SMART means smart

January 1, 2019 // Cloud Veterinary innovation

If you’re in business, it goes without saying that you want to be a success. But what is the definition of success? To decide that, you need to set yourself goals. But not just any goals. You need SMART goals.

It’s not enough to declare that you want to increase your turnover or open two new branches. That’s vague thinking. The truth is, the best goals in business are SMART goals. Clearly, SMART is an acronym. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. SMART goals are strategically designed to give any business project structure and support and to set out more clearly what you want to achieve – and by when. With SMART goals, you get to track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing your progress keeps you focused, helps you hit your deadlines, and creates a sense of excitement when you get nearer to hitting your targets. SMART goal-setting can also stop you feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of a project. Let’s look more closely at each of those five elements.

Firstly, let’s clear up where the term began. SMART goals were born in 1981, when George T. Doran, a consultant for the Washington Water Power Company, published an article in the November issue of Management Review. “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” introduces SMART goals as a way of setting out criteria that improve the odds of achieving a goal.

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Cloud platform VPMS by Smart Vet

What do you truly want to accomplish? Specifically. You might have written mission statements before. Well, this is the mission statement for your goal. To help formulate some answers here, think about your goal in terms of the six Ws:

  • Who will you involve to help achieve the goal? A question that is especially important if you’re getting a team involved.
  • When do you want to complete the objective? More about this under ‘T’, but it’s prudent to have a broad timeframe.
  • What are you trying to achieve? Be precise and detailed.
  • What obstacles stand in your path? Identifying the potential hazards can help you determine if your goal is feasible. As an example, if you aim to open a copywriting business, but you’ve never written copy before, maybe adjust your goal to “Learn how to write copy so I can start a copywriting business.”
  • Where will this happen? Not always applicable to everyone but if you specifically need things to happen in Edinburgh or New York, say so here.
  • Why are you doing this? What’s the purpose of the goal? If you’re self-employed, the answer will probably be to drive the business forward. But try to make this a more-specific objective. For example, ‘to take 22 percent market share off Competitor X’.

You should start by asking you and your team a bunch of questions, thereby defining your strategy. Hopefully, you’ll end up with something that’s attainable. Try to be realistic, but not too conservative. Writing SMART goals is a positive move – giving you something to strive for.
Don’t be put off by this exercise. If you do it right, it should shed a lot of light on your business. Here, we’ve created two scenarios where you might write SMART goals. One’s for a project, and the other is for boosting performance.