SMART Goals – Who needs them?
As the old year ends and 2017 starts, its a natural time to look back, review and reflect. People all over the world are making new year resolutions. Everyone begins with great intentions and enthusiasm, but why do so many of us lose momentum?
Are our expectations too high?
Is our willpower not strong enough?
Or do we just set unrealistic goals?
How do you set goals that stick and don’t fall by the wayside? The method that works for me and my clients are SMART goals:
S – Specific – What exactly do you need to do?
M – Measurable – What can you measure to show that you’ve hit that goal
A – Achievable – How can you realistically meet this goal?
R – Relevant – Why is this goal important to you?
T – Time based – When will you complete the goal?
Let me give you an example of a SMART goal.
Last year one of my goals was to create my Easy Peasy Sales online course. Online courses are all the rage, you may even be thinking of doing one yourself. But what do you need to do to turn that goal into reality?
Let me explain how I used SMART goals to create my course.
Specific – What did I need to do?
I wanted to create a course which would replicate the content I deliver on my Easy Peasy Sales live course, which covers my 4 key pillar areas of sales.
It needed to include 4 main chapters:
2. Sales process
3. Sales strategy and
Then sub categories breaking down the sections even further.
From my research I knew that the best online courses had bite size videos lasting no more that 3 minutes per slot and printable worksheets to help students turn ideas into actions and help create habit forming changes.
I also wanted to build something that was easy to buy online for individuals but could also be sold in bulk to business support agencies.
Measurable – What could I measure to show that I’d achieved the goal?
There are two fairly obvious measures of success with this goal – sales and quality.
I set a sales target of £10K by the end of the year and quality target of a 4/5 start average rating for every review of the course.
Achievable – How can you realistically meet this goal?
This was the tricky part. I did not have enough of the right knowledge to create an online course. There are a lot of people out there telling you it’s easy to make a great online course. It’s not. That’s why there are so many ropey courses on the market.
I wanted to make a great product so I found an expert who could help me. Enter Sam, my join venture partner, and e-learning expert with over 12 years experience creating innovative online learning experiences. With his knowledge and expertise the goal became achievable.
Relevant – Why is this goal important to you?
As my business has grown, so has the demand on my time. I love teaching people to sell, but to hit my business objectives, I needed a product that would teach people without me being involved on a one to one basis. An online course was the perfect solution. It means I can teach people where and when it’s convenient for them to learn.
At this point I think its important to manage your expectations.
For those of you on Facebook, if your feed is anything like mine, you’ll be inundated with people wanting to teach you to make millions of pounds from your online course.
In reality online courses are not a quick win for you to retire and live your life on a beach in Costa Rica. Core Marketing principles apply to online courses, just as they do any products and services. Like all snake oil sales people – they are great at marketing and selling, but not so good at delivering on their promises. Avoid anything that sounds like get rich quick.
If it sound too good to be true it usually is.
Time Based – When will you complete the goal?
This to me is a crucial part of why some people do not achieve their goals.
They do not set a clear time frame. They don’t give themselves enough time which puts you under pressure, creates stress, and leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Or the deadline is too far in the future and it gets forgotten. It becomes a Mañana job which never gets done.
Sam and I put a time frame of 6 weeks from conception to launch.
So that’s the SMART goal I set to create my first online course.
Do SMART goals work?
If you’ve worked in the corporate world for any length of time at even a half decent organisation, you probably had to set SMART goals with your manager at least twice a year and check in on how you were doing.
SMART goals only work if they are followed up with a clear plan. It’s obvious. Clear as day, but so many people stop there and go..
“oooh check out my goal, it’s so SMART – look I checked off all the letters. I’m all set for the year now.”
That’s why SMART goals don’t work. Each goal has to be backed up with a plan.
Once I decided to work with Sam, the first thing he did was come back to me with a plan.
He broke it down into short projects that took no longer than 2 weeks to complete. If you’re working in two week sprints, you always feel like you’re making progress. You get that sense of achievement you need to keep going. And if something goes wrong it’s not the end of the world to make changes.
Each mini-project had it’s own set of tasks, deadlines and accountabilities.
What needs doing?
When does it need to be done by?
and who needs to do it?
Here’s a list of the mini-projects we had to complete:
– Course planning and structure
– Course building
– Launch and Marketing
Each one had it’s own section on Trello with a list of cards that represented the tasks. Trello is so simple and so powerful, it made it easy to share different documents and ideas as well as keep us focused on the right tasks and deadlines. It helps you stay on top of those three questions above.
Daily communication on our Slack channel and weekly Skype meetings ensured we were on track and we hit our launch deadline of 22nd September 2016.
As a sales specialist I also feel it’s important to set time based sales targets to keep focused on revenue and results. I wanted to sell 150 courses from launch till 31 December 2016.
By practising what I teach, we have not only created one course, but two. Sam and I have also built, The Entrepreneurs Godmother – Guide to starting a business. It went live just before Christmas and will be featured on Groupon later this month.
Did we hit our targets? Not only did we hit our sales target we exceeded it by 18%.
Of course its important to have personal goals as well. One of my personal goals every year is to take my family away for 2 weeks in the sun over Christmas and New Year.
I’m sitting in my hotel in Mexico as I type. Its great to have time to switch off as well has time to work “on the business” rather than in the business.
My get away could not however be possible without having achieved my business goals and sales targets, so there is a close link between the two.
In summary, who needs SMART goals? Everyone in business. Without them its a bit like running a race without a start or finish line.
Every SMART goal needs a detailed, realistic plan to get you there. Otherwise you’ll never even find the finish line.
Have you set your goals for 2017?
More importantly have you built the plans you need to get there?