For Best Results Incorporate S.M.A.R.T Goals in your 90 Day Action Plan
As a small business owner, you’re likely always looking for ways to achieve more. Maybe you created a 90 Day Action Plan at the beginning of the month or quarter and are feeling the pressure. Have you “taken action” yet? You might have resolved to make more money, find more clients, or grow your business. It’s fantastic to have an idea of what you want to do, but…
- How will you know whether or not you’re successful?
- How will you know whether you are still on track?
- How will you know if some or all of your employees are on track to help you succeed?
In our office we use a 90 day action plan and try to incorporate no more than 3 main goals. We have also seen that businesses will be most successful when working with an adviser and follow a systematic way of deciding what goals are important—achievable—realistic—and evaluating whether or not you’ve attained them or are even on the right path.
In our office we call these SMART goals:
SMART goals help you identify what you want to do, when you want to do it by, and how you’ll get it done. SMART goals help you plan for success. They turn your resolution into action. Your action into success.
For example “I want to grow my business.” is not a “SMART” goal; it says nothing about how the business will grow, how long growth will take, how it will be attained, or how success will be measured. It’s vague, so you have no idea if you’ve been successful.
Growing your business by offering a new service or by focusing on a new target market are great examples of SMART goals. You know there is something you want to achieve, using a 90 day action plan will help you focus on the process and benchmarks help you measure your success i.e.: a higher gross profit, specific number of new customers, etc.; you can assign specific, realistic, measurable tasks to your employees as well.
We recommend using the SMART goal technique to create your 90 Day Action Plan.
How to use SMART goals
To use SMART goal setting you need to ask yourself important questions. Let’s take the above example of expanding your business.
Specific: Ask yourself how you want your business to grow. Do you want more clients? More revenue? More employees? What does “growth” mean?
Measurable: How many more clients do you want? How much more money do you want to earn? How many more employees do you want? Numbers work best here.
Achievable: How do you plan to reach your goal? Do you have the resources to make it happen?
Realistic: Do you currently have one client but want 100 within a week? It’s great to have goals that challenge you but asking yourself to do the impossible sets you up for failure.
Timely: How long will you give yourself to find new clients or employees? Be specific with deadlines. Don’t just say you want something done ASAP or within the year. Set a reasonable, firm deadline that gives you a chance to review your goals and determine how successful you’ve been.
Here’s the same thought above, but written from a SMART perspective:
By March 31, I will have signed three new clients for my services by purchasing advertising in the local newspaper, attending networking events, and posting on my blog once a week.
As your deadline approaches, you’ll know to review your client list and see if you’ve signed three new clients. If you have, great! If not, review your action plan and see where changes could be made.
It’s great to have an idea of what you want to do, but without SMART goals all you have is an idea. Our recommendation: start by making a wish list, discuss your ideas with your staff, then create your 90 Day Action Plan. Having trouble moving forward, consider having your accountant work with you as your accountability coach. Once you’ve achieved the goals in your current 90 Day Action Plan, you can look forward to setting additional successful goals for yourself in the future.
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If you need help with your accounting, want to create a tax minimization plan, want to discuss your business growth plan or your finances, are concerned about retirement goals or need to be held accountable for your 90 day action plan, contact us for a complimentary discovery session or an appointment to just get started.