As a business owner you have thousands of priorities pressing on you. Marketing, handling vendors & suppliers, navigating legal and tax accounting morasses, advertising – let’s not even get into actually doing the work! At any given time you have nearly infinite number of things you COULD be working on. But what Should you actually be devoting your precious resources, time, and attention towards? What is worth doing? What is really the best way to be spending your time?
That’s where S.M.A.R.T. comes in.
Each year thousands of business owners make New Year’s resolutions for their website … and fail. I’m going to help change that – at least for you – my readers. Since this is a web development website, I will of course focus on goals like Search Engine rankings, Social Media, Web Design, and E-Commerce. However, the underlying SMART philosophy is great advice for businesses of all types and sizes – regardless of whether you apply it to a business website goal.
Without specifically stating what you want to achieve a goal is just a desire. It’s also too big to work on. Consider the phrase “I want more customers.” Well, duh. Everyone does. The narrower you make your goal, the better you can implement strategy to accomplish it. Why not change “I want more customers” to “I want 100 customers to find my website everyday when they are looking for my services on-line.”
This is business, not kindergarten where everyone got a participation trophy for playing in a game. We need to identify where the end zone is. In the step above we covered what your criteria for success is. Here we need to figure out how we are going to tally the score.
Let’s update that goal phrase:
“I want more customers” to “I want 100 customers to find my website everyday when they are looking for my services on-line. I will use Google Analytics to measure if 100 more visitors are finding me.”
What good is a goal if it is not attainable? You might want to jump over the moon but if it’s not physically possible, why include it? Sure you could argue that setting the bar impossibly high brings you success for everything you achieve below it. But not making your goal is not only demoralizing, it blurs what you really want to accomplish. If your goal isn’t attainable, you lose focus. Instead of making actionable decisions towards your goal, everything becomes your goal. You become a floodlight when a laser is required.
Yes, you should dream big. Just make sure the goal is realistic. After all, once you complete one SMART goal, you can always set another!
Let’s return to the focus of ‘what is worth doing.’ As a business owner you’re likely ambitious. But you’re also used to making the tough decisions – like separating wants from needs. Sometimes what you want to do is not what you need to d
o. Focus your SMART goals on the core competencies that make your business run. If a goal is not producing an output that is a key driver of your business, do you really need it? Is the desired end state really relevant to your overall goals?
Returning to our web development example you may want to re-design your website. But is that really relevant to your goals of increasing sales? Can you ascertain that the actual design is holding back sales or if it’s really the functionality of your shopping cart that is preventing people from completing a transaction? Sure, a new web design would be pretty and fun to show off but it diverts your attention from the main goal of increasing sales!
Finally a goal should be time-bound. A goal without a deadline is just a wish. ‘Gee, I wish I could have xyz.’ That sounds nice but deadlines have a funny way of making things happen. When you assign a deadline for a goal you can work backwards from that date to the present and identify all of the necessary steps to get you there.
Put time parameters on your goal like so:
“I want more customers” to “I want 100 customers to find my website everyday when they are looking for my services on-line. I will use Google Analytics to measure if 100 more visitors are finding me each day. This i
s to be accomplished by June of this year.“
What are your goals for your business and website?