Entrepreneurs and freelancers should and must understand the importance of business goal setting. Setting goals for business and career may seem like an easy thing to do, but how does one create a realistic and achievable set of goals?
What are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are one of the most known and effective methods in achieving business plans and objectives. It represents the five important steps of goal setting namely specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.
The SMART criteria are associated with a paper by George T. Doran entitled There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives which were included in the Management Review issue in 1981. Many companies have since used this method as a guide to setting goals and objectives within the organization.
A brief and simple overview of SMART Goals
SPECIFIC – Goals should be made as specific as possible. Avoid generic and broad objectives when preparing your business goals.
MEASURABLE – Goals should be achievable and in order to ensure this, objectives must be measurable. Avoid goals and objectives which cannot be monitored and measured.
ACHIEVABLE – Goals should be realistic and achievable. Avoid goals that are too big and attainable, break it down instead to smaller increments.
RELEVANT – Goals should be grounded on the core values and mission of the organization. Avoid goals that do not fit the plan or operation.
TIMELY – Goals should have a deadline in order to ensure its timeliness. Avoid setting goals without attaching a completion deadline to it.
Purpose and Benefits of SMART Goals
Launching a freelancing career or starting a business requires a great deal of thought and planning. Mapping out the road towards your journey helps you reach your destination with fewer problems and complications. As an entrepreneur and a freelancer, goals will give you parameters and direction, while motivating you to reach the finish line. All actions and decisions performed should be goal-oriented. Whether you are a business owner or a freelancer, SMART goals provide benefits that can immensely influence the success of your business and endeavors.
A clear end vision. Success is possible when you have a clear end vision. Proper planning provides direction toward your main goal.
Better focus and discipline. Achieving an end goal requires proper discipline. Carefully planned goals help you point out exactly what you want to achieve, letting you focus on what needs to be accomplished in a timely manner.
Intelligent use of resources. Setting goals helps you properly use resources that can easily be depleted and wasted, leading to lost money or capital.
Time is not wasted. Time is also a valuable and expensive resource. When goals are set, time is not wasted on things that do not need to be done.
Helps overcome obstacles. Setting up clear steps in achieving goals will help overcome obstacles and challenges. Effective goal planning pushes you to move forward despite the occasional hurdles and drawback.
Effective decision making. It lets you have clarity when it comes to decision making, ensuring that decisions bring you closer, not farther away, to your ultimate goal.
Peace of mind. As a freelancer or a budding entrepreneur, there are many things running inside your head. When goals are set out, it lets you prioritize what needs to be done without worrying too much about matters.
Better communication. Goals enable you to communicate your objectives more effectively. This is important if you are a freelance consultant handling a team, or an entrepreneur working with employees.
Endeavors can be measured. When goals are set and implemented, you will be able to measure how well you are doing and how soon you will be able to reach your goals.
Provides a sense of contentment. Goals that are implemented successfully provide gratification and contentment. It gives a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
Implementation is Key to Achieving SMART Goals
After you have set up your SMART goals, you need to do something in order to turn them into reality. As a freelancer, you need to perform what needs to be done in order to achieve your professional goals while helping your employer achieve his own business goals. As an entrepreneur, you will be responsible for guiding your employees toward the right direction. The action is an important step in achieving your SMART goals, without it, you cannot move towards the finish line. Goals will remain goals without perseverance, determination and the corresponding action. Proper implementation requires discipline and grit on your part – you are the captain of the ship and you will be steering it towards its destination.