Goal setting is an important aspect of entrepreneurship. It aligns your vision with actionable items to move you, and your startup, towards success. There are numerous strategies and tactics available online that relate to goal setting. One of the most well-known goal setting techniques used by entrepreneurs is SMART goals. SMART goals revolve around the idea that specific and time-bound goals lead to objective identification upon task completion. The goal is either complete, or it is not.
SMART goal setting can be broken down into the following steps:
At the end of your goal setting process, you will create a succinct statement that summarizes your SMART goal. Throughout this article, we will use the example of writing a book to further your understanding of the SMART goal setting process.
When deciding on a goal you want to achieve for your startup, you need to clearly identify what the task looks like upon completion. Making your goal specific also makes your goal easily identifiable to others.
Example: Write a book about entrepreneurship.
This is the most important step in identifying when your goal is complete. By making your goal measurable, you can identify how far away you are from goal completion at various points in your project timeline.
Example: Write a 120-page book about entrepreneurship.
By making goals actionable, you identify the steps needed to complete your larger goal. If your task is not actionable, in other words, you do not know or cannot do what needs to be done in order to complete your goal, the likelihood of your success decreases drastically.
Example: By writing 3 pages every week, I will write a 120-page book about entrepreneurship.
The goals you create must be relevant to you and your startup, otherwise, the time you spend contributing to goal completion will have little to no effect on your startup.
Example: By writing 3 pages every week, I will write a 120-page book about entrepreneurship to further establish myself as a thought leader and increase the reliability of my services.
This step involves giving your goal a due date. By binding your objective to a specific time frame, you can avoid procrastination and identify successful goal completion.
Example: By writing 3 pages every week, I will write a 120-page book about entrepreneurship to further establish myself as a thought leader and increase the reliability of my services by December 1st, 2019.
You may find different variations on the SMART acronym online, but the basic principles remain the same. Goals are only valuable if they are attainable, and you are able to identify successful completion. SMART goals also work best if you look to the future at where you want to be, and what you want to be done, then work backwards to identify realistic timelines and actionable steps. If, for example, you wanted to complete your book by June 1st, 2019, instead of December 1st, you would need to write 6 pages per week instead of 3. For some, writing 6 pages a week may realistic, but may not be for others. Make your goals specific to you and your capacity to complete it.
Final Example Statement: By writing 3 pages every week, I will write a 120-page book about entrepreneurship to further establish myself as a thought leader and increase the reliability of my services by December 1st, 2019.