You may have heard of SMART goals?
Well, my wonderful other half (who is a clinical psychologist) has been busy writing a book articulating his new approach for the last year.
It is called the SMARTER-life-GROWTH approach; he brings together clinical psychology, positive psychology and coaching principles to create a framework to help you create a better life. I’m currently working on re-working this personal growth material into a book about business growth (with Pat’s help!).
So, the upshot of it all is to make SMARTER goals:
So, let’s work through an example, and then we’ll work through one for you to fill in the blanks:
A good way to approach this is to answer the 5 “W” questions:
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
Which resources are involved?
This would seem to be one of the easier parts to complete as it’s all about your actual income goals. However, you also want to think about what Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005), a management guru once said: “what gets measured, gets managed”. The easiest way to explain this is with an example:
If I say my goal is to achieve £2,500 profit in a month, and my profit margin is 25%. That means we need £10,000 of sales of our widget each month.
We could take one of several routes to achieve that; one could be 500 orders averaging £20 per order, and many of these might be one off orders because of a social media special offer you did on a particular version of your widget.
Another route could be having built up an engaged audience on Facebook (for example), and you have about 50 people who would buy from you most months. Because they are also very keen on the content that you give out, their average purchase from you is £200.
As you can probably see, the first option would be much easier to achieve in the short term, however, is unlikely to be sustainable. It is much harder to be finding and selling to new customers every month.
The second option will take much longer to build up, and some thought will be needed to provide meaningful content to your loyal customers, but the payoff is that you have fewer orders to process, and less actual sales activity to do (these customers are already sold – you just need to put the right offer in front of them and they’ll buy).
So, if we go back to Mr Drucker’s statement; “what gets measured, gets managed”; if we focus on average order value, rather than our total income goal, we would be looking to get that as high as possible, so that we can reduce the number of total orders. Over time, this approach will provide us with more time for other profit focused activities, thereby allowing us to grow the business.
This is all about making sure you have the resources and the ability to achieve the goal you are setting. If you have 25 hours available each week to put into your business, then make sure you are being realistic with your goal. If your goal will require a 40 hour week minimum, you might be stretching a little bit too far with your goal!
The other thing to consider is your ability to achieve it, i.e. is it within your control. For example, “making 10 new sales this week” is not actually within your control, you might find the leads, but you have no control over whether a potential customer will buy…that’s a limitation of being human!!
You would be better to set your goal as “attracting and discussing my product or service with 15 leads this month”. You might convert 1 person, you might convert all 15, but at least you have control over how many ocnversations you have.
There are several levels of goals, you might have short term, medium term and long term goals, whether they are written out and planned or not. What we are looking for with being relevant, is about making sure that there is consistency in your short, medium and long term goals.
So, if you have a medium term goal of earning £1500 per month with your Avon business, but your short term goals are starting a family and working towards achieving the promotion at your full time job, then you can see there is a bit of incongruence there.
It’s tiring being pregnant and hard enough to be working a full time job, without trying to build up a business as well. In fact, trying to achieve a promotion while pregnant might also be difficult – not many bosses will be open minded enough to let that happen!
This one is an easy one – set a deadline for your goal. If you don’t have a time limit on it, it’s easy to leave until tomorrow.
Constantly evaluate your performance. Are the tasks that you are doing helping you to work towards your goal? If not, why not? Do you need more training to help you achieve more? Is this task just not working out for you, so you should change your approach?
For example, posting on your Business Facebook page and getting no engagement or responses from people. You might just need to make some tweaks, like making sure your page is linked on your personal profile, that you’ve shared it with friends and family, that you are posting other things and not just sales posts all the time. Learning some of these techniques might help you increase engagement on your page.
On the other hand, maybe a Facebook page just doesn’t work for you. Maybe you need to change your approach and go for a Facebook Group instead. Facebook have different algorithms and other fancy stuff going on behind the scenes that mean that different things get different priorities. You just have to experiment and see what works for you.
Of course, you need to be evaluating your performance on all levels; social media engagement, number of orders, average order value etc. Keep a journal, and record what you do and their outcomes. That way you can focus on what works for you and what doesn’t…and focus more on the stuff that works.
Reflection is what would be done at the end when you have achieved your goal. Look back at the work you did to achieve it, and see what you could have done differently. Very often we only see things in hindsight, not when we are in the middle of it. So, taking time to look back over your actions may provide some insight that you would otherwise have missed.
Free tip: Make sure you write down your lessons; it will help you articulate exactly what you mean, and ensure you don’t forget it and make the same mistake again next time!
Write each of the SMARTER headings out on a page and work out what your goal will look like.