Goal Setting is SMART Business

Brent Szalay

Time and time again, I'm amazed at the lack of clearly defined goals within businesses. They provide so much focus...

Day in and day out I see business owners grinding away on operational tasks and saying yes to everything. Either too scared to push back and say no. Or they don’t have a clear focus or common direction to aim their effort towards.

It sounds easy enough. Set your goals and implement across the business. However setting goals and learning how to implement them can be the difference between having an ‘OK’ business and having an awesome one. Now remember setting goals isn’t simply making a figure up in your head that you hope to hit one day. It involves writing it down, making it a SMART goal and then sharing it with your team and/or trusted people in order to create team buy-in and accountability.


An effective goal will have these 3 key criteria:

  1. Written down – Get it out of your head and write it down so others can see it.
  2. Make them action orientated – (i.e. a 1–3 year action statement that starts with a verb or action word like increasing, decreasing, reducing or improving. This action orientated approach aids in creating some sort of movement or change in your business
  3. SMART – Make your goal Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Responsible Person and Timely (SMART). These key words will provide you guidance to ensure you are setting effective goals. An example of a SMART goal is Happy Lawyers, a legal firm will increase their profit by 15% in the next 12 months – Jono is responsible for driving this.


Setting effective goals is a significant step in taking your business from being good to great and although this sounds simple, many business don’t fully commit. Making a statement and putting yourself out there by sharing your aspirations takes a huge amount of courage. Sometimes the fear of failure is enough to keep you making excuses i.e. ‘I’m too busy’ and then goals are not set.


I can share with you that I have made some pretty poor decisions along the way and consequently failed to achieve my goals, however the lessons learnt from my mistakes have turned out to be more valuable than achieving the goal would have been. For me, the failure isn’t in not achieving your goals, it is the failure to set them in the first place.


To make your goal setting process effective, I have a simple process to follow that will help you in setting and achieving your goals:

– Set a SMART goal and write it down

– Share it with your team. This will not only motivate them and sharpen their focus, it will keep you accountable to achieving your goal

– Break down the goal into sections so you can work out how to accomplish the goal. Using the Happy Lawyers example you might increase sales targets by 10%, increase price by 5% and then cut costs by 5%, all of which comes together to increase profit by the 15% goal target

– Measure your progress – Set up a monthly or even weekly reporting to ensure you and your team are on track

– Own it!!! Be accountable and don’t make excuses


If you are not able to achieve your goals first off, don’t be too hard on yourself. Work out what went wrong, own it, identify your key learning’s, dust yourself off and get back on the horse immediately by setting a new goal.


If you can make goal setting a part of your business culture, you will go a long way to achieving long term success and having an awesome business…. And finally the most important part of goal setting, once you achieve a goal – CELEBRATE IT!!!! Because that feeling of achieving something is amazing and infectious and it will give you the confidence to set your goals bigger and better next time.

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