SMART Goals are the only Way to Go

Now, we’re talking uniquely about business here, ok? While SMART Goals are the only way to go for your business, they don’t always apply to life in general.

They’re a bit rigid for that.

But when it comes to business, they surely are, well … smarter.

When discussing our business and where we want to get to next, we often use loose terms like “we need to grow”, “we need new customers” and so on. But those ‘goals’ just don’t cut the mustard. Why? Because they’re not goals. They’re simply aspirations, dreamy notions of a bigger, better business in some hazy future.

SMART Goals focus the mind.

SMART goals are the only way to go

They force us into setting goals that are measurable and that must be achieved within a particular time frame. Whether that be one week, three months or a year, they’re concrete and, since we can’t adjust the march of time, the day will arrive when you either have or have not achieved those goals.

So what are SMART Goals?

S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Achievable, R = Realistic, T = Timely.

We can readily relate to the first four, right?

So, “we need new customers” now becomes “we are to sign up 10 new wholesale customers and we include them only from their second order. Customers who only order once don’t count”.

Is that specific ? Yes. Is it measurable? Yes. Is it achievable? Maybe. Is it realistic? Perhaps not. So let’s refine then.

“We are to sign up 10 new wholesale customers, of which possibly 5 will order only once, while the other 5 re-order”.

Great, now it sounds realistic and achievable.

But wait. We’re missing the critical element.

T for Timely (or time-defined). That’s the key.

Refining further, therefore, our very clear SMART Goal now evolves into “we are to sign up 10 new wholesale customers within 6 months from today, of which at least 5 will have re-ordered within those same 6 months”.


Let’s look at the very concrete example of exhibiting at a trade show.

So you spend a load of time and money showing at a trade event, then return to the office with a load of leads and then … time passes. Here’s where there absolutely needs to be SMART Goals. Without them, there’s drift and, before you know it, everybody forgets about what the outcomes were. That’s no good.

“Goal #1for this trade show is to meet and spend some time with 25 of our best clients. They are A, B,C, etc. We are to demonstrate our new service Z to each one and follow up with an email to each one within one week of the show”.

“Goal #2 is to have a good meeting with 10 potential clients we never heard of and to follow them up with …within one week”.

“Goal #3 is to have secured orders from and delivered produce to 4 new customers within 6 weeks of the show”.


It’s about clear, defined, time-limited SMART goals. Ditch the wishy-washy.

Want more? Here’s an article on SMART Goals by the ever-excellent Hubspot.

Updated Dec 2021

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