How many times have your eyes been bigger than your stomach? Everything looks so good, you load up your plate only to quickly realize that there is no way you can finish it all. This situation is all too common when it comes to buffet dinners and business goals. Entrepreneurs and business leaders want so much for their businesses that they bite off more than they can chew.

The COVID-19 pandemic taught us all that our goals can shift in an instant. What is important one day may not be the top priority next week or next month. If you fall into the trap of setting unrealistic or outlandish goals for 2021, you are only setting yourself up for failure. Keep reading to learn how to get SMART with your business goals in 2021.

What is a SMART goal?

SMART goals rely on a simple acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, Time-framed. Your business goals should incorporate all of these aspects in order to be realistic. It is easy to set goals that are broad or vague, but it is almost impossible to actually reach them. SMART goals force you to focus on one thing at a time, and they offer a business road map you can maintain.

Understand the Why and How of Your Goals

By adding elements of time, results, and metrics, SMART goals detail the why and how for your business. We can quickly list off what we want to accomplish for 2021, but that does not give us much information on how we will get there or why it is important for our business. A specific goal should be set to achieve certain results. There must be a time frame attached and measures in place to ensure the goal can be quantified. All of these elements serve as an outline for your business roadmap.

Benefits of SMART Goals

SMART goals provide direction for your business. They offer clear and defined goals for your team, partners, and stakeholders. Your managers and employees will have a much easier time reaching a goal when they understand how they will be measured, why the goal is important, and when the goal should be achieved.

SMART goals also prevent you from setting unrealistic expectations. Goals like being the best in your industry, establishing yourself as a thought leader, or offering the greatest customer service are too vague. Nobody on your team can quantify those goals, so there is no way for you to achieve them.

Instead, you can set a goal to be published in a certain number of media outlets, to improve your customer support statistics by a specific percentage, or to increase your revenue by a certain percentage. These goals have metrics attached to them and they offer a clear direction for your team.

By setting SMART goals, you can elevate your business and push yourself further. With a clear sense of direction, it is easier to organize your team, develop a plan, and carry out your action items. It is also easier to track your progress, understand where you are falling short, and make adjustments as needed.

With SMART goals, you can set regular check-ins to determine whether or not you are on target for reaching your goals. Having a time frame in place and specific metrics makes it possible to evaluate your success along the way. You can identify issues early on, realize if you are going to exceed your goals, and reevaluate your plans accordingly.