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Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals for the year ahead

The start of a new year and if you haven’t already a time to reflect on what you have achieved in 2022 and take a look at where you want to be this time next year.
When setting goals, we would recommend having a mixture of business and personal goals to give you a more holistic view. A useful technique when doing this is to set S.M.A.R.T goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Using this approach, you can develop goals that may take some hard work but will keep you accountable and won’t leave you feeling defeated.

Specific
For each goal you decide on you need to frame it in a way that allows you to form a concrete plan, for example, a vague goal like “I want to be well off” lacks a firm end point, which makes it harder to determine what steps you’ll have to take to get there (“well off” is subjective, and you could find yourself constantly moving the finish line). A goal like “I want to put 6 months’ worth of living expenses into my savings” has a built-in end point and because of this specificity, you’ll be able to calculate the amount you have to contribute, decide how long it should take you to reach that number, and determine what you’ll need to put that much money in the bank.

Measurable
It’s important to be able to measure your progress as you work toward your goals. Spend some time working out which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are key to your growth. For example, some of the KPIs you could measure each month, are conversion rate, average sale value, utilization, Gross Profit and Net Profit margin.

Attainable
You’ll want to set goals you can reach (even if they might take hard work). For instance, let’s say your income is £40,000 a year, but your goal is to put £20,000 into your savings account. Not only will it be nearly impossible to achieve (unless you stop eating) but you’ll also feel discouraged when your hard work doesn’t pay off.
Working toward a more attainable goal — like paying off a certain amount of your student loans within a specific timeframe — will have a far more positive effect on you both financially and psychologically. Don’t chase after a result you’ll never catch; creating more reasonable expectations will give you the satisfaction of crossing them off your list and moving forward.

Realistic
How are attainable and realistic different? When considering your own goals, think of realistic as what’s realistic for you. If your goal is to get involved in crypto currency and make a certain amount of profit, that’s fine but remember that you won’t become an experienced investor overnight, even if it would be technically possible for you to hit it big. Being realistic about your goals means taking stock of your abilities and limitations and working with both to get the best result possible. That’s not to say you won’t be able to acquire new skills or abandon bad habits as you progress.

Timely
It’s great to have long-term goals: you may want to buy a house one day; you want to move to a more expensive office, or you may want to help your kids pay for university. But depending on when these events happen, it may be difficult to set up a timeline for meeting them — and that’s not even considering the unpredictability of the future!
Focusing on short-term goals which are steppingstones for the larger goals will help you achieve those big dreams in the long term. You want to have a goal with a clear end date. Without one, it’s harder to be aware of your progress and hold yourself to a deadline.
Some goals can seem so big or so far off that it’s hard to get a handle on them. But if you create your goals using the S.M.A.R.T. system — and put in the work — you can keep even the most monumental mission under control.