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how to set powerful goals

How to write powerful goals that will actually happen

Have you already heard of the idea of SMART goals? This is the concept; powerful goals that will actually happen MUST all have certain criteria (we’ll dive into what SMART is in a moment)
The problem for a lot of people is that the idea is great! But when you try to apply this idea to you or your small team you find it isn’t so easy as it appears on paper.
Let’s explore more about what this concept is and then how you can really come up with goals that apply to your business.

What does SMART mean, exactly?

It is an acronym. Sometimes you will find variants on the exact word each letter stands for but here is the one I find most useful with a quick explanation for each.

S = Specific

This means what it says. For an objective or goal to be powerful you need to know EXACTLY what it is. So something vague like “grow sales” just won’t cut it. Numbers are key here; “+10% LFL for this financial year” becomes a bit more useful.

M = Measurable

Do you have a report already in place for this? Do you know what your baseline is? If you cannot measure it you cannot set it as a goal.

Which report and which exact metric will be used for this goal? Ultimately – how will I know if I have done it or not?

A = Achievable

It might be lovely to say “Increase all sales by 1000% by the end of this month”. But if you don’t stand a chance in hell of getting there don’t bother setting it as a target. Any powerful goal will have something that is completely doable but only if you work for it and give it some focus.

R = Relevant

How does the goal fit in with the broader vision for the business? Do the people involved have the skills to do it? If not what help might they need?

T = Timely

A timeline for any goal is crucial; how often does it need to be visited? When does it need to be completed by?

Choosing a goal

OK! I hear you cry. I know all that! How do you actually go about making sure you are setting powerful goals?

Let’s go through a process to help you come up with objectives for yourself or other people.

The very first question to ask yourself; what is your overarching strategy or vision for the next few years? Are there any obvious tasks come to mind when you look at that? Which change will help drive your business forward directly (hard objectives) or indirectly (soft objectives)?

Here are some ideas to get you thinking (but don’t limit yourself to just these!) ;

Hard Objectives

  • Increase potential customers or leads (social media, subscribers etc)
  • Conversion of footfall/traffic into customers
  • Increase average spend per customer
  • Reduce cost per sale/another cost metric
  • Reduce staff attrition
  • Take on your first employee
  • Increase market share
  • Open a second store/location

Soft objectives

  • Increase staff productivity
  • Improve an area of feedback you have had.
  • Improve your working environment for staff/customers.
  • Increase your customer satisfaction scores
  • Achieve some kind of certification
  • Find a new partnership for your business

Now you know the area you want to look at you need to understand what you want to change and why.

Changing a goal into an objective

Here’s a set of questions you should now be asking. Brainstorm all of these and then note down everything you come up with.

A good tip is to put every single answer or point onto a post-it note which you can then rearrange under each part of the SMART acronym on a wall or whiteboard.

  • Why do I want this to change? What will the effect be on the rest of my business? How does it link to the overall vision?
  • What data do I already have? For what period? Is more information required?
  • What is the data telling me? Do I need to research the information I have?
  • What does “good” look like? How far away am I from that number? Why am I so far away from it?
  • What does “best in class” look like? How far am I away from that number?
  • How long will it take for any changes to affect the data I see? What period do I want to affect?
  • Are there any metrics that may be adversely affected by changing this one?
  • What other issues do I see getting in the way of this goal?
  • Who will be working on this objective? Do they have access to all relevant data? Is it something they are already familiar with? Is it likely to be something they are passionate about?
  • Do they have the scope to be able to make changes that will affect this number? Who will they need support from?

Goals that will actually happen

By re-arranging your findings into the areas they belong (S, M, A, R, T or other) you can see if you now have enough information to start filling out an objective template. If not then keep going until you have all the information you need.

Let’s say we want to increase our Average Customer spend. Putting thoughts against each area we get the following;

Specific – Increase the average customer spend per week from £3.47 achieved in 2017 to £4.25

Measurable – We should see this attribute change in our existing Monday morning report “Weekly Sales” as a result of this objective

Achievable – This is a 22.5% uplift and is still behind our leading competitors average spend of £4.85. It will be achieved by looking at the products in our customers’ baskets and incentivising them to buy matching or relevant add-ons.

Relevant – This will help take us toward our overall goal of increasing revenues in 2018 to +15% LFL set in our overall Strategy as this increase will give us an extra £936 revenue per week on average.

Timely – We need to have hit this by the end of  July 2018 at the latest. This will be reviewed on a weekly basis as part of the usual weekly meetings.

Objective – Increase average weekly customer spend to £4.25 by the end of July 2018, in turn, increasing revenues by £936 per week by incentivising customers to buy add-ons.

At this point you can hopefully see how focused this objective is and how easy to understand what is expected of you to reach the finish line.

Remember, ultimately, an objective isn’t meant to be something that trips people up or leaves them guessing as to what they are meant to do. A powerful goal or objective should make the person feel inspired and motivated!

Over on my Templates page, I have added a SMART objective template to give you a head start!

Or Get in Touch and we can talk about how I can help you drive your business forward. Remember the first hour’s consultation is always completely free!