Building Your Business Becoming an Owner Business Plans 5 Elements of a SMART Business Goal By Darrell Zahorsky Darrell Zahorsky Twitter Darrell Zahorsky is an expert in search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. He has worked for companies and clients such as Blackberry, ADP, and Subway. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 30, 2022 Reviewed by David Kindness Reviewed by David Kindness David Kindness is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and an expert in the fields of financial accounting, corporate and individual tax planning and preparation, and investing and retirement planning. David has helped thousands of clients improve their accounting and financial systems, create budgets, and minimize their taxes. learn about our financial review board In This Article View All In This Article Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-Based Photo: Image by Katie Kerpel Â© The Balance 2019 Every successful business has clearly set and articulated goals to attain specific objectives. Yet, in the world of small business, many businesses lack a focused goal. “Get more business” is a typical reply of small business owners when asked of future plans. Any self-respecting CEO would be tossed out of a shareholder meeting for uttering a vague response. Whether you have a 50-employee company or an empire of one, your business success depends on your ability to set and achieve goals. Put your business on the fast-track by applying the principles of SMART goal setting. SMART is an acronym for the 5 elements of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results. Specific Great goals are well-defined and focused. “Obtain two new billion dollar corporate clients in the Boston property insurance market” is more meaningful to mobilize your team than “Get more business.” Ryan Blair, The Goals Guy eloquently states, "Focus creates a powerful force: goal power. The moment you focus on a goal, your goal becomes a magnet, pulling you and your resources toward it. The more focused your energies, the more power you generate." Measurable A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scoreboard or scorekeeper. Numbers are an essential part of business. Put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you’re on track. A goal white board posted in your office can help as a daily reminder to keep yourself and your employee focused on the targeted results you want to attain. Attainable Far too often, small businesses can set goals beyond reach. No one has ever built a billion dollar business overnight. Venture capitalists and angel investors discard countless business plans of companies with outlandish goals. Dream big and aim for the stars but keep one foot firmly based in reality. Check with your industry association to get a handle on realistic growth in your industry to set SMART goals. Relevant Achievable business goals are based on the current conditions and realities of the business climate. You may desire to have your best year in business or increase revenue by 50%, but if a recession is looming and three new competitors opened in your market, then your goals aren’t relevant to the realities of the market. Time-Based Business goals and objectives just don’t get done when there's no time frame tied to the goal-setting process. Whether your business goal is to increase revenue by 20% or find 5 new clients, choose a time-frame to accomplish your goal. Once your business goals are SMART, break down each goal into a specific set of tasks and activities to accomplish your goals. It’s important to periodically review your goals and make adjustments if necessary. Goal setting for your small business is an essential tool for success. Remember in the end to be SMART. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. University of California. "SMART Goals: A How to Guide," Page 3. Accessed April 28, 2020. Gary Ryan Power. "Goals: The 10 Rules for Achieving Success," Page 85. Sourcebooks, Inc., 2013.