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Five Tips for Setting SMART Goals for Your Business

Setting goals can help drive any business toward success. As a business leader, you likely approach setting goals strategically. Applying the SMART goal framework to the process can provide a structured approach to ensure goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Whether you’re creating new goals or refining existing ones, we recommend considering these five tips:

1. Evaluate the current state of your business

The first step toward creating a SMART goal is mapping it back to the current state of your business. Scheduling an annual or semi-annual review with your trusted banking partner can help identify expectations for the coming year and provide perspective on the current state of your market.

It’s helpful to discuss and evaluate revenue growth, capital spending, potential new market expansion, hiring needs, existing efficiencies and more. Answering two main questions during these reviews can help guide your plans and goals:

  • What risks lie ahead in the coming year?
  • How will the business fund future plans and goals?
2. Establish employee accountability and buy-in

As you set SMART goals, consider bringing employees into the process to build trust and establish buy-in from the beginning. Including your team along the way will make it easier when it comes time to roll out company goals because they will already feel invested and part of the process.

Establishing accountability for goals during the measurement phase with your team can be particularly helpful – incorporate concrete metrics and assign them to a team or group. Having measurable benchmarks empowers you to track business progress and make informed adjustments as needed.

3. Be realistic

It’s important to set goals that align with your mission and are achievable with your available resources. Setting realistic goals and expectations demonstrates that management and ownership have a firm grasp of the company’s capabilities and limitations. Striking the right balance between aspiration and feasibility will motivate your team without setting them up for failure.

4. Validate your goals with partners and industry experts

As you set SMART goals, be open to ideas or challenges you might not have initially considered. If you’re working with a banking partner, they may identify nuances in your daily activities that can impact your bottom line. For instance, fuel costs may have risen faster than your price increases, causing imbalances. Communicating with your team and partners will help inform SMART goals.

5. Recognize milestones

Remember to equip your team with the tools and technology to measure progress. As you consider your SMART goals, consider not only how you will measure them, but also how you can build in ways to recognize milestones along the way. Taking small moments throughout the year to show gratitude for progress can help motivate your team.

Incorporating SMART goals into your business strategy is a big step to transforming your organization. By embracing specificity, measurability, achievability, relevance, and time-bound criteria, you’re not just setting goals – you’re also creating a roadmap for success.

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Market Comments: Q42023

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