You know those sentences you write down on January 1st? That list of things you're going to accomplish in the coming year? Perhaps you've vowed to lose weight, to start eating healthier, to make that career change, to go back to school, to find a hobby that makes you happy, or to become a better inbound marketer.
Some call them resolutions, some call them goals - whatever you call them, having a list of items you're trying to achieve in the coming year will help you stay on track.
And not just in your personal life. Setting goals, especially SMART goals, can help you achieve the business results you've always dreamed of. By setting SMART marketing + sales goals, you will have a document to refer back to when you feel a little lost, it will help motivate your team, and it will help you stay accountable.
As we turn the page on 2013, we have twelve new months ahead of us. That's 250 business days (give or take a few) that we can work on achieving our goals.
What are SMART goals?
Too often when we think about setting goals, we stay high-level and general. We'll say something like, "In 2014, I want to get more traffic to my website." While that is a great goal, what does it mean? How are you going to really get there? Is it really even achievable for where you are today?
When you set SMART goals, you're giving yourself true, actionable items that you can actually achieve.
It's important to set goals that are specific - if you stay too general, you'll be much less likely to get where you want to be. When we say, "be specific" we mean setting goals with numbers and deadlines associated with them. Do your goals contain words like, "more" or "less"? Those aren't specific. Choose real numbers that you can work towards.
If there isn't any way to measure your goal, how will you know if you're really making progress to achieving it? When you're setting your goals for this year, make sure they can truly be measured. This will not only help your team stay motivated, but it will help you see if what you laid out for yourselves at the beginning of the year is possible.
We don't want to shoot for the moon if we know the moon is farther than we could ever reach. (Hopefully that analogy made sense for you...). Now, you do want to set goals that are challenging so that you're really pushing yourselves to get there, but not something that is impossible. You're setting yourself up for failure if you do.
Stick with reality here, folks. Setting a goal that your team can't reach is silly. Instead, focus on setting goals that are realistic for you and your business. Think about what resources you have to put towards reaching this goal, think about how much time it might take, etc. Like any other task you set for yourself, you want to make sure you're actually capable of doing it.
For each of your goals, what's the deadline you've set for yourself? When are you going to get them done by? We want to say this is the most important part of your goal, but really they're all important, so we'll just say this one is really important. Each of your goals should have a concrete timeline that you can work towards. And don't keep moving your goal deadlines out, try to stick to what you originally laid out for yourself.
Now, it's time to start goal setting! Take part of your day today, and even the weekend, to map out where you want to go this year, what you want to achieve, and the results you want to see by the end of the year.
Then come back here on Monday and share some of them with us. We'd like to inspire each other! We'll be sharing our goals in the comments as well.
And then in December, let's review all this together and see all that we achieved!
Image source: The Benson Street