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Can you set even smarter goals? Smart goal setting tips for small business owners.

Smart goal setting tips for small business owners

We have been setting goals for ages. Very handy when hunting for food. Setting goals ensures focus. I can hear the order from the cave: “honey, would you please take a deer with you this time?” It may sound funny, but this is precisely where the importance of SMART goal setting lies. But honestly, how many goals did you really set and achieve yourself? The truth is that entrepreneurs struggle to formulate smart goals, let alone reach them. Below some smart goal setting tips for small business owners.

Table of contents

Everyone sets goals, but a few set real smart goals

Think back to your school days. You still had to pass school. Now you always had those overachievers who went for a minimum of nine. Others have long been happy if they didn’t have to defend their poor scoring at home. Either way, at some point, you will have done your best and in itself that was goal setting. 

However, there is a big difference between someone aiming for a nine, while someone else is happy with not failing. Now, if you think I mean the difference in ambition, that is not what I am suggesting. Instead, the vital point to make here is about how you set your goal. How do you formulate your goal, and how important is your target to you?

How do you formulate a smart goal?

Do you have to set goals in entrepreneurship? No, of course not. That’s totally up to you to decide. But if you want to grow your business, you will have to put a dot on the horizon. Nowadays, there is a handy acronym for that, setting SMART Goals. 

SMART stands for: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-bounded

For example, let’s say this is one of your business goals: 

“I want to have written a blog of at least 300 words before the end of the day that tells you exactly how to set smarter goals.” 

A couple of things are striking. Please note that this goal is written in the past tense: “… have written a blog …” With that, you force yourself to have done something for a specific time. Now, suddenly it becomes a choice. However, had you written: “… I want to write a blog before the end of the day …” your brain believes it is a wish. Now, that is much less action-oriented. It is something you would like. Do you feel the difference?

Furthermore, your goal is also particular and measurable. It states the number of words, and what the blog is precisely about. Moreover, it is time-bounded, to make sure you feel the pressure of achieving in the foreseeable future. As you can see, it makes it all the more concrete and, as a consequence, more comfortable to execute and achieve. Most people start their pursuing their goal, but procrastinate along the way. 

How important can you make your goal?

I am not sure who came up with this handy mnemonic SMART. However, it is not entirely complete. Instead, I use SMARTER myself. The last two words represent Emotion and Result. 

Emotion

Maybe you didn’t feel like going to school or trying to do your best. That brings us to the E of Emotion. One of the smart goal setting tips for small business owners is how vital is that goal to you. To what extent have you connected yourself to your goal? Or, how well can you attach yourself to it emotionally? 

Result

Besides how emotionally involved you are with your goal, it depends on how important the outcome is for you? That directs us to the R of Result. One of the other smart goals setting tips for small business owners is what yields your target? How will you benefit from the result if you reach it? If it is that vital to you, you will experience a different emotion, in contrast to if you don’t care. By actively looking for what the goal will bring you AND to what it ultimately contributes, it will bring in more focus and, ultimately, more results!

SMART goals wizard

Many small business owners struggle to set goals. Even though they are better goal-setters than the average population, they perform poorly formulating their goals. Moreover, the badly written goals hinder achieving them. That’s even a bigger problem. 

Specific enhough?64%

64%

Measurable?66%

66%

Actionable?67%

67%

Realistic?68%

68%

Time-bounded?63%

63%

Emotionally important?70%

70%

Result is important to you?75%

75%

Because small business owners fail at writing their personal goals smart, they never reached their goals. They would not even have reached their goals if they tried. That’s why we have designed and developed a smart goals wizard that helps business owners step by step and intuitively formulate a proper smart goal.

smart goals wizard for small business owners
A screenshot of the Smart Goals Wizard for entrepreneurs in the E-Platform

But what about following my intuition?

Some entrepreneurs prefer to follow their intuition. There is nothing wrong with that. Yet, is setting goals still appropriate? However, setting goals doesn’t have to be counterproductive to following your gut-feeling. It would help if you used your intuition to feel what direction you should be heading. 

What is it that you want, instead of being forced to do something. When your gut-feeling directs you into a different path, enthusiasm and passion often evolve from that. It generates so much energy that smarter goals are automatically set. That goal may even become crucial to you. Thus, the E and the R are even more strongly felt in your SMARTER goal.

Without a goal, no goals

Dr. Martijn Driessen

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