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On my very first day of my MBA program, Dr. Williams, my management professor, asked the class to write on a slip of paper what we wanted our graduating GPA to be. Then, he asked us to share this slip of paper with one person. Whether it be a classmate, spouse, friend or family member it didn’t matter. The important part is to tell someone your goal. Subconsciously that goal becomes more important to you when you share it with others. It makes sense, too. None of us like to be called out for not doing what we said we would. So the simple act of sharing our goals with someone made us more likely to achieve it. Make this year a better year to grow your small business.
Many years later, a GPA goal is the furthest thing from my mind. But I still set goals daily. Yet not all goals are created the same. Here’s a quick guideline for setting goals you are more likely to achieve. You may have heard of the terms SMART goals. It’s a great guideline for setting goals you can achieve.
Specific – it’s easy to put a goal on the backburner or brush it aside. The more specific you are in your goal, the greater likelihood it will keep you focused. An example of a goal that isn’t specific enough would be to say I’m going to work fewer hours this year. A better example of a specific goal is to stop work by 5:30 pm twice a week so I can make dinner for my family.
Measureable – It’s human nature to feed off of our progress. Even just a little success fires us up and keeps us motivated. By setting a measurable goal you make it easier to stay motivated. An example of a goal that can have a stronger measured component would be to say I’d like to quit my full time job and pursue my passion. A better goal would be to say in 6 months, I want to have saved 3 months salary so that I can quit my full time job and start pursuing my passion.
Attainable – SMART goals are those that can actually be achieved. Keep in mind the limitations to your time, resources and abilities when setting goals so that you set attainable goals for yourself.
Realistic – if you’re the primary caregiver for your family and can only work on your business 12 hours a week, it’s probably not realistic to set a goal that you’ll net a million dollars this year . While your goals should be a stretch and not too easy to achieve, they need to be realistic, too.
Time-bound – we’re all procrastinators in some form. Without deadlines, we often fail to stay focused on the things that may not be bright and shiny, but are important to our success. Give your goals a deadline so that you have a clear vision of how long it will take to achieve success.
I’ll challenge you like my management professor did for me. Post your 2011 SMART goals here on The Joy of Marketing blog. We all need a little accountability and we’ll try to provide it. Use this and other small business strategies and have a Happy New Year!