable improves it:

“Increase sales by 5%” is more powerful than just “increase sales” or “sell more.”

Attainable (or Achievable)

The A in SMART stands for attainable or achievable. Making sure a goal is achievable is essential. Big goals are great. But if you want to be motivated to work towards a goal, you have to know that it’s actually attainable. Otherwise, when your motivation starts to dwindle, it will be easy to let the goal go.


The R in SMART is relevant. This part of the acronym forces you to think through the goal before you set it. Questions to ask when looking for relevance include: Will accomplishing the goal achieve the desired outcome? What will happen in all areas of the business if you achieve the goal? What is your motivation for setting this goal?

Time Bound (or Time-Based)

The T in SMART stands for time-bound or time-based. This means your goal should have a time-based target for achieving it. This part of the acronym keeps you focused on the goal. It’s like setting an internal clock that counts down as you get closer to reaching the goal. It also lets you know when you can stop working toward a goal, and instead, set a new one.

The obvious question to ask yourself when working through this part is “when.” When will you hire the next employee? When will you break your current sales record?

SMART Goals in All Areas of Business

Using SMART goals helps you plan and make thoughtful business decisions. Once you get the process down, you’ll find SMART goals will assist in all areas of your business. From marketing to sales, finance, operations, and human resources, every area of your business will benefit from SMART goals. Here are some examples of goals in different areas of your business:

Marketing: Our goal is to bring in 20 qualified leads this month with our new pay-per-click campaign.

Human Resources: Our goal is to hire our third team member by October 2019.

Sales: Bill and Mary each will close 5 new deals this month using the new pre-screening technique.

Operations: Our goal is for each person on our team to get a 97% (or higher) satisfaction score on their surveys this quarter.

As you can see, SMART goals are invaluable. Using SMART goals will help you be strategic and forward thinking in the way you run your business. For more business advice and inspiration, be sure to check out our podcast.

Joseph Crane

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