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SMART Goal Examples for Small Businesses in 2023 (Boring But Critical)

Updated: Jan 20

Looking for ways to set your business up for success for 2023? The secret is to stay SMART.


With SMART goals, you can stay organized, more effectively execute a plan, and have a significantly increased chance of achieving your goals! Small Business SMART goals can help you avoid missing critical details in your plans. Otherwise, you might lack the necessary direction once you get started.

Small business owner with a dog laying its head on his shoulder while reviewing smart goals

Let’s start with the obligatory stat: About 3% of MBA graduates who regularly write their goals down earn 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates put together. By setting SMART goals, you could set yourself up for success.


What are SMART goals, exactly? Don't worry, we have you covered! In this guide, we'll help you understand how to form your SMART goals that work for your small business. We will even toss in a few SMART goal examples to help guide you!

 

Start your small business near year off on the right track with our SMART goals guide (2023)!



What are SMART Goals?


Light bulb hanging upside down. Represents SMART thinking on business goals.

First, let's answer the question that's likely on your mind: what are SMART goals, exactly? Let's preface our explanation with a note that there are many different definitions for each item of this acronym. We feel the following is the best example for your use as a small business owner.


The Basics:


SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Driven, and Timely. Establishing SMART goals will help you remain more specific in scope for both yourself and your company. Along the way you can set your team up for success and track your progress along the way.


It is key to remember that this is less of a process to follow than it is a guideline. You will notice a lot of overlap between the factors as we go through the basics below.



Specific

Make sure your goals are clear, concise, and specific. A good way to look at this item is to view it from the perspective of your employees or team. If you anticipate questions from them regarding your goal, then it is not specific enough.


The Problem Areas:

A broad goal could leave members of your team asking questions at the very least. If you leave goals open ended you’ll likely experience miscommunication and/or poor execution regarding what you're trying to accomplish for any given goal.

Someone laying down colored blocks that spell the word specific

The most common issue is that your employees or key figures might interpret your goals in a different way than intended. Or worse still, they all think they ‘know’ what you mean and therefore their individual actions are oriented towards their personal interpretations. I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that could create internally.


For example, simply saying you want to "generate more leads" isn't specific enough to give your team proper direction. You leave open questions such as:


  • How many leads exactly? One person might think 20 is another, while another might aim for 100.

  • What kind of leads count towards this goal? One might decide you simply mean newsletter signups, while the other is only counting website form fills.


The Right Way:

Artistic view of a persons detailed calendar notebook.
Write SMART Goals Down

Instead, say, "I want to generate 20 more leads through our website by the next quarter." As you’ll notice this statement is specific in multiple fronts. This SMART goal has a specific action, count, source, and timeline.


When specifying your goals, ask yourself what you're trying to accomplish. Which members of your team will help drive this project? What steps will they need to take to achieve individual SMART goals?


Think through the exact process you envision for you, or your team needs to take to accomplish the task.