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5 Steps to Writing SMART Business Goals

January 22, 2020

7 minread

Do you ever wonder how some people succeed at everything? The answer is simple; they make a plan and set goals.

Goal setting is key to success. The tricky part is knowing how to set the right goals.

When setting goals for your business, it’s important to remember where you’re headed and why. You want your goals to align with the overall vision for your company. Your vision should act as your north star, and your goals should all be in pursuit of that end destination.

If you don’t already have a clear vision or feel yours is outdated, it might be time to take another look.

Now, for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART.

Yes, you’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but if you’re not putting it into practice, you could be missing out on a big opportunity.

SMART goals help you turn a vague idea into an actionable plan for results. A quick example of this is how we look at our current goals. As business owners, we all want to “get more business,” but to achieve more business, we need to set goals that are measurable and easy to track. For that reason, a goal to “Increase revenue by 20% in 6 months” is easier to measure than “grow revenue.”

Here’s a quick breakdown of the SMART acronym:


When setting goals, you must be specific on what you are trying to accomplish. When a goal is clear and well defined, it erases any ambiguity and establishes a clear direction for the goals. Specific objectives are easy to follow and can draw a straight line to where you want to end up.


Identify the metrics you want to use to track your goal. When you include precise amounts, dates, etc., your goal becomes more tangible and gives you a way to measure progress.

If you defined your goal as “reduce expenses,” how will you know when you’ve been successful? Connecting metrics to your goals helps you measure success and allows you to celebrate those wins along the way.


Set goals that are realistic. It’s important to set your sights high, but when you set an impossible goal, it can feel hopeless and overwhelming.

By setting challenging yet realistic goals, you inspire motivation over discouragement. To ensure you’re not setting yourself up for failure, consider how to accomplish the goal and if you have the tools/skills needed. If not, what would it take to attain those skills? Move forward from there.


Goals should be relevant to your overall objectives. This seems obvious, but so often, we work towards goals that don’t move us closer to our vision. By keeping goals aligned with your vision, you’ll stay focused enough to move the needle vs. spending time working on something that only distracts from your end destination.


Your goals must have a deadline. This cannot be stressed enough. By leaving your goals open-ended, you’ll lose any sense of urgency. If you’re working on a long-term goal, consider breaking it into smaller chunks to feel that sense of accomplishment and to keep up the urgency.

Setting SMART Goals is the easiest way to turn your Marco goals (your vision) into controllable micro-goals. In this video, Vice President of Sales for Cultivate Advisors, Nicole Gallop, outlines how to take your long team goals into short term SMART goals in a few easy steps.

Make Your Goals SMARTER

Now that you have an understanding of the framework, it’s time to turn your goals into SMART goals.

Take your current goals and walk through these questions to ensure you’re smart about goal setting.

Initial goal – ____________________

S – Specific – What do you want to accomplish?

M – Measurable – How can you measure progress and know when you accomplish your goals?

A – Achievable – Do you have the skills or resources required to achieve this goal?

R – Relevant – Does this goal align with your overall objectives/vision?

T – Time-based – What is the deadline (and is it realistic)?

Once you have your goals, see if you can break them down even further. The micro breakdown of your goals is where the magic starts to happen as you realize what will break or what needs to shift in the business to get to that level.  Apply this framework to your company and see how much simpler your big audacious goals feel.

Setting goals with trackable metrics will help you move the needle in your business. If you’re not sure where to start, you don’t have to go at it alone. Schedule a free two-hour session with our Cultivate Advisors to dig into your business to uncover bottlenecks and develop a roadmap based on where you are in your business and where you would like to be. With this roadmap, you’ll have a tangible plan you can implement to reach your long-term goals.

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