As a business owner, if you were asked what are your goals for the next five years, what would your answer be? Most business owners tend to give responses like “I want to make more sales” or “I want to increase your brand visibility. Many SMEs in Nigeria are unable to meet what they define as long term goals because they have vague goals that they simply can’t meet. Many set no goals at all in the hope that they will ”one day” make more sales.
The secret to meeting short or long term goals is to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goals, which is popularly known as SMART goals. Whether you are a firm of 50 people or you have a business of just one, your success is mainly dependent on setting more specific goals. Every successful business is hinged on their ability to make more specific and achievable goals. If you are reading this article and you have not heard of SMART goals, you have all the more reasons to stay glued. In this article, we will discuss what SMART goals are and how to set them. Let’s dive right in!
What are SMART Goals?
SMART goal is a method of goal setting used by high achievers to achieve set personal or business goals consistently. SMART is an acronym for “Specific” “Measurable” “Achievable” “Relevant” and “Timebound”. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your business, and should have a time frame.
How do you make your business goals Specific?
A specific goal clearly defines what is to be achieved, by whom, where and when it is to be achieved and sometimes why.
If your business goals are “I want to increase my revenue this year”. This is great, but it will be difficult to achieve. If you ever made New Year Resolutions and you never followed through, you will understand what I am saying better. Setting vague business goals makes it much harder to achieve them. How will you know by the end of 2020 if you reached them? Let’s look at more specific goals –
Perhaps you own a bakery, and you want to increase revenue by the end of 2020.
“I am going to increase my revenue by 20% before the end of 2020” or “My total revenue by the end of 2020 will be N100,000. This gives you a benchmark to measure your goals. When setting these goals, you must consider the state of your business and how those goals are relevant to the performance of your business currently.
How do you make your business goals Measurable?
Measurable goals help to assess if you are on the right track to achieving your set goals. It answers the questions, how much, how often, how many? Being able to measure your goals will reveal areas that are not obvious and why it is key to knowing what area of your business is working and what part needs improvement. For example, if you have a goal of reaching 5000 followers on your Facebook platform in a month, you can use the metrics to gauge how many monthly views you get every month. This will help you know how much you need to improve to attract more views to your page and turn those viewers into followers.
How do you make your business goals Achievable?
As you set those business goals, you want to ensure your goals are also achievable. You don’t want to set goals that are impossible to meet. Many SMEs in Nigeria set outrageous goals that are never met. Ensure you conduct a SWOT Analysis of your business to help you set realistic goals. Here’s a tip; set goals that are within your comfort zone alongside side goals that make you stretch to become more innovative.
How do you make your business goals relevant?
Setting goals are utterly pointless if those goals are irrelevant to your business. Setting goals because they sound great or easy to achieve is not a good enough reason to. Your set goals must be relevant to the growth and development of your business.
Irrelevant goals are something like this; ”I want to run ADs on Facebook because everyone is running ADs on Facebook.”
Relevant goals will go something like this; ”My target clients are on Facebook, so I’m going to set up my AD on Facebook.”
How do you make your business goals time-bound?
Now you’ve made your goal specific, measurable, achievable and relevant; it is time to give your goals a time frame. Make sure your goals are set to be achieved within a given time frame. It could be daily, weekly or monthly goals. You could also set milestones that help you monitor your progress and restrategise your goals.
Setting SMART goals will put you on the path to scoring high points by the end of the year. These are methods used by successful businessmen to achieve their goals. Aside from knowing how to set business goals, the next step is to plan how you intend to reach them by creating daily, weekly, monthly tasks and projects that bring you closer to your overall set goals. You can also apply these to personal goals. You’d likely achieve them this year, unlike last year. You can check out our article on How to conduct a proper SWOT Analysis for a business to give you an insight on how to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. This will guide you on how to set your SMART goals.
Do you have any questions or suggestions on SMEs in Nigeria? Kindly drop them in the comments section below!