SMART Goal Planning For Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

Successful businesses don’t just happen overnight. It requires careful planning and execution to achieve their goals. But is this easier said than done? Well, it’s time to say goodbye to disorganised chaos and hello to SMART planning.

It’s important to note that marketing goals should and always should be process-driven, not outcome-driven. The end goals you set need to be created in a way so that the process can control the outcome.

Whilst this approach has gained widespread popularity in the business world, it is not a new revelation. In fact, this business model dates all the way back to 1981, introduced by George T. Doran in an article for Management Review. We have a lot to thank George for, as this framework is the perfect way to not only set clear and easy objectives but also to make them actionable.

Before we get into how you can use SMART planning, let’s take a closer look at what each SMART element means.

The SMART Facts

To put it simply, SMART stands for:

Specific: Goals should be specific and well-defined so everyone knows exactly what they are working towards. For example, instead of setting a goal to increase sales, a specific goal might be to increase sales by 10% in the next quarter.

Measurable: Goals should be measurable to track progress and know when you’ve achieved them. Using the same example as above, you might track progress by measuring sales revenue each week and comparing it to previous weeks. Or you might track posts based on SEO scores.

Achievable: Goals should be challenging but achievable. Setting goals that are too easy won’t motivate people to work towards them while setting goals that are too difficult can lead to frustration and burnout. Using the same example, a goal to “increase sales by 100% in the next quarter” would likely be unrealistic. 

Results Orientated: Goals should be relevant and with an easy way show clear results to the overall mission and vision of your business. For example, if your business wants to increase brand awareness, having a goal to create a social media or content marketing campaign that will gal 100 followers per month would be a smart way forward (see what we did there?).

Time Orientated: Goals should have a deadline or time frame to complete, so everyone knows when they need to be achieved. Using the same example as above, a great time-bound goal might be to set the specific target of gaining 100 new followers per month for the next three months.

Now that we’ve covered the five components of SMART planning let’s dive into how you can optimise SMART to act as the pin on the map to drive your marketing machine forwards.

Our step-by-step guide

Identify your goals: Start by identifying the specific goals you want to achieve. Use the SMART criteria to make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. We recommend looking at your end goal and working backwards to now, which will enable you to see how SMART your plan is or needs to be.

Create an action plan: Once you have identified your goals, create an action plan for achieving them. Make sure you include your specific actions and deadlines within this, with daily activity tracking is something the whole team can commit to.

Assign responsibilities: This is key for all the SMART goal clogs to function. Identify who will be responsible for each action in the plan and check they are clear with their tasks. This will make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and when they need to do it. We recommend storing everyone’s assigned task in a central location, so it will be easy for people to reflect back on, amend if needed, and ensure nothing gets missed.

Monitor progress: We also recommend scheduling meetings at regular intervals to check how progress is going and to see if there will be any setbacks. Make sure there is consistency within your measuring. This way, you can put in any extra steps needed or re-prioritise, to still achieve your end goal.

And the best bit…celebrate successes! 

Whilst it’s good to plan for what’s next, it’s important to take time to celebrate your successes when you achieve your goals! This will show your team the appreciation they deserve and keep them motivated to continue working towards future goals.

Did you find this article useful? Or if you have any success stories of using SMART planning, we’d love to know!

About the author : amyray

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