The following guest post about setting SMARTA goals is from Lexie Lu.
The start of a fresh new year seems like a great time to set business goals and work toward achieving those long-term plans you may have had for years. However, setting some goals and accomplishing those goals are two different things. Most people are guilty of planning and not following through.
About 85 percent of marketers indicate that their main goal is lead generation. Since new business drives growth, it makes sense that this is part of nearly every goal set for small businesses. However, lead generation isn’t the only element of goal setting for businesses. Goals such as improving communication within the company, employee retention and philanthropic endeavors all mesh together and create a stronger, more successful brand.
Before taking pen to paper and setting your new goals, think about the most crucial aspect for continued growth. It’s okay to have more than one goal, but don’t tackle too many big goals at one time. Here are seven clear steps to managing your 2019 business goals and ensuring you achieve them:
Set SMARTA Goals
Goals should be attainable and offer a clear path to completion. Experts recommend setting more than just SMART goals, but setting SMARTA goals, which means:
- S—Specific goals that are clearly defined. To achieve an objective, you must know the desired result.
- M—Measurable results, such as amount, quantity or a percentage of change. Don’t set a goal of “increasing sales” but of “increasing sales revenue by 10 percent.”
- A—Achievable goals are realistic goals with the potential for completion without extreme sacrifice. Avoid pie in the sky goals. Working all year toward a goal requires commitment, so you must know the goal is attainable to put in that continual effort.
- R—Relevant to the company as a whole and relate to the brand mission and values. If your company focuses on customer service and your new goal doesn’t consider keeping good customer service intact, go back to the beginning and revamp the goal to align with the company mission.
- T—Timing of the goal meaning, you set a date and major milestone deadlines.
- A—Agreement from all major team players and leaders on the goals. Some sources refer to the second “A” as standing for taking “action.”
Using the SMARTA model creates goals which drive your business forward and gets everyone in the company on the same page.
Study Your Weaknesses
When setting your goals for the year, look at where your weaknesses lie as a company. Figuring out what isn’t working takes introspection. Where do processes fail? What complaints do customers frequently make? Talk to the heads of each department in your company, from marketing to sales to management and figure out what needs improving to help you drive forward. If your goal is to increase sales by 10 percent in 2019, you’ll need the help of all these departments and understanding where they’re lacking shows specific goals and milestones which need work.
Attend More Events
Highlight your brand by attending more events in 2019. Not only will you receive more attention from potential clients, but you’ll learn from others in the industry as you observe how they promote their brand at the events. Some events offer workshops for business owners, teaching you skills you may not have or enhancing what’s already there.
If your goal is to gain 100 more clients in 2019, attending events allows you to reach potential customers. Set goals for each event, such as utilizing a hashtag and achieving a certain number of shares on social media.
For most businesses, goal settings contain a big, overreaching goal and then smaller goals leading up to the big goal. Find ways to prioritize each task along the way as it leads to your end goal. Some things must be accomplished toward the goal, but some things aren’t as important. Take the time at the beginning of the year and figure out what tasks are vital and which are not. Prioritize your milestones and the tasks leading to each one.
Create Content Matching Your Goals
Your content marketing strategy must meet your goals as a brand if you want a powerful response. Continuity in business is important, and consumers do notice symmetry in marketing. If your goal is to retain 20 percent more of your current customers, then the content you produce for your blog and social media has a different focus than if your goal is reaching new customers only.
Content marketing has a good return on investment (ROI), but if it comes across as being self-promotional, you’ll turn off your loyal fans. Good content adds value to the reader’s life, offering information or a fresh way of looking at an old topic. Tie content into your goal by asking what would drive a consumer to take the action you’d like them to take and then offering content that matches those preferences.
Build in Checkpoints
Throughout the year, plan meetings and check-ins as you reach major milestones. Meetings can be in-person or via a platform such as Trello or Slack. Track goals and who finished which task, so you know where you are at each stage of the process. If one milestone takes longer than others, reevaluate where you are in the process and make any adjustments as needed.
Plan quarterly meetings with everyone, monthly meetings with heads of department and daily stand-up meetings that are five or 10 minutes and update everyone on what’s on the day’s agenda and where everyone is in the process. Regular, short meetings keep everyone on the same page.
Find a Support System
Triumphing over challenging goals requires time and commitment. There may be times you feel exhausted and beaten down, especially when going poorly. Building in a support system to cheer you on and keep everyone on the team motivated is a vital part of achieving new things as a business.
The leader of the company should have a mentor they turn to for advice, as a sounding board or for pep talks. Ideally, a mentor is someone who has gone before and already found success. If a mentor isn’t available, company leaders need a good support group, trusted confidante or even professional therapist.
For team members, offer opportunities to get away from the stress of everyday tasks. Offer occasional team building activities, in-office retreats and provide lunch from time to time. Support your employees in case they don’t have their own support systems.
Never Give Up
You might come close to meeting your goals for 2019, but not quite reach them. It’s perfectly fine for some of your goals to carry over into the next year. The key is never giving up. Keep working and striving toward your goals. Take the actions needed to accomplish those goals, adjust them when needed and push them into 2020 if necessary.
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