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Goals are important in all walks of life. They motivate us to work towards a better state. In business, goals can help drive the company forward. They may be outlined in your business plan as strategic objectives. For some companies, their mission statements can outline the overall goal that a company is working towards.

However, some goals are better than others. The SMART framework has been developed to make goals easier to achieve. By using this framework, achieving the goals you set for your business should become easier and more common, leading to increased success and growth.

So what is the SMART framework? Let’s take a look.

1. Specific

The first step to setting a SMART goal is to make sure that what you want to achieve is specific. When setting out what you want to achieve make sure that you answer the following questions.

  1. What exactly needs to be accomplished?
  2. Why does it need to be accomplished?
  3. Who is required in order to carry this out?
  4. Where will this be carried out?
  5. Which requirements or constraints exist?

By answering these questions we will have generated a specific goal to work towards. A general goal such as ‘grow the company’s sales‘ is less likely to be achieved than a specific one such as ‘grow the company’s sales by 10% before the end of this year‘ as it can be too ambiguous to actually motivate you to work towards it.

2. Measurable

How do you know you have achieved what you set out to do? You need to have concrete criteria to measure progress towards your goals. By setting these criteria you can monitor progress towards the end result that you want to obtain.

Measuring progress is supposed to help a team stay on track, reach its target dates and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal

3. Attainable

Setting goals that are realistic to achieve is important. It is an important motivational factor to set goals that are not out of reach so that team working towards them do not become disenfranchised with a lack of progress.

It is always better to achieve one more reasonable goal then to set multiple objectives that are out of reach. If you do feel that the results that you want are somewhat unattainable, perhaps you should make a list of ‘stepping-stone’ goals that are more reasonable. As you achieve these, you become closer to obtaining your overall objective.

4. Relevant

Good goals to have are one’s that are relevant to your business.

Make sure that the objectives you outline will contribute positively to your business. There is little point to working towards something that has no benefit to your business performance. In fact, it can be detrimental to put time and other resources towards such an endeavour.

5. Time frame

So you have identified what you want to do and how to measure it. So when are you going to start working towards the end result? How long will it take? It is important to outline a time frame to achieve your goal to ensure that you start to regularly to work and make progress towards the objective that you want to obtain.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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