A SMART goal is simply a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goal. Goal setting is an integral part for organizational success. Unfortunately, most businesses do not know where to begin when it comes to properly setting and identifying expectations with regard to their employees. This is unfortunate because proper goal setting and management are critical to achieving business success. The following are the four components that make up a SMART goal.

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Specific: A clear-cut definition of what is a SMART goal enables the leaders to set clear objectives and timetables. If everyone within your organization is unsure of what is a SMART goal, then there is no way your team will achieve the objectives you have set down. The specific should be well defined, particular, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely. If it is not specific, then it is worthless to your team. On the other hand, if it is too general and vague, it leaves room for interpretation and the risk that it may not be met.

Measurable: A clear understanding of what is a SMART goal enables you to set quantitative goals and compare them with realistic and achievable objectives. If you cannot make a quantitative determination for all of the SMART goals you want to achieve, then how do you know if they are important or not? This is where smart goals come into play. Smart goals tell you what to aim for, when to aim for it, what to measure and how to measure it. These factors enable you to see the relative importance of each goal. For example, a specific goal like “establish more sales” may mean many different things to different people depending on their own needs.

Relevant: You can’t just make up random goals. The best way to use smart goals is to tie them to something that directly impacts your success. For example, if your company’s revenue comes primarily from Internet sales, set a goal-setting method that ties that goal to Internet sales. That way, when you view your yearly performance against that goal, you will see how well the company has done against that goal. If it does not meet its targets, change the goal-setting method.

Accurate and Attainable: Smart goals need to be both accurate and attainable. Make sure they are precise and make sure they are relevant to your business. An easy way to check for accuracy and relevance is to imagine what it would feel like to have the following elements: an effective leader, the right people in an ideal situation, a great product, and excellent results. If you do not have any of these elements, adjust your goal-setting method.

Quick Results: A big part of smart goals is the need to keep them simple. For example, if you want to achieve increased sales for your business by raising your annual customer income, keep your goal simple. Increase annual customer revenue by only $5k per year. Keep your other smart goals similarly simple, as long as they have to do with achieving your business’s success.

Relevant: Smart goals have to be accurately targeted. Make sure your goals are relevant, as well. An easy way to do this is to determine if your goal-setting method will work if…for example, if you make sales at a certain point in the year and then fail to get sales at the end of the year. If your goal-setting method states that you will need to increase sales at certain points throughout the year, make sure it is accurate and relevant to your specific business’s goals.

Too Long A Timeline: As mentioned above, the biggest SMART goal mistake is not having a timeline or deadline for reaching success. If you have a timeline, make sure it is detailed enough to show how progress is being made on a regular basis. Many business owners make the mistake of only detailing their progress when their goals are complete.