Goal setting for you and your business

Setting goals is an essential aspect of achieving success, both personally and professionally. 

Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a business or an individual looking to improve your personal life, having something achievable and challenging to aim for is crucial to achieving success, whatever that might look for you. 

However, setting the goals is only the first step – it’s equally important to stay committed and follow through. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of goal setting for you and your business, and share effective techniques to help you stay committed and keep working towards them. 

We’ll also delve into the concept of SMART goals – a popular framework for setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a better understanding of how to set and achieve your aims effectively.

What are SMART Goals?

The concept of SMART goals was developed by George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, in a 1981 paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.”

The SMART framework provides a structured approach to goal setting that helps you and your business define objectives clearly, and develop a plan to achieve them. 

Here’s a breakdown of each component of the SMART framework:

Specific: Goals should be clear and specific, with a well-defined outcome in mind. This helps ensure that everyone involved knows exactly what needs to be accomplished.

Measurable: Your targets should be measurable, with a specific metric in mind to gauge progress and allow everyone to clearly determine when the goal has been achieved.

Achievable: The goals should also be achievable, with a realistic plan and resources in place to make it possible. Aim to be ambitious with your goals in order to continually improve, but don’t make it impossible. 

Relevant: Goals should be relevant to your overall mission, vision, and values, and aligned with your long-term objectives to ensure you’re heading in the right direction at all times. 

Time-bound: Keep a specific deadline in mind to keep yourself and your teams accountable and on track with the work you’re doing. 

SMART Goal Setting

Why is goal setting important? 

Setting goals is crucial for any business, especially for a growing one. They provide direction, focus, and motivation, helping businesses achieve their overall desired outcomes in a timely manner and grow in a sustainable way. 

We’ve explored some of the benefits you could enjoy as a business, if you begin to adopt a structured goal setting process, much like the SMART framework we’ve outlined above. 

Clarity of purpose

Setting goals gives a clear sense of direction and purpose to a growing business. It helps the business prioritise its resources, focus on what’s important, and align its activities with its overall mission, values and vision.

Increased motivation

By taking a collaborative approach to goal setting with your employees, having clear purpose and goals gives employees a shared target to work towards, which can increase motivation and engagement. Goals help employees understand how their work contributes to the overall success of the business, and provide a sense of achievement, satisfaction and ownership when they are achieved.

Improved decision-making

When a business has clear goals, it’s easier to make key decisions that align with those goals. It gives you a clear idea of which direction to head in when it comes to evaluating options and making choices that support your long-term objectives.

Better resource allocation

Setting clear goals will help you to prioritise your resources and allocate them in the most effective way. This helps ensure that the business is using resources efficiently and effectively, which is especially important for a growing business with limited resources.

Continuous improvement

Setting goals encourages businesses to continually improve and innovate, which is the 7th and final habit of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. By setting ambitious yet achievable goals, businesses can challenge themselves to improve their processes, products, and services, and stay ahead of the competition.

In contrast, a business that doesn’t set goals may lack direction and purpose, leading to wasted resources and missed opportunities. Without clear goals, a business may struggle to make decisions, prioritise its activities, and measure its progress. As a result, it may be less motivated, less efficient, and less effective at achieving growth. 


How to stick to your goals and deliver results

It’s one thing setting intelligent goals that have the potential to deliver growth and success, both in business and personally. However, it’s entirely another thing to stick to them and make it happen. 

This can often be the downfall of a goal-setting process. Although you might have the very best intentions, achieving your goals can often fall by the wayside over time as other things, responsibilities or tasks get in the way. 

To help you make it happen for yourself or your business, we’ve outlined some top tips on how you can stick to your goals, once you’ve set them. 

Break down the goals into smaller, manageable tasks: Large goals can be overwhelming, so breaking them down into smaller, achievable chunks can help you stay motivated and focused. This also helps you track your progress and make adjustments as needed. Just as you would with larger tasks, ensure you use the SMART framework with smaller jobs too. 

Prioritise tasks based on their importance and urgency: Some tasks may be more important or urgent than others, so it’s important to prioritise them accordingly. This helps you focus on the tasks that will have the most impact on your business and ensure that you’re using your time and resources effectively. Read up on our blog about discipline and productivity to find out more about using and maintaining a prioritisation matrix.

Track your progress: Keeping track of your progress helps you stay motivated and provides a sense of accomplishment as you achieve each milestone. It also helps you identify any areas where you may need to adjust your plan or strategy. Use the metrics outlined in your SMART framework to ensure things are going as expected. 

Celebrate your achievements: Rewarding good work along the way helps you stay motivated and reinforces the importance of your goals. This can be as simple as taking a moment to acknowledge your progress or rewarding yourself when you achieve a major milestone.

Stay accountable: Having someone to hold you accountable can be a powerful motivator. This could be a family member, colleague, or business coach who can provide guidance and support as you work towards your goals.

As we’ve outlined above, setting intelligent goals that will make a difference to your business is incredibly important to achieving success, whatever that may look like for you. Consider starting to develop your own goals and use the techniques we’ve highlighted above to stick to them and work towards lasting, continuous improvement. 

Struggling to achieve your goals? Get in touch with our team of experts here at Ascentis. We’ll help you to develop, set and achieve goals that will lead to growth in your business.