Get ready, get set, get smart
Do you know how to set a SMART goal? It may not be what you think. SMART is smart, but it’s also an acronym. A SMART goal is a handy way to analyze and develop strategies for the goals you want to accomplish. Let’s say your goal is to get a new logo for your website. Maybe your goal is to start an email marketing campaign. How do you come up with a feasible plan that will take you from the initial idea to the achievement of your goal? That’s where SMART comes in.
Make It Specific
When you are setting your goal, make sure it is specific. If you want to increase the traffic to your website, then your goal shouldn’t simply be “Get more traffic”. There needs to be a bullseye that you are aiming to hit. “My goal is to increase traffic to my site by 1,000 visitors a day”. Now that’s a specific goal. You are aiming at a target, not a vague wish.
Make It Measurable
It is important that your goals be measurable. If your goal is “I want to make my website great”, what does that even mean? What is the difference between good and great? For that matter, whose idea of great are you using? Yours, your visitors? The difference matters. A “great” website is subjective and not measurable. An increase of 1,000 visitors can be measured.
Make It Achievable
Is it possible to increase your traffic by 1,000 visitors per day? Yes, that’s an achievable goal. A lot of websites have that kind of traffic flow and it’s not only the big dogs hitting those kinds of numbers. That’s something you as an independent, small scale entrepreneur can achieve.
Make It Relevant
Is achieving an additional 100 visitors per day relevant to your business? Will achieving this goal have a positive impact, or is it actually a distraction? There a lot of ideas that seem cool and maybe there are certain pet projects that interest you, but really don’t serve a constructive purpose in the big scheme of things. Your goals need to be relevant to improving your business in ways that measurably advance you toward success. What success looks like may vary from person to person, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll assume that most of us want to as least make enough profit to live a comfortable life – as your own boss, of course. In the example we’ve been using, yes, it’s relevant. For an online marketing business, a high traffic flow is a necessity, if you plan to make any money. Every goal accomplished that builds traffic is relevant to your business.
Make It Timely
We’ve come to the end of the SMART acronym. Timely can be looked at a couple of different ways. First, does the goal have a clear target date? It should. Just as you need a specific goal, you need to set a specific date that your goal should be completed. How long should it take to increase daily visitors by 100? Let’s say a month. If you’re new at this, that may seem unrealistic. Maybe it is, but while your goals should be realistic, there’s nothing wrong with making yourself stretch a little. So, a month it is. Beginning on the 1st of (pick a month), you will put your plan in motion and by the 1st of the next month, you will have increased the daily visitors to your site by 100.
A second factor to consider in timeliness, is that you want to set reasonable dates. If a month is a stretch, then a goal of one week is out of the question. It’s unrealistic, right? On the other hand, you could realistically achieve that 100 visitor increase in a year, but that’s not a good goal. Long term goals are fine, but they should build on a series of shorter term goals. Giving yourself a year to achieve a 100 visitor increase is giving yourself permission to be lazy and not stay focused. It’s your business we’re talking about. If you’re unfocused, how will business succeed? If you let yourself fall into a trap of laziness, or procrastination, who’s going to get the job done? Be realistic with your timeline, but set a respectable pace. Remember, this goal is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. There are other goals to be achieved.
Put It On Paper
When you set a goal, don’t just leave the idea rattling around in your brain. That’s a good way to overlook important steps, or to lose track of what you should be doing. Write you goal down. You can type it into a document on your computer, but actually writing it down on a sheet of paper is better. The physical act of writing something down reinforces the idea in a powerful way. I’m no psychologist, but this is a widely held principle. Look it up, if you like.
Writing something down, even if you are reading it off of another document, makes it more real and more memorable. I hope you can see the value in that kind of reinforcement. After all, the point isn’t solely to come up with a good goal. Ultimately, you want to achieve that goal. The SMART system is a good process, but it’s only a process. The end game is checking off one accomplished goal and then the next, growing your business, increasing stability and ensuring your long term success.
My Gift To You
As my gift to you, to help you put these principles into action, I’m offering you a free SMART goal worksheet. You don’t have to sign up for my mailing list, or opt-in to anything. It’s just FREE.
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