smart objectives for a business plan

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SMART goals

How to write SMART goals

It’s easier to succeed when you have clearly defined objectives that are based in reality.

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5-second summary

  • Teams often fall short of meeting their goals due to a lack of consensus on the definition of success.
  • SMART goals use a specific set of criteria to help ensure that objectives are clearly defined and attainable within a certain timeframe.
  • Working through each step of creating a SMART goal can reveal instances where priorities and resources are out of alignment.

Meet Jane. She’s a product manager at a mid-sized tech company – let’s call it Techfirm, Inc. Jane has been tasked with increasing usage of Techfirm’s mobile app.

She knows she’ll need all hands on deck to make this happen, but there’s a problem. When Jane has set team-wide goals in the past, they’ve quickly fallen off track. Nobody seemed to have a clear understanding of what success should look like. Progress wasn’t monitored closely enough. And inevitably, that important objective slipped to the back burner (before toppling off the stove entirely).

That’s why, this time around, Jane plans to leverage SMART goals for setting an action plan and staying the course.

Want to get started right now?

Use our template to define the different components of your SMART goal.

5 diagrams that show how context switching saps your productivity

5 diagrams that show how context switching saps your productivity

What are smart goals.

The SMART in SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Defining these parameters as they pertain to your goal helps ensure that your objectives are attainable within a certain time frame. This approach eliminates generalities and guesswork, sets a clear timeline, and makes it easier to track progress and identify missed milestones.

An example of a SMART-goal statement might look like this: Our goal is to [quantifiable objective] by [timeframe or deadline]. [Key players or teams] will accomplish this goal by [what steps you’ll take to achieve the goal]. Accomplishing this goal will [result or benefit].

Let’s use Jane’s objective to work through each component.

S: Specific

In order for a goal to be effective, it needs to be specific. A specific goal answers questions like:

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Who’s responsible for it?
  • What steps need to be taken to achieve it?

Thinking through these questions helps get to the heart of what you’re aiming for. Here’s an example of a specific goal Jane might come up with:

Grow the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns.

M: Measurable

Don’t underestimate the outsized impact of short-term goals

Don’t underestimate the outsized impact of short-term goals

Specificity is a solid start, but quantifying your goals (that is, making sure they’re measurable) makes it easier to track progress and know when you’ve reached the finish line.

Jane and her product team want to grow the number of their mobile app users – but by how much? If they get even one new signup, that’s technically positive growth – so does that mean they’re done? Same goes for their strategy; how many platforms will they advertise on? 

To make this SMART objective more impactful, Jane should incorporate measurable, trackable benchmarks.

Increase the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns for four social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

A: Achievable

This is the point in the process when you give yourself a serious reality check. Goals should be realistic —  not  pedestals from which you inevitably tumble. Ask yourself: is your objective something your team can reasonably accomplish?

Jane might look at her goal and realize that, given her small team and their heavy workload, creating ad campaigns for four social platforms might be biting off more than they can chew. She decides to scale back to the three social networks where she’s most likely to find new clients.

Increase the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns for three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Safeguarding the achievability of your goal is much easier when you’re the one setting it. However, that’s not always the case. When goals are handed down from elsewhere, make sure to communicate any restraints you may be working under. Even if you can’t shift the end goal, at least you can make your position (and any potential roadblocks) known up-front.

How to write the perfect 90-day plan

How to write the perfect 90-day plan

R: relevant.

Here’s where you need to think about the big picture. Why are you setting the goal that you’re setting? Jane knows that the app is a huge driver of customer loyalty, and that an uptick in their app usage could mean big things for the company’s bottom-line revenue goals. Now she revises her statement to reflect that context.

Grow the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns for three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Because mobile users tend to use our product longer, growing our app usage will ultimately increase profitability.

T: Time-bound

To properly measure success, you and your team need to be on the same page about when a goal has been reached. What’s your time horizon? When will the team start creating and implementing the tasks they’ve identified? When will they finish?

SMART goals should have time-related parameters built in, so everybody knows how to stay on track within a designated time frame.

When Jane incorporates those dates, her SMART goal is complete.

Grow the number of monthly users of Techfirm’s mobile app by 1,000 within Q1 of 2022. This will be accomplished by optimizing our app-store listing and creating targeted social media campaigns, which will begin running in February 2022, on three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Since mobile is our primary point of conversion for paid-customer signups, growing our app usage will ultimately increase sales.

Knowing how to set goals using the SMART framework can help you succeed in setting and attaining goals, no matter how large or small.

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21 SMART Goals Examples for Your Small Business Development

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Starting a business isn’t easy, and running it is even more challenging. New entrepreneurs often feel fear and a lack of motivation, not knowing how to act. Even experienced business owners may be hesitant about their business development. Some may say, “if it works, don’t fix it,” but this isn’t a universal rule.

That’s why SMART goals for business development are crucial for any entrepreneur. This guide will explain how to set goals that work and provide you with seven examples.

Table of Contents

What Is a SMART Goal?

It's crucial to understand SMART goals before you can set your own goals to help with your small business development.

The easy way to remember the core characteristics of a SMART goal is to familiarize yourself with the acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. If your goals fit the SMART goal framework, there is little to no chance of failure. So now, let’s take a closer look at the criteria of a SMART goal.

Your goal should be definitive, answering a specific question and setting a specific target. That’s necessary to know exactly how the goal can be achieved and when it has been met. Strive to narrow down your goals as much as possible. Being excited isn’t enough .

Your goals should have some sort of metric to help you track your progress. If your goals truly meet this criterion, you should be able to answer questions starting with “How much?” “How many?” or “How long?” The ability to track your progress also motivates you to achieve further goals.

Set reasonable goals with reasonable deadlines. Consider any additional steps and changes in circumstance that may affect your progress and evaluate your abilities fairly. Breaking down large goals into smaller, more achievable goals helps you stay motivated and fight procrastination. Setting unachievable goals only leads to frustration.

Your goals should help you achieve your long-term plans. If you didn’t come anywhere closer to your main goal after completing your smaller goal, you might have wasted time and effort.

Your goals have a specific deadline that keeps you focused and motivated. Knowing you only have a limited amount of time to complete your tasks is a great push forward. Conversely, goals without deadlines often lead to procrastination.

Only with all these criteria combined do goals become SMART. However, if even one element is neglected, you may have trouble completing your goals. For example, let’s say you’ve set a goal of building a website for your small business.

This goal aligns with your long-term objective, is both achievable and measurable. However, it isn’t specific enough, nor is it time-bound. To make this goal work, you should specify the website functionality, purpose, and deadline.

The SMART framework works not solely in a business goal setting. It can be applied to any life situation, be it work, hobby, self-improvement , or even finding your life purpose . Make sure to check out our detailed guide on the SMART goal framework if you’d like to learn more.

Why Are SMART Goals Important for Small Business Development?

One of the most common reasons small businesses fail is the lack of organization and ambiguity in objectives. However, running a business involves more than just organizational tasks, such as managing resources and employees or dealing with logistics.

For a business to succeed, it should continuously improve – not necessarily by expanding into a larger business, but by maintaining or elevating product or service quality and increasing customer retention.

And if you’re only planning to start a business, you will encounter even more challenges. The top reasons beginning entrepreneurs fail are lack of motivation, procrastination, and fear of starting something new.

In the case of an existing small business, SMART goals are necessary to create a comprehensive business development strategy. For example, you may have a general aim but not know how to achieve it.

By breaking your main objective into SMART goals, you create a path to the next level. Most importantly, your SMART goals for business development should be relevant and specific.

In the case of a beginning small business, SMART goals are even more helpful. Achievable tasks eliminate the fear of starting something new. The broader your goals are, the less achievable they seem.

Time-bound and measurable goals ensure that you don’t waste time instead of moving towards your dream. When you start seeing your smaller SMART goals completed, you’ll receive a boost in motivation that will help you do more and achieve your primary objective even faster.

Now that you know why you need to set SMART goals for business development, let’s look at some examples of such goals:

21 SMART Goals Examples for Small Business Development

1. improve employee efficiency.

“Over the next four weeks, I will improve my employee workflow efficiency by evaluating which tasks they’re best at performing and assigning them accordingly. I will measure this every day based on the time it takes to complete a task and the quality of work, changing the tasks every three days.”

S : This statement identifies how exactly you’re planning to improve the workflow efficiency of your employees. Furthermore, it describes how you are going to define which tasks you’re best at performing.

M : The time required for an employee to complete a task is a specific, measurable value. Although the quality of work of one particular employee can’t always be measured objectively, you can compare the quality of work of different employees for justified conclusions.

A : This is an achievable goal, as you can evaluate your employee work quality, measure the time it takes to complete a task, and draw conclusions based on this information.

R : This goal is relevant to any business owner wishing to maximize profits and create a better working environment for their employees by giving them jobs they like and can do well.

T : This statement sets a specific period during which you will closely monitor your employee work. It also defines how often you will evaluate the results.

2. Improve Working Environment

“Over the next six weeks, I will improve the working environment for my employees by collecting anonymous feedback from each individual per week.”

S : This statement specifies how you’re planning to make your team members’ lives at work better – by collecting feedback to consider their wants and needs.

M : Employee feedback serves as an excellent basis for drawing conclusions and setting new goals. Receiving input from each employee each week is a simple metric.

A : This is an achievable goal, taking just a little time collecting and evaluating feedback each week.

R : This goal is relevant to any business owner, as happy employees tend to do their job better and are less likely to leave.

T : This goal will be met in six weeks.

financial smart goals examples for business | smart goals and objectives examples | smart goals examples for students

3. Improve Time Management

“Over the next month, I will improve my time management. I will do this by creating a schedule every day and marking tasks I have and haven’t completed and the time I started and finished doing them. I will also reduce the time I spend on my phone and measure it using a dedicated mobile app.”

S : This statement is specific. It defines how exactly you’re going to improve your time management – by creating a daily schedule and reducing the time spent on your phone.

M : The marks on your schedule are a good measure for evaluating and improving your time management. A dedicated mobile app provides insights into the time you’ve spent on your phone.

A : This is an achievable goal, taking just a little time to plan and track progress through the day.

R : Time management is crucial for business success. It helps to improve your overall workflow efficiency, which is beneficial for any business owner and aligns with your main objective.

T : This goal should be accomplished in one month.

4. Improve E-Commerce Website

“Over the next six weeks, I will improve my e-commerce website’s user experience. I will do this by implementing A/B testing and comparing how long visitors remain on the site and how many purchases they make on each site version.”

S : This statement specifies how you’re going to improve your website’s user experience – by implementing A/B testing.

M : The time spent and purchases made on each version of your site are a reasonable metric that helps to determine which site version works better.

A : This is an achievable goal if you have the time and resources to implement A/B testing and can evaluate the results afterward.

R : This goal is relevant for any online business owner, as site design and navigation play a crucial role in e-commerce profits.

T : This goal should be achieved within six weeks.

5. Launch Business Website

“I will launch my business website by the end of November. I will hire a skilled website developer, SEO content creator, and web designer to achieve this goal. I will clearly communicate my vision and goals to them and keep in touch throughout the development process.”

S : This statement specifies what you need to do to launch your website – not only hire professionals but also communicate with them.

M : A completed, functioning website is your measurement.

A : This is an achievable goal, as it simply requires hiring three employees and communicating with them.

R : This is a relevant goal for a beginning entrepreneur to build a business online or start a web business portfolio.

T : This goal should be met by the end of November.

6. Improve Customer Service and Product Quality

“I will improve my customer service and product quality by collecting customer feedback on my brand’s social media and my website over the next 12 weeks. I will pay attention to negative feedback to define which sides of my business require more work.”

S : This statement specifies how you will improve your customer service and product quality – by collecting customer feedback and addressing negative comments.

M : Customer reviews are your measurement. You can track how customer feedback regarding specific points changes throughout the 12 weeks.

A : This is an achievable goal, requiring only that you analyze feedback on your company’s social media and website.

R : This is a relevant goal for any small business owner. Excellent customer experience and product quality ensure better customer retention and, consequently, higher profits.

T : This goal will be accomplished within the next 12 weeks.

7. Attract More Customers

“Over the next four weeks, I will attract more customers by promoting my posts on social media. After that, I will measure the results based on the follower and order number.”

S : This statement specifies that you will reach new potential customers by promoting your social media posts.

M : The number of new followers and change in the number of orders is your measurement.

A : This goal can be achieved by regularly devoting some time to promoting social media posts.

R : This goal is relevant to any small business owner wishing to reach new audiences and expand their business.

T : This goal will be completed within four weeks.

8. Reduce Business Expenses

“In order to reduce business expenses, I need to stop outsourcing so much. With this in mind, within the next two months, I will have one of the current employees trained in doing payroll and I will hire one part-time employee to take care of cleaning and maintenance. ” “ In this way, I can eliminate the outside payroll services and cleaning companies. I estimate that this alone will save several thousand dollars within the year.”

S: This is very specific. It lists what will be done, how it will be achieved, and the timeframe of the action. 

M: This goal is measurable. You can know if you stopped some services and hired a person, as well as trained another person. For the amount of money saved, you only need to figure out the cost involved in paying the new employee and training the current one and subtracting that amount from the amount you would normally have paid for the other two services during a year.

A : This is an attainable goal that should be easily put into place.

R: This is relevant to cutting expenses. In-house employees often cost less than a specialized service and these are two positions that lend themselves well to in-house employees.

T: This goal is time-bound because you state you will do this within two months.

9. Become More Eco-Friendly

“To start becoming a business that is more aware of our impact on the environment, all paper will now be placed in a bin to be shredded and used as packing material. ” “ This will begin immediately and is just the first step as I research more options to make us more eco-friendly by the end of the year.”

S : While future actions aren't specified here, the act of having a required bin for papers to be shredded and used as packing material is definitely specific.

M: Measuring the impact on the environment isn't measurable, but this goal is in that you have visual evidence of it being done. 

A: This goal is attainable as long as each employee is aware of what needs to be done and cooperates. You might need to find a way to ensure employee cooperation.

R : Recycling paper and reducing the use of such items as Styrofoam or plastic for shipping is a great way to save on adding to environmental distress and help become eco-friendly.

T: Starting immediately is most definitely a time-bound element in regard to this goal.

10. Improve Teamwork among my Employees

“To foster employee teamwork, I will schedule monthly team-building seminars. These will include activities that allow employees to fully get to know each other and realize how success depends upon working together. ” “ Two of the activities will include an escape room and also a weekend camping trip, where each employee will be responsible for one portion of the trip – such as gathering firewood or preparing food.”

S: This is specific. The only way to make it more specific would be to give a precise month that these activities would be starting and an estimated time at least for when the camping trip would take place.

M: The measurement is built in by keeping track of each meeting or event. Keeping track of attendance will help measure the success of the meetings, and see if there is a correlation between the meetings and increased productivity can also be noted.

A: Scheduling these meetings and events is perfectly attainable. With a bit of planning and research, acceptable activities can be put into place.

R: Studies have shown that a spirit of teamwork often creates a better work atmosphere than one of severe competition. Happy employees who care about each other often care more for the company and will give their best.

T: Stating that there will be a meeting or activity every month makes this a time goal, but it could be made more so by stating when these activities will start.

11. Add a New Service or Product

“I need to expand the services I offer customers. Instead of being a simple dog groomer, I will utilize warehouse space that is currently sitting empty to design a pet daycare center for dogs. This will be ready to open in four months and I will work on getting the word out now to help garner interest.”

S: This is very specific. You state what you will do and how you will go about doing it. You also state when you plan on having the goal met.

M: This goal is measurable in that you can make a list of activities that need to be completed in order to convert the warehouse and create an acceptable place for a daycare. Each step you can check off measures a step closer to the completion of the goal.

A: With the proper planning of sub-goals, this main goal is completely attainable.

R : Adding a doggie daycare to your grooming business is definitely relevant to both adding additional services and growing your business.

T: You have given yourself a time-bound goal by stating that it will be completed in four months.

12. Promote a Deeper Community Connection

“I want to start making connections with the community so they think of me in positive terms. To this end, I will host a summer block party in August. It will include live music, free hot dogs and drinks, a free drawing for prizes, and activities for the kids. ”

S: This is a very specific goal. It lists exactly what you will do and what it includes. It also gives a general time period in which you will do this.

M: The goal itself is measurable. You will know if you actually hold the event and you can even get a good estimate of how well attendance turns out. You won't be able to measure its effectiveness in gaining a deeper community connection for a time, however.

A : With hard work and planning, this is an entirely achievable goal.

R: Holding an event like this is relevant to connecting with the community. It is a way to make people feel like you care about them and it gets you noticed.

T: Setting aside time in August makes this a time-bound goal.

smart goals for small business | smart goals for small business examples | examples of smart goals for increasing sales

13. Open Another Branch

“It is time to start giving easier access to customers who may not be familiar with this side of town. One year from now, I will open a second location of my business across town that offers the same products and services with less travel time for customers.”

S: This goal states a specific thing you want to do and even mentions why, which gives you incentive. Adding in when you want to open the branch and the general geographical area makes it even more specific.

M: This is measurable. You will know when you actually open the branch. In addition, the steps needed to accomplish this will be the measurement of how much progress you are making.

A: This is attainable as long as you have the funds available to make it happen.

R: Opening a second location is definitely relevant to expanding your business as it allows you to potentially double your sales.

T: You have made this time-bound by giving yourself a one year deadline. 

14. Increase Website Traffic

“Over the course of the next 12 months, I will improve the amount of website traffic by 25%. I will do this by using content marketing and SEO optimization. I will outsource content creation using a team of writers familiar with SEO to bring in fresh ideas. I will measure this quarterly using website analytics tools to ensure we are on track and trending upward in visits to our website.”

S: This statement shows your intention to increase website traffic by 25% through SEO optimization and content marketing efforts.

M: The progress you make towards the goal will be measured using website analytics tools.

A: The goal can be attained because, in your efforts to succeed at increasing traffic to your website, it is well-known that SEO optimization and content marketing efforts have been proven to increase website traffic to other sites.

R: The goal is relevant because a 25% increase in website traffic is a reasonable target for your timeframe of a year with intentional marketing efforts.

T: The goal you’ve stated is time-bound because it has a specific deadline for the end of a 12-month period.

15. Boost Sales

“Within the next quarter, I will improve sales by 15%. In order to accomplish this, I will offer exclusive promotions to repeat customers, tracking purchases with in-house software applications. I will also implement targeted email and direct mail marketing campaigns.”

S:  To accomplish your goal of boosting sales, you’ve set a specific goal to reach 15% to be accomplished in the next quarter.

M: The progress towards the goal can be measured using past and current sales figures.

A: Your goal is attainable because offering exclusive promotions to repeat customers and implementing targeted email and direct marketing campaigns have been proven to increase sales.

R: The goal you’ve set is relevant to your business because a 15% increase in sales is a realistic and reasonable target for your quarterly timeframe and the efforts you’ve set forth.

T: The goal is time-bound because it has a specific deadline of the next quarter for you to assess your progress.

16. Reduce Overhead Costs

“Over the next six months, I will reduce overhead costs by up to 10%. I will do this by analyzing current and projected expenses for my business. I also plan to negotiate better deals with my current suppliers. For instance, I will look at market values and set prices for goods and services accordingly.”

S:   To reach your goal of reducing overhead costs by 10% in the next six months, you’ve created specific and realistic parameters.

M: The progress you’ll make towards the goal can be measured using your financial statements and your budget reports.

A: The goal can be attained due to analyzing expenses and negotiating better deals with suppliers can reduce overhead costs.

R: The goal is relevant because a 10% reduction in overhead costs is a reasonable target for six months, plus the parameters you’ve set.

T: Your goal is time-bound because it has a specific deadline of the next six months.

17. Release a New Product Line

“I will take steps within the company to launch a new product line by the end of a 12-month period. With the release of this new product line, the company will realize a 20% increase in revenue.”

S:  You’ve set your expectations of launching a new product line specifically by the end of the year. Plus, you’re set to achieve a 20% increase in revenue within the first six months of its release.

M: Your progress towards this goal can be measured using sales figures and revenue reporting.

A: The goal is attainable because launching a new product line and achieving a 20% increase in revenue within six months is achievable if the product is well-received and marketed effectively, which is what you’ve planned to do.

R: The goal is relevant and realistic because a 20% increase in revenue is doable for a successful new product line within the time given.

T: Your goal is time-bound because it has a specific deadline of the end of twelve months of the product launch.

18. Improve Customer Satisfaction Ratings

“I plan to improve customer satisfaction ratings by up to 90% by the end of the next quarter. I will do this by taking action on customer feedback survey information. I will also address common customer complaints in a timely manner using appropriate language and offering appropriate solutions.”

S:  You’ve specified how you’ll improve customer satisfaction ratings to 90% by the end of the following quarter.

M: The progress you’ll make towards your goal will be measured using customer satisfaction surveys.

A: The goal is attainable because you’ll be using customer feedback surveys and addressing common complaints that can quickly improve customer satisfaction.

R: Your goal is realistic because setting a 90% customer satisfaction rate should be achievable with your use of effective customer service and complaint resolution.

T: The goal is definitely time-bound as it has a specific deadline of the end of the next quarter.

19. Increase Our Social Media Following

“By the end of the next quarter, I plan to increase followers for our social media platforms by 20%. I will accomplish this with targeted advertising campaigns. I will also employ the use of user-generated content that will appeal to our target audience.”

S: You’ll use social media content and ad campaigns to specifically increase your following by 20%. You can do this using targeted ad campaigns and user-generated content that you can efficiently hire on a contract basis.

M:  Your efforts will help the company to realize a 20% increase in its social media following.

A: The goal can be attained when you use targeted ad campaigns and user-generated content to reach potential followers on your social media platforms.

R: Your goal will be relevant as long as you ensure your ads and content are effective in reaching potential followers.

T: Your goal is time-bound as you’ve set it for the end of the following quarter.

smart goals for small business | smart goals for small business examples | example of smart goals for increasing sales

20. Improve Employee Retention

“Within one year, I will improve employee retention rates by 80%. I will do this by implementing employee recognition programs. I will also offer professional development opportunities to employees at all levels to not only retain them but to make them feel the company invests in them.”

S:  Your investment in current employees will help them feel appreciated and improve employee retention. Your goal of reaching rates of 80% through implementing employee recognition programs and professional development opportunities is specific.

M:  You will easily be able to measure employee retention rates to make sure you will reach your goal of 80% by using company metrics.

A: Your goal is attainable, provided the employee recognition programs and professional development opportunities are effective in retaining your current employees.

R: It is realistic for you to expect an increase in retention rates with the implementation of such programs.

T: Your goal is time-bound by the end of one year from implementation.

21. Expand Geographic Reach

“I will expand the company’s geographic reach by establishing partnerships with local businesses. I plan to accomplish this by attending industry-specific trade shows. I will concentrate on trade shows in new regions. I will use the company metrics to measure progress for this ongoing process.”

S:  As you expand the company’s geographic reach, you’ll accomplish this by establishing partnerships with local businesses and attending industry-specific trade shows in new regions.

M:  You’ll be able to measure your success using your company’s metrics, which you’ll track as your geographic reach grows with new regions through partnerships and trade shows.

A: Your goal is attainable when the partnerships and attendance at trade shows are effective in expanding the company’s reach.

R: Your goal is relevant as it is realistic for you to expect the company’s geographic reach to expand with the implementation of your strategies.

T: Although your goal is ongoing, your progress can be measured at set intervals while it will continue to be ongoing overall.

Final Thoughts on SMART Goals for Small Business Development

Setting SMART goals for business development is the easiest way to succeed. Reasonably evaluating your ability to achieve them, setting deadlines, and being specific helps you stay motivated and fight the fear of failing. And if you still doubt that setting SMART goals will help you achieve your objectives, consider checking out our detailed article on goal-setting theory.

And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:

  • 6 SMART Goals Examples for Digital Marketing Professionals
  • 7 SMART Goals Examples for Improving Your Networking Skills
  • 7 SMART Goals Examples for Time Management & Productivity

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

smart goals for business | smart goals examples | examples of smart goals for increasing sales

Human Resources | Tip List

10 SMART Goals Examples for Small Businesses (+ Free Template)

Published January 23, 2023

Published Jan 23, 2023

Rebecca Michael

WRITTEN BY: Rebecca Michael

Utilizing the SMART goals methodology will help your company achieve its strategic objectives. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This strategy will focus your team members on the most important objectives for your business, which will help you in achieving them efficiently.

We outlined some SMART goals examples you can use to help you create your own and stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. Practical application is the best way to truly understand how SMART goals are utilized in small business today. These examples show you how you might apply the process for your own business.

1. Create a Marketing Plan for a New Business Within 1 Month

When starting a new business, there are plans within plans to make. Creating the marketing plan for the new company is an important SMART goal.

  • Specific: We need to create a marketing plan that has a specific outline we can follow to ensure we covered the most important information.
  • Measurable: Each week of the month, we will finalize 25% of the plan’s details to ensure completion within one month.
  • Achievable: One month should be plenty of time to do all the market research and company analysis required to create a good marketing plan.
  • Relevant: Without a solid plan for marketing, the company is missing a crucial component to success.
  • Time-bound: The time limit is one month.

Check out our guides to writing a marketing plan and creating an effective blog content strategy for additional information on SMART marketing goals.

2. Pay Off $10,000 in Business Debt Within 30 Months

Setting financial goals is an important step toward gaining control of your business finances. One SMART goal example may be to pay down the company’s debt, thus making more money available for employee pay increases and other projects.

  • Specific: Pay off $10,000.
  • Measurable: We can measure progress by monitoring our cash accounts as we go, and track how we are doing month to month.
  • Achievable: We will achieve this by spending less on growth-goal related items and will work to encourage vendors to pay on time and in full.
  • Relevant: We will highlight development and project opportunities throughout the year that can benefit from increased investment once the debt is paid down.
  • Time-bound: Within 30 months, we will achieve our objective.

Did You Know?

SMART goals actually do work. According to a study by Dominican University , 76% of people that recorded their goals, created actionable steps to do and reported on them weekly to another person achieved their goals. This is 33% better than those who didn’t write down their goals.

3. Set Up a Remote Sales Networking System Within 7 Days

This scenario became painfully real to many companies in the early months of 2020. Setting SMART goals for transitioning to remote operations at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was an important part of maintaining an effective sales culture during a very stressful time. This SMART goal example is rooted in a real-world experience that many people faced.

  • Specific: Every member of our remote sales team should be connected and operational.
  • Measurable: The task is complete when the networking system is operating and our remote workers are able to work.
  • Achievable: Although this goal might be ambitious, we can move this to the top of our priority list and temporarily pull in resources from longer-term projects to complete this necessary goal.
  • Relevant: Remote work is a good setup even when there’s not a pandemic making it necessary. In 2020, remote networking allowed companies to continue operating. In a post-COVID world, remote networking helps employees be productive and companies achieve results.
  • Time-bound: The time limitation for this goal is seven days.

4. Increase New Customer Reviews by 30% Year Over Year

Most companies’ growth these days has to do with the brand awareness your business has in the market. One of your most important goals in brand cultivation is your brand awareness growth throughout the year.

One SMART goal example for this: The number of new customer reviews we get must increase 30% on a year-over-year (YoY) basis.

  • Specific: Increase customer reviews by 30%.
  • Measurable: We measure our progress through monthly reporting, and it shows if we reach our target or not.
  • Achievable: We increased our customer reviews last year by 20%. We believe the 30% target is achievable.
  • Relevant: Based on our research to date, an increase in the number of customer reviews corresponds with increased sales in our top growth channels.
  • Time-bound: This is a YoY comparison.

5. Ensure All Our Overseas Factory Workers Are Paid a Living Wage Within 3 Months

As consumers become more conscious of where their goods come from, the demand for ethically sourced products increases. If you source your products ethically, you can gain customer loyalty and charge a premium while doing it.

The word “ethical” is vague and can mean many things. Different companies have different standards of ethics that they are able and willing to implement. For example, you might insist that the overseas workers who make your product be paid 25% higher than the average wage for that industry, or that your production lines provide well-paying jobs and valuable job training to women escaping domestic violence. You might also make your manufacturing carbon-neutral by planting trees to offset the carbon emissions produced in creating your products. In this SMART goals example, the specific goal is to vet the working conditions of our overseas factories and ensure that all workers are paid a living wage.

  • Specific: We are focused on all our overseas factory workers earning a living wage.
  • Measurable: We will request cost of living data from our overseas partners and then evaluate their compliance with our living wage goal or select new partners on a region-by-region basis.
  • Achievable: Since we already work with overseas factories, vetting suppliers and choosing new partners based on our updated requirements is an achievable goal.
  • Relevant: Many customers base their spending habits on their ethical values. Sourcing our products ethically will help us win loyal customers.
  • Time-bound: The goal is to accomplish this within three months.

6. Grow Worldwide Market Share of Our Top-selling Software at Least 10% by the End of the Year

Growing market share is the goal of most organizations, large or small.

  • Specific: We know the geographic area, the product line, and the level of growth (10%) we’re looking for.
  • Measurable: We will be able to measure our goal by tracking new customers, growth in new markets, and overall growth in current markets.
  • Achievable: We grew, overall, by 8% last year and we feel this increased goal is doable.
  • Relevant: Growth in market share often results in higher revenue and more customers, among other benefits.
  • Time-bound: We will reach our goal by the end of the year.

It’s very important to create and use SMART objectives because they provide a frame of reference for all involved. That way, at the end of the period being measured your team can reassess whether or not it was truly “achievable.”

7. Transition IT Support From Contract to In-house in 6 Months

All companies that use computers have to have IT support. Many companies hire IT support companies to take care of their computer needs. As a company grows, it might become more financially beneficial to create an IT department and handle those needs in-house rather than contracting out to a service, as in this SMART goal example.

  • Specific: This goal requires adding a new department to the organization structure and staffing it.
  • Measurable: This goal is measurable by the existence or non-existence of an IT department. The number of people who will need to be hired is another measurement that will be determined in a sub-goal of this overarching goal because SMART goals can and usually do have additional goals required to make the plan happen.
  • Achievable: This is a reasonable timeline for this goal, and we have the resources and expertise to create this department and hire qualified people.
  • Relevant: An in-house IT department will save us time and money and make our employees more productive by decreasing technology-related downtime.
  • Time-bound: The timeline for this goal is six months.

8. Plan 5 Customer Education Webinars by the Fourth Quarter

A good idea here may be to plan and execute five customer education webinars by the fourth quarter with 15-plus attendees per event and at least 80% highly satisfied or very satisfied responses regarding content.

  • Specific: The goal is to plan five webinars.
  • Measurable: We will assess the number of attendees in each webinar and distribute and analyze attendee survey results.
  • Achievable: The personnel and system resources are available and the need is active.
  • Relevant: These webinars will help generate additional customers and/or our brand will establish expertise in the market.
  • Time-bound: We will have this completed by the fourth quarter of the current year.

9. Increase Sales Cold Calls by 10% This Year

In many businesses, cold calls are key to sales. Whether you’re doing business-to-business or direct-to-customer sales, if your business model requires you to reach out, then increasing your cold calls can be the key to setting higher sales goals , as demonstrated in this SMART goals example.

  • Specific: We want to make 10% more cold calls this year than last year.
  • Measurable: It is easy to compare the number of calls made last year to the number of calls made this year.
  • Achievable: We can add incentives to push our team to make more calls. If we need to hire more people or move some part-time employees to full-time, we can do that.
  • Relevant: If the conversion rate for our calls remains constant, this will increase our overall sales.
  • Time-bound: We have until the end of this year to complete this goal.

10. Increase Website Traffic 25% by December 2023

If your website is successful, you already are aware of your overall conversion rates, both in terms of click-throughs from search engines and social media and in terms of sales generated per click-through. Increasing your website traffic will increase your sales, as long as your sales conversion rate remains relatively constant, in this SMART business goals example.

  • Specific: To increase the number of visitors that come to our site by 25%.
  • Measurable: Increase our annual visitors from 100,000 to 125,000.
  • Achievable: Our inbound marketing team has solid social media and content creation strategies in place. We can hire additional experts as needed to increase our visibility and our website traffic.
  • Relevant:  The more traffic we have, the more money we make and the larger our reach.
  • Time-bound: We want to complete this goal by December 2023.

According to the Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness, studies show that goal-setting teams enjoy 20%-25% improved performance . In addition, employees with goals are happier at work, less stressed, and more productive.

How SMART Goals Work

Here’s how each letter in a SMART goal acronym helps you focus your efforts to achieve desired results:

S = Specific

The “S” in a SMART goal stands for “Specificity.”

We all know that it helps us to remember to write down what we want to do, using action words. For example, instead of saying, “I want more clients,” you might say, “I’m going to sign up four new clients within this next quarter.” Being specific and using action verbs focuses you on what exactly you, or your team, needs to do. The key questions that you are asking you or your team are the following:

  • What’s the objective?
  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Who (what team) is responsible for completing or driving this task or project?
  • What steps will you or your team take to achieve it?

In the following SMART goals examples, notice how the goals provide information about what exactly you need to do, even though you still need to outline further tasks and sub-goals to flesh out your plan.

M = Measurable

The “M” in a SMART goal helps you clarify and quantify your efforts so you can “Measure” them.

In the SMART goals example of signing up new clients, we can add the additional note that your goal is to increase, by four, the number of new clients. Although establishing a target may seem obvious, many fail to add this important component to their goal framework. In short, your measurements determine whether or not you achieve your goal.

A = Achievable

The “A” in SMART goals represents the goal’s “Achievability” factor.

This step reminds us to check to make sure the goal is within reach; is it practical? Experienced leaders will tell you that people are motivated by goals that stretch them, as long as they’re not unrealistic. Let’s assume, for example, four new clients is an achievable goal, but the timeline suggested is not. Ensure that you are both ambitious as well as practical.

R = Relevant

The “R” in SMART goals addresses the “Relevance” of the goal.

If your overall business plan calls for increasing profitability, instead of sales, perhaps new customers aren’t your primary goal. Instead of focusing on new customers you may need to focus on retention of existing customers and their profitability per sale transaction, price increases, or reducing production costs. Make sure the goal you set makes sense for you. In the following SMART goals examples, notice how Relevant often means “how will this benefit me?”

T = Time-bound

The “T” in SMART goals references the “Time” aspect of your goal.

Setting a time frame around your goals is essential; it not only identifies the end or conclusion of your goal’s duration, but motivates the identified endeavor. Working to achieve four new customers is fine, but if you don’t set a time frame it could diminish the objective overall as it could take much longer to achieve four customers than desired.

(ADD: Infographic template for SMART goals. Fill in the blank format, with the following entry fields: “S: What SPECIFICALLY do I want to do?” “M: How is this MEASURED?” “A: Is this ACHIEVABLE?” “R: How is this RELEVANT to my business?” “T: How much TIME do I have?”)

Do's and Don'ts in Setting SMART Goals

Now that you have seen some SMART goals examples, we want to share with you the “do’s and don’ts” of setting SMART goals. This shortlist has examples of what others have done in the past that have impeded their ability to set successful SMART goals and execute on them thoroughly.

As you can see, following a few simple rules and ensuring that your team follows suit will aid you in setting SMART goals that make sense to everyone on the team.

Additional Tips for Setting SMART Goals

There are strategies for getting your team on board with your SMART goals, which will make you more likely to be successful at implementing your goals. Keep these tips in mind while you’re considering your SMART business goals examples.

  • Get your team involved . People are more passionate about goals they help create. Have your team brainstorm ideas, and involve them in the process of narrowing and selecting the goals they want to work on.
  • Make a plan of action . There should be specific goals for each step of the way. This is like making mini-SMART goals to help you reach your overall SMART goal.
  • Write it down . Every team member needs a copy of the plan, with the big goal and the smaller goals. This helps everyone stay on track.
  • Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate . After every project, have everyone evaluate their own performance and the team’s performance as a whole. What was the goal? Did you achieve it? What went well? What went wrong? What could you have done better? What did you learn? What specific actions can you take to improve your performance in the future?
  • Reassess the goals as needed . As you work on a project, you might find that you need to change your plan, or even adjust your broader SMART goal. Take time to make sure the plan you have is still in alignment with your overall goals and vision.
  • Use a performance management system . It can be hard to keep up with all the elements of goal setting and follow-up, especially in a large organization. A performance management system can help you keep track of everything.

Bottom Line

Not having a goal is like hiking without a map or building a boat without a plan. Making your goals SMART ensures that you not only know what you want to achieve, but how you will get there (as well as a way to measure your progress along the way). We encourage you to read more about using SMART goals as part of your performance management process as well.

About the Author

Rebecca Michael

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Rebecca Michael

Rebecca Michael has more than 15 years of experience in publishing and digital media. She previously served as a Head of Content and Editor-in-Chief for a large digital marketing company specializing in content strategies for small businesses. Rebecca has over 20 years of writing experience in online TV, blogs, and news sites. She is the Director of Content for Fit Small Business and The Close , where she’s developed topic teams of excellence that deliver high-quality content to our readers.

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What are SMART goals? Examples and templates

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Vague goals that lack clarity are often left undone, even if they have great potential. Transform fuzzy objectives into attainable goals with the SMART goals framework. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. In this article, we'll dive into why each element of the SMART goals acronym is essential and how to apply them to your own goals.

But hitting an ambitious goal isn’t just about reaching for the stars—you also need a path to get there. That’s where SMART goal setting comes in. With SMART, you can make sure every goal—from project goals all the way to larger company objectives—has everything you need to achieve it. Here’s how.

What are SMART goals?

So, what are SMART goals? Fundamentally, SMART goals are a way of setting objectives that are clear, trackable, and achievable. The SMART goals acronym stands for five crucial qualities your goals should have: 

Measurable 

Achievable 

When you're deliberating the meaning of SMART goals, think of them as a tool to transform lofty resolutions into a concrete roadmap. The SMART goals acronym can help you build a blueprint for success in personal and professional settings alike.

[Inline illustration] SMART goals (Infographic)

How to write SMART goals

Writing SMART goals is all about breaking down your objectives into smaller, more manageable components that are easy to track and achieve. Here's a simple step-by-step guide to make the goal-setting process a breeze.

Keep in mind that you’re setting your SMART goal to attain a specific objective—not a broad one. You don’t just want any initiative to succeed; you want your specific project to succeed. To make sure you can achieve them, make sure your goals are specific to what you’re working on.

For example, instead of creating a goal to raise more money, you might create a goal to raise $20,000 by the end of the year. This is much more specific and gives you a roadmap to work off of. In this case, you can break down how much you need to raise each day to hit your goal and then create an action plan that enables you to hit that number every day.

The “M” in SMART stands for measurable, which helps you evaluate the success or failure of your project. Your goals should have some sort of objective way to measure them—whether that’s a deadline, a number, a percent change, or some other measurable element.

One way to do this is with benchmarks. Benchmarks show you what’s “normal” for specific, recurring scenarios in your company, so you know what to expect. Using standardized benchmarks, you can set more relevant goals that are easier to measure. For example, let’s say you have a benchmark showing that you have three new marketing campaigns each year to help you hit key performance indicators . You can then use that benchmark to set measurable goals to track progress for both the launches and their related KPIs.

You don’t want your goals to be easy to achieve, but you also want to make sure you’re setting goals that you could, conceivably, hit. Achievable says that your goals shouldn't be totally outside the realm of possibility. Ask yourself this question: Is the goal within your project scope ? If not, it’s not Achievable.

For example, let’s say you want to learn to speak Spanish in order to be competitive in your field. If you’ve never spoken a word of Spanish before, you can’t expect to be fluent by next month. That simply isn’t an achievable goal. However, you could set a goal to learn from your foreign language app for 20 minutes every day. By establishing a consistent practice, you can set a more achievable goal.

What about stretch goals—are those achievable?

Stretch goals are goals that are purposefully challenging. For example, if you usually get 30,000 monthly visitors to your website, a stretch goal would be to get 50,000 monthly visitors. That’s a big increase! But this stretch goal is still within the realm of possibility. Make sure you make your stretch goals ambitious, not impossible—like aiming to go from 30,000 monthly visitors to 300,000 monthly visitors, for example.

The “A” and “R” of SMART are closely related. In addition to setting attainable goals, you also want to set Realistic ones. For example, maybe a goal is achievable, but getting there would require every team member to work overtime for six weeks straight. Even though it might be an achievable goal, it’s not a realistic one. Make sure yours is both by creating a clear resource management plan .

Using our attainable goal example of learning to speak Spanish, the goal of setting 20 minutes aside each day to practice Spanish is both realistic and achievable. On the other hand, a goal to practice speaking Spanish for two hours every day is probably not realistic for most working adults, even though it’s technically achievable.

Your SMART goal should have an end date. Without a time limit, your project could drag on, have unclear success metrics , and suffer from scope creep . Deadlines provide a sense of urgency so that short-term tasks don’t drag into long-term goals unnecessarily. If you haven’t already, make sure you outline a clear project timeline .

Deadlines are crucial to implementing goals, since they pretty much force you to take action. If you want to have more focus time at work, you can decide to set a goal to only check your email for 30 minutes every day. But without a deadline, it’s easy to brush it off. Imagine instead if you set a goal to only check your email for 30 minutes every day for one week—now, it starts to feel more attainable.

SMART goals pros and cons

Making sure your important goals have all of the SMART components might be more time-consuming than setting regular goals, but the value you get from SMART goals outweighs the additional time spent on the goal-setting process. Goals shouldn’t be something you set and forget—they’re a key part of your project planning process. When setting SMART goals, here’s what you and your team can expect.

Pros of SMART goals

Clear communication and alignment. When your project team knows exactly what they’re working towards, they’re more motivated and aligned as a team. Team members who know how their individual work contributes to broader company goals are 2X as motivated as their counterparts. Setting and sharing SMART goals can help you boost your entire team’s motivation.

Clarity towards project success. Have you ever gotten to the end of a project and not really known if you hit your project goals or not? SMART goals help you set clear goals, so you can avoid vague or confusing goal language.

Clear roadmap and finish line. With SMART goals, you know exactly what you want to achieve and when you expect to achieve it. You’ve verified that these goals are realistic and achievable. And you know you’ll be able to measure them to see if you hit them or not.

Trackable metrics. When you finish your project, SMART goals help you evaluate its success. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it. In fact, at Asana, we aim to hit about 70% of our goals. That way, we know we’re setting challenging—but possible—goals. Whether you hit your goal or not, SMART goals can help you evaluate your goal, and you can learn from that.

Effective resource allocation. SMART goals make it easier for managers to distribute necessary resources efficiently, whether that's staff, budget, or even time.

Motivation and career development. When goals are achievable and relevant, it boosts team morale. It also creates opportunities for individual career development, as team members may need to acquire a new skill to meet their objectives.

Cons of SMART Goals

Oversimplification. Although the SMART goal framework can be incredibly effective for clarifying objectives, it may also lead to the oversimplification of more intricate, multilayered goals. If your goal is complicated, consider breaking it down into smaller sub-goals before using the SMART framework.

Short-term focus. The emphasis on time-based objectives might discourage more visionary planning, especially around the long-term mission of your business. If this applies to your situation, try creating a vision statement instead. 

Potential to hinder creativity. SMART goals can box you in. Their strict guidelines make you zero in on specific tasks, leaving little room for unexpected, game-changing ideas.

Possibility for a narrow focus. Adopting a SMART objectives approach could lead to tunnel vision, causing team members to lose sight of the organization's broader strategic goals. To avoid this, make sure to connect your SMART goals back to larger organizational objectives —so it’s clear why they matter and how they’re contributing to business success. 

Resource intensive. Smaller teams might feel a bit overwhelmed by the need for measurable outcomes. This is because tracking those metrics often requires investing time and money in specialized analytics tools. 

5 SMART goals examples

Ready to get started? Before you write your own, take a look at these five examples of SMART goals to see how each one aligns with the SMART criteria.

1.  Business goal

Example: Produce at least three different types of large-scale marketing assets (e.g. ebook, webinar, videos, sales one- or two-pagers) per month for Q1.

Why it’s SMART: This business goal is specific (large-scale marketing assets) , measurable (three different types) , achievable and realistic (this depends on how many project team members there are, but we can assume there are enough to cover the three assets per month), and time-bound (per month for Q1) .

2. Team goal

Example: The product team will partner on five cross-functional projects focused on usability testing, customer surveys, customer marketing, or research and development during the first half of FY22.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (projects focused on usability testing, customer surveys, customer marketing, or research and development) , measurable (five cross-functional projects) , achievable (five projects in six months), realistic (the project spans the entire product team), and time-bound (during the first half of FY22) .

3. Professional goal

Example: During 2021, I will develop my management skills through mentorship, with at least two mentees from either our company Employee Resource Groups or my alumni network.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (management skills through mentorship) , measurable (at least two mentees) , achievable and realistic (this person has given themselves two different avenues through which to find mentees), and time-bound (during 2021) .

4. Personal goal

Example: I will train to run the March San Diego half marathon in less than two hours.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (San Diego half marathon) , measurable (in less than two hours) , achievable (two hours is an ambitious but doable pace for most runners with proper training), realistic (this person has established they will train in preparation for the half marathon), and time-bound (March) .

5. Nonprofit goal

Example: We will provide 100 hours of free tutoring for middle school students in math and history during the month of February.

Why it’s SMART: This goal is specific (tutoring for middle school students in math and history) , measurable (100 hours) , achievable and realistic (depending on the amount of volunteers the nonprofit has), and time-bound (during the month of February) .

6 steps to make your goal SMART

When you’re ready to set your own SMART goal, kick things off by jotting down your project objective in a sentence or two. Then fine-tune it with each of the five SMART attributes. 

To make the goal-setting process smoother, you can use this SMART goals template to get some hands-on practice in setting your SMART objectives.

1. Initial goal:   Write down whatever your initial goal is. Don’t worry about it not being completely SMART—we’ll get to that later in the template.

Example: I want to improve our company brand on social media.

2. Make it Specific:   Does your goal define exactly what you want to do? If not, re-work the language to make it specific to your particular project.

Example, continued: Improve our company brand on Instagram with company-specific hashtags.

3. Make it Measurable:   Have you established how you’ll measure your goal once your project is complete? If not, add a way to measure success or failure at the end of your project.

Example, continued: Develop company-specific hashtags to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers.

4. Make it Achievable:   Is your goal something you can achieve, given your project scope? Make sure this specific goal falls within your project capabilities.

Example, continued: Develop and use company-specific hashtags, in conjunction with popular hashtags in our industry, to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers.

5. Make it Realistic:   Can your project team reasonably hit your goal? Even if it’s a stretch goal, make sure this is something you can accomplish with your resources.

Example, continued: Post once daily on Instagram, and ensure every post has a mixture of company-specific hashtags and popular hashtags in our industry in order to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers.

6. Make it Time-bound:   When will you achieve your goal? Make sure you clarify your target date or time frame in your SMART goal.

Example, continued: Post every workday on Instagram for the first half of FY22. Ensure every post has a mixture of company-specific hashtags and popular hashtags in our industry in order to generate 1,000 new Instagram followers by June 30th.

What to do after creating your SMART goals

Do you track your goals in emails, meetings, or spreadsheets? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Asana Goals Report , 53% of businesses track their goals via email, 36% track them in spreadsheets, and 31% track them in in-person meetings.

The challenge with tracking your goals is finding a way to connect your goals with your team’s daily work. You’ve taken all of this time to create a SMART goal—keeping it front of mind can help you make sure you achieve it. At Asana, we believe goals should be closely connected to the work they’re, well, connected to. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Share your SMART goals with project stakeholders and team members

At the start of the project, make sure you surface your SMART goals to everyone involved in the work. Your SMART goals should guide your whole team as you work on project deliverables, so you know exactly whether or not you hit your project objectives.

The best way to do that is with a work management tool like Asana. That way, your team has a central source of truth with all information in the same place—from your daily work all the way to your project’s goals. Instead of hiding your goals in docs, decks, and other hard-to-find places, connect them to your daily work so everyone is motivated, focused, and on the same page.

2. Check in on progress regularly

In addition to sharing your SMART goals with your team at the beginning of your project, make sure you periodically measure the progress you’ve made towards your goal. You don’t want to work on the project and then find, at the very end of the work, that you’ve missed your goals. You’ve worked hard to set specific, measurable goals for a reason—you can use them as your north star, and course correct during your project if necessary.

The best way to regularly check in on your SMART goals is to send weekly project status updates . Status updates are a great way for you to highlight the important work your team did, any upcoming milestones, and whether or not you’re on track.

3. Evaluate your success

SMART goals bring clarity to your goal-setting process—so you can gauge exactly whether or not you hit your project goals. If you did, it’s time to celebrate! And even if you didn’t, having such clear goals—and checking in on your goals regularly—can help you best identify what went wrong and where you can do better next time.

Remember, not hitting your goals doesn’t mean your project was a total failure. You may have purposefully set a stretch goal to challenge yourself or your team. Even if you didn’t set a stretch goal, it’s more important to calmly evaluate why you missed your target rather than pretend it didn’t happen. That way, you can learn from your mistakes and bring those learnings with you the next time you set SMART goals.

Set smarter goals

SMART goals can help your team succeed by bringing clarity into the goal-setting and project management processes. When your team has clarity and is moving in the same direction, they’re more likely to be motivated and to know what work to prioritize.

Visualizing and tracking your goals both makes them easier to measure and achieve. In Asana, you can set, track, and report on your SMART goals all in one space. With the ability to connect with everyone on your team and share with stakeholders, you can coordinate everything you need to achieve your most ambitious goals.

SMART goals FAQ

What does the smart goals acronym stand for.

The SMART goals acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. George T. Doran popularized this framework, which offers a methodical approach to setting goal-specific objectives. By following the SMART acronym, you're more likely to set specific goals that are both effective and achievable.

What are the 5 SMART goals

The 5 SMART goals refer to the five criteria that any SMART objective should meet. These are:

Specific: Clearly defined objectives that spell out what you aim to achieve.

Measurable: Quantifiable goals that allow you to track your progress.

Attainable: Goals that are challenging yet achievable, ensuring you're not setting yourself up for failure.

Relevant: Objectives that align with your broader aims and values.

Time-bound: Goals that come with a deadline promote effective time management.

How do I write a SMART goal?

To write a SMART goal, begin by defining what you specifically want to accomplish. Next, determine how you'll measure success and ensure that your objective is attainable. Make sure the goal is relevant to your broader life or career ambitions. Finally, add a timeframe to create a sense of urgency. A well-crafted SMART goal might look like this: "I want to increase my LinkedIn network by 200 connections within the next three months."

What are the best SMART goals?

The best SMART goals are those that are closely aligned with your own or your organization's broader aims, serving as stepping stones toward your ultimate goal. They should challenge you while still being achievable. These goals should be easily measurable and promote effective time management, allowing you to allocate resources wisely. For example, if career development is a priority, an excellent SMART goal could be "to complete an advanced course in digital marketing within the next six months."

smart objectives for a business plan

Examples of SMART business goals: How to set and reach them

When you can describe a problem, most of the time, you’ve already solved it.

This is more or less the idea behind setting SMART goals for business: it’s a practical rule of how to set goals so that they’re clear to everyone and there’s no way of not understanding where you want to go.

For this, the word SMART was chosen. Because each of its letters corresponds to the initial 5 elements that a SMART goal for businesses should have:

Let’s understand each of these elements and how they help you set growth goals for your company.

In order for you to understand this clearly, let’s start by defining, step by step good examples of SMART goals, so that they have all the elements of the acronym incorporated into your description.

But before, how about taking a look at this SlideShare that gives some more examples of SMART goals for a company and other cases that you can use in your day to day life:

Also see: Use the Ansoff Matrix and Determine Business Growth Strategies

Definition and examples of SMART business objectives

After defining each of the characteristics of SMART goals, we will present some examples to make the concept clearer.

1- Specific

Specific means referring to something unique, and is the opposite of general, broad or vague.

Therefore, a specific goal should detail where you want to arrive, unequivocally.

It goes without saying that your goal is to make a profit, or to sell more, these are general goals, not examples of SMART goals in companies.

Sell ​​what? Where? To whom?

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 1:

An example SMART goal, with respect to the specific feature, could be:

I want to sell more high quality sports products in my 4 stores located in malls to take advantage of the effect of a sports festival that will happen in my city.

Okay, now, yes, that’s specific!

2- Measurable

When we refer to measurable, it’s not only to define a measurement, a number to be achieved, but also that its objective can be ascertained objectively.

For example, if we were to establish the goal to make 75% of the city’s children happy, there would be no way to measure it, this criterion is subjective and impossible to measure.

The correct way would look something like this:

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 2:

Sell ​​35% more high quality sports products, compared to last year, in the 4 stores located in malls to take advantage of the effect of a sports festival that will happen in my city.

3- Attainable

Now we need our SMART company goal to be achievable.

If we were to talk about a 200% increase depending on the circumstances (but most likely) it would be unattainable, making the goal unbelievable, discouraging anyone who had to reach it and turning it into something useless and purposeless.

4- Relevant

There’s nothing more meaningless than setting a goal that won’t give you any practical meaning or that won’t help the company grow.

SMART goals have to be important to the business.

For example, setting a goal to renovate the flooring throughout your network of stores could be necessary, and an important goal for maintenance personnel.

But for your business, this is an operational detail, your goal should always be linked to something that will define the company’s destiny, how to conquer new markets, expand your network of stores, the number of customers, billing etc.

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 3:

Let’s take a new example, more comprehensive for a company and quite relevant:

Increase the market share of our company by 10% by opening 4 new stores in the 3 main malls of the city by the end of the year, taking advantage of the increase in consumption generated by the sports festival that will happen in the city.

5- Temporal

Now we’ve reached the last feature of our SMART goals: a date, a time to reach the goal.

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 4:

In our case, it could be to achieve the 35% increase in sales by the end of the year.

Source: Tools hero

Some examples of SMART goals for a business

Example of smart goals 5:.

E-commerce: increase our base of leads that register on the site by downloading materials by 25% by the end of the year.

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 6:

Clothing store: sell 30% more evening dresses during the month of May, when marriages occur in our region, through allowing 10 installment payments by credit card.

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 7:

Fastfood Network: Open 25 new stores by the end of the year, 10 in our state and 5 in each of the 3 neighboring states.

Some of the most used goals in companies are sales goals, so we selected 3 good examples of SMART goals for companies related to sales:

3 examples of SMART goals to increase sales

Let’s go, 3 examples of measurable sales goals and objectives. For each element of the SMART acronym, let’s put its letter (in parentheses) next to this SMART goal feature:

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 8:

Increase by 20% (M, A, R) by the end of the year (T), the revenue from our e-commerce focused on generating content on special dates (Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc.) in our blog to capture 40% more leads (M, A, S).

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 9:

Bill 10 million (M, A) in the first half (T), with the sale of our newly developed product (R, S), using all marketing materials and actions presented at the convention at the end of last year (S).

EXAMPLE of SMART goals 10:

Conquer 5% more market share (A, S, R) in our main market, the State of XY (S, R), through partnerships with distributors and sales promotions (S). This result must be achieved by the end of the year (T).

The importance of defining examples of SMART goals to increase sales that are specific is to give employees an indication of how they will achieve them, something that will be very important in the goal-setting methodology we are about to follow,  OKR .

Determining goals with the use of OKR

OKR (Objectives & Key Results) is a well-known method of determining business goals used by large companies and became very popular when it was adopted by Google, which obtained excellent results.

OKRs stand for   Objectives and Key Results. The Objectives are where we want to go and the Key Results should indicate how we will know, during the process of the goal, if we are getting there.

OKRs usually refer to a period of 3 months in which Key Results are monitored to see if the company is on track.

In addition, OKRs comply with the following characteristics:

  • Goals are ambitious (contrary to SMART objectives) and must be very difficult to achieve
  • Key Results must be measurable
  • If you reach 70% of OKRs, consider yourself doing OK
  • Each OKR must have a maximum of 3 or 4 Key Results

But before we see real OKR cases and examples of SMART goals to increase sales, watch this SlideShare about OKR:

Success CASE: OKR and good examples of SMART objectives

Someone who can tell us about this methodology, is Pedro Renan, CMO from We Do Logos. This is how he uses OKR in his Creative Competition company:

“Here at We Do Logos we’re always objective and pursuing results through great planning and no resource waste. Therefore, the OKR methodology fits like a glove for us, allowing us to change course quickly, if necessary. “

Renan gave us an example of how OKR could work for a business similar to his. One where Digital Marketing is focused on Content, to attract customers, generate leads, opportunities, and convert sales.

“Let’s say that the CMO of this company defines one of its Objectives as to achieve a Cost per Acquisition (CPA) of $25. To know, during the quarter, if you’re getting there, you could stipulate 3 different Key Results: Number of Hits, Number of Leads Generated and Number of Generated Opportunities. That way, if the Hits objective is reached, but the Leads objective is not, it allows you to figure out, in the middle of the process, where the error is. And the same goes for Opportunities or any of the Key Results “

This is the logic behind OKR: identify through Key Results how things are going and redefine actions to achieve Objectives. Did you like our list of good examples of SMART goals for a company?

But you might ask? How can I measure, track, and establish SMART goals for a company with my company processes? See a tool in the video below that allows you to create management panels from business process automation.

So how was it? Did you like it?

Be sure to create your free HEFLO BPM process modeling account. Click here and see how .

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it’s a nice article!! with the quality of information great job admin

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BUSINESS STRATEGIES

How to write SMART goals plus examples

  • Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg
  • Jul 21, 2020

How to write SMART goals plus examples

Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you work, you’re still falling short of reaching your objectives? Whether it’s running your first marathon or starting a small business, it takes more than good intentions to turn a vision into action. Only when you know exactly what you’re going after, how you’ll get there and why it matters - can you be more efficient about making your goals achievable.

Setting SMART goals can ensure that your goals are clear and reachable ones. After all, by knowing precisely what you need in order to complete each step toward your goal, you’ll increase your chances of staying on task and realistically attaining the desired result.

Whether you’re training to get ready for a big race or creating an eCommerce website for your new business venture, here’s everything you need to know about what SMART goals are, how to write and execute them, plus some of the best practices.

What are the 5 SMART goals?

The SMART acronym stands for “specific,” “measurable,” “attainable,” “relevant,” and “time-bound.” Setting SMART goals can help you develop professional growth . It consists of breaking down big ambitions into a plan of smaller ones.

Each SMART goal should incorporate all five criteria, in order to create clear and tangible objectives (and allowing you to go beyond motivational quotes alone) which you can achieve over a certain period of time. Think of it as a series of vital questions you’ll need to answer before getting started:

What do you specifically want to accomplish?

How are you going to measure your progress?

Is your goal achievable?

Why does this goal matter to you?

How much time do you need to meet your goal?

What are SMART goals

01. What do you specifically want to accomplish?

Be specific about what your goal is. Objectives that are too broad or vague are less motivating, and therefore harder to accomplish in the long run. When framing your goal, try to answer the five “W” questions: Who, what, where, when and why.

Who is involved in your goal?

What do you want to achieve with your goal?

Where will the goal be attained?

When do you want to accomplish your goal?

Why do you want to reach this goal?

02. How are you going to measure your goal?

Your goal must be measurable so that you can determine your progress along the way and know if you’re on the right track. Setting milestones can make your goal trackable and help keep you in check. Each step in your plan will provide an opportunity to evaluate whether you’re moving toward your goal, or need to redirect yourself back on course.

03. Is your goal achievable?

Set goals that you can realistically achieve to keep you motivated and on task. Be as honest as possible with yourself about your ability to actually get them done.

To make your goal attainable, be clear on how you will accomplish it, and if the goal is not currently within reach, what skills or steps are required so that you’ll get there. Think about what you need around yourself to achieve your dreams, such as types of resources.

04. When do you want to achieve your goal?

Ask yourself why achieving your goal matters to you. Is it worthwhile to try it at this exact time or does it align with your current needs? Among other ambitious dreams waiting up the pipeline, you’ve selected this particular goal to take on because it resonates with your needs or desires at this moment. Make sure you understand what sets this one goal apart.

05. How much time do you need to meet your goal?

Every goal needs to be time-bound to provide a sense of urgency, keep you motivated and help you prioritize to meet it. But your timeframe should also be realistic so that you’ll be able to make your deadline, meaning it should neither be too far away nor too close from the moment you’ve set your goal. If your timeframe spans over too long, then your efforts might begin to dwindle down. If it’s not enough time, then you'll most likely become frustrated and want to give up.

What are SMART goal examples?

Goal #1: starting a business.

Let’s say your goal is starting a business . A SMART way of setting this objective would be to sell your jewelry within six months after completing business courses and gaining the knowledge you’ll need to do so.

Specific - Your goal of opening an online store is well-defined by your ability to answer the five “W”s. As a skilled jewelry maker, you want to achieve selling your crafts to customers through opening a business.

Measurable - Your goal of becoming an entrepreneur can be measured by certain milestones you’ve set for yourself, like increased revenue, number of sales or networking for new clients .

Achievable - You're basically already a small business owner with an inventory of jewelry that you sell to your friends and family. By taking business courses, conducting market research and building your own brand and professional website, you'll attain the skills and tools you need to succeed as a business owner.

Relevant - You’re planning on selling your own creations which is your passion and also readily available to you. You’ve also reached a point where you can explore new and exciting opportunities for your career and life.

Time-bound - You’ve set a deadline to achieve your goal of entrepreneurship in six months, the time it takes to acquire the tools you need before starting your business.

A person in an urban setting

Goal #2: Boost web traffic

After successfully launching your online store , you want to boost your online traffic by the end of the year.

Specific - Your goal is to gain more potential customers by increasing traffic to your website.

Measurable - You’re hoping to increase your web traffic by 50%. To measure if the amount of visitors to your site is growing, you can track its progress using any number of website analytic tools .

Achievable - There are many proven methods to drive traffic to your online store. In addition, being able to track and manage your business online means that you can evaluate the successes or failures of your entire operation in-depth, from increased revenue to the number of visitors on your site.

Relevant - An extra boost of traffic could lead to more sales on your site, which is your main objective as a business owner.

Time-bound - You’ve given yourself until the end of the year to try and test different ways to improve your web traffic.

Best practices for setting SMART goals

Individuals and businesses are likely to set themselves up for failure if their goals are too broad or unrealistic. Instead, goals need to be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely - to increase your chances of achieving them and giving you a sense of motivation to succeed.

Use clear language: Don’t use vague language such as “I want to always be a winner.” This can leave a lot of room for interpretation and cause you to lose your focus. The more specific you are, the better you’ll be at planning the steps you’ll need to take to get to your goal and how you’ll meet each one.

Quantify your goals: Add milestones along the way. Once you pass a milestone, it should push you to move forward to the next one, leading you closer to your desired results.

Let time be on your side: Give yourself sufficient time to meet your ambitions. For example, it is impossible for anyone to compete in a marathon without having practiced or completed training months in advance. There’s even a registration deadline to race.

Stay focused: When making a SMART goal for your business, don’t lose sight of what benefits your company. Your goal should be providing extra support, not competing against your own business’ interests.

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SMART Goal Examples

Alyssa Gregory is an entrepreneur, writer, and marketer with 20 years of experience in the business world. She is the founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a community for entrepreneurs, and has authored more than 2,500 articles for The Balance and other popular small business websites.

smart objectives for a business plan

The Balance/Alison Czinkota

SMART goal setting , which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based, is an effective process for setting and achieving your business goals.   Applying the SMART grid to your goals will help you to create more specific, achievable targets for your business, and to measure your progress toward them.

Below are several examples of broad objectives that are reframed as specific, SMART goals. As you review the sample SMART goals, notice how each example outlines several subgoals, or specific actions, that need to take place in order to accomplish the overall goal. SMART criteria can also be applied to each of those smaller goals in the same way as shown here.

Broad Goal Example: I Want to Start a Business

  • Specific : I will sell handmade cards through Etsy.com.
  • Measurable : I will be ready to take my first Etsy order within four weeks, and I will aim to sell a minimum of five cards per week.
  • Attainable : I will get set up on Etsy first. Then I will build an inventory of 30 handmade cards to sell. Finally, I will promote my business and build customer relationships through word of mouth, referrals, and local networking.
  • Relevant : Selling handmade cards will allow me to benefit financially from my favorite hobby.
  • Time-Based : My Etsy store will be up and running within four weeks, and I will have an inventory of 30 cards to sell within six weeks.  

Within a month, I am going to get set up to sell handmade cards on Etsy, which will allow me to benefit financially from my favorite hobby. Within six weeks, I will have an inventory of 30 handmade cards to sell and aim to sell a minimum of five cards per week, building customer relationships through word of mouth, referrals, and local networking.

Broad Goal Example: I Want to Grow My Business

  • Specific : I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business.
  • Measurable : I will measure my progress by how many new clients I bring on while maintaining my current client base.
  • Attainable : I will ask current clients for referrals, launch a social media marketing campaign and network with local businesses.
  • Relevant : Adding additional clients to my business will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.
  • Time-Based : I will have three new clients within two months.

I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within two months by asking for referrals, launching a social media marketing campaign, and networking with local businesses. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue.

Broad Goal Example: I Want to Write a Business Book

  • Specific : I will write a book about social media that is a minimum of 150 pages.
  • Measurable : I will write one chapter per month or three to five pages per week.
  • Attainable : I will work on the manuscript first, and once that is completed, I will begin to search for a publisher or explore self-publishing.
  • Relevant : Writing a book on social media will help me establish myself as an expert.
  • Time-Based : My manuscript will be completed and ready to be published in 10 months.

In order to establish myself as an expert, I will write a 150-page book on social media by writing one chapter per month (or three to five pages per week). The book will be completed in 10 months, and then I will search for a publisher or explore self-publishing.

Broad Goal Example: I Want to Become a Well-Known Expert

  • Specific : I will become a well-known expert on the topic of small-business accounting.
  • Measurable : I will be successful if I am asked to speak publicly on the topic at least once a month, receive interview requests every week, and write one article per month for a top industry publication.
  • Attainable : I will accomplish this by acquiring the services of a PR or publicity firm and launching a publicity campaign.
  • Relevant : Establishing myself as a small business accounting expert will reinforce my 20+ years of experience in the field and allow me to reach more small-business owners who need accounting advice.
  • Time-Based : I want to be considered a small business accounting expert in two years.

I will acquire the services of a PR or publicity firm and launch a publicity campaign that will help establish me as a well-known expert in small business accounting who is asked to speak publicly on the topic at least once a month, receives interview requests every week, and writes one article per month for a top industry publication. This will reinforce my 20-plus years of experience in the field and allow me to reach more small business owners who need accounting advice.

Indeed.com. " SMART Goals: Definition and Examples ." Accessed May 11, 2020.

Corporate Finance Institute. " SMART Goal ." Accessed May 11, 2020.

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Goals and Objectives for Business Plan with Examples

NOV.05, 2023

Goals and Objectives
 for Business Plan with Examples

Every business needs a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and how it plans to get there. A business plan is a document that outlines the goals and objectives of a business, as well as the strategies and actions to achieve them. A well-written business plan from business plan specialists can help a business attract investors, secure funding, and guide its growth.

Understanding Business Objectives

Business objectives are S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R elevant, and T ime-bound (SMART) statements that describe what a business wants to accomplish in a given period. They are derived from the overall vision and mission of the business, and they support its strategic direction.

Business plan objectives can be categorized into different types, depending on their purpose and scope. Some common types of business objectives are:

  • Financial objectives
  • Operational objectives
  • Marketing objectives
  • Social objectives

For example, a sample of business goals and objectives for a business plan for a bakery could be:

  • To increase its annual revenue by 20% in the next year.
  • To reduce its production costs by 10% in the next six months.
  • To launch a new product line of gluten-free cakes in the next quarter.
  • To improve its customer satisfaction rating by 15% in the next month.

The Significance of Business Objectives

Business objectives are important for several reasons. They help to:

  • Clarify and direct the company and stakeholders
  • Align the company’s efforts and resources to a common goal
  • Motivate and inspire employees to perform better
  • Measure and evaluate the company’s progress and performance
  • Communicate the company’s value and advantage to customers and the market

For example, by setting a revenue objective, a bakery can focus on increasing its sales and marketing efforts, monitor its sales data and customer feedback, motivate its staff to deliver quality products and service, communicate its unique selling points and benefits to its customers, and adjust its pricing and product mix according to market demand.

Advantages of Outlining Business Objectives

Outlining business objectives is a crucial step in creating a business plan. It serves as a roadmap for the company’s growth and development. Outlining business objectives has several advantages, such as:

  • Clarifies the company’s vision, direction, scope, and boundaries
  • Break down the company’s goals into smaller tasks and milestones
  • Assigns roles and responsibilities and delegates tasks
  • Establishes standards and criteria for success and performance
  • Anticipates risks and challenges and devises contingency plans

For example, by outlining its business objective for increasing the average revenue per customer in its business plan, a bakery can:

  • Attract investors with its viable business plan for investors
  • Secure funding from banks or others with its realistic financial plan
  • Partner with businesses or organizations that complement or enhance its products or services
  • Choose the best marketing, pricing, product, staff, location, etc. for its target market and customers

Setting Goals and Objectives for a Business Plan

Setting goals and objectives for a business plan is not a one-time task. It requires careful planning, research, analysis, and evaluation. To set effective goals and objectives for a business plan, one should follow some best practices, such as:

OPTION 1: Use the SMART framework. A SMART goal or objective is clear, quantifiable, realistic, aligned with the company’s mission and vision, and has a deadline. SMART stands for:

  • Specific – The goal or objective should be clear, concise, and well-defined.
  • Measurable – The goal or objective should be quantifiable or verifiable.
  • Achievable – The goal or objective should be realistic and attainable.
  • Relevant – The goal or objective should be aligned with the company’s vision, mission, and values.
  • Time-bound – The goal or objective should have a deadline or timeframe.

For example, using the SMART criteria, a bakery can refine its business objective for increasing the average revenue per customer as follows:

  • Specific – Increase revenue with new products and services from $5 to $5.50.
  • Measurable – Track customer revenue monthly with sales reports.
  • Achievable – Research the market, develop new products and services, and train staff to upsell and cross-sell.
  • Relevant – Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability and cash flow, and market competitiveness.
  • Time-bound – Achieve this objective in six months, from January 1st to June 30th.

OPTION 2: Use the OKR framework. OKR stands for O bjectives and K ey R esults. An OKR is a goal-setting technique that links the company’s objectives with measurable outcomes. An objective is a qualitative statement of what the company wants to achieve. A key result is a quantitative metric that shows how the objective will be achieved.

OPTION 3: Use the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities, and T hreats. A SWOT analysis is a strategic tool that helps the company assess the internal and external factors that affect its goals and objectives.

  • Strengths – Internal factors that give the company an advantage over others. 
  • Weaknesses – Internal factors that limit the company’s performance or growth. 
  • Opportunities – External factors that allow the company to improve or expand. 
  • Threats – External factors that pose a risk or challenge to the company.

For example, using these frameworks, a bakery might set the following goals and objectives for its SBA business plan :

Objective – To launch a new product line of gluten-free cakes in the next quarter.

Key Results:

  • Research gluten-free cake market demand and preferences by month-end.
  • Create and test 10 gluten-free cake recipes by next month-end.
  • Make and sell 100 gluten-free cakes weekly online or in-store by quarter-end.

SWOT Analysis:

  • Expertise and experience in baking and cake decorating.
  • Loyal and satisfied customer base.
  • Strong online presence and reputation.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited production capacity and equipment.
  • High production costs and low-profit margins.
  • Lack of knowledge and skills in gluten-free baking.

Opportunities:

  • Growing demand and awareness for gluten-free products.
  • Competitive advantage and differentiation in the market.
  • Potential partnerships and collaborations with health-conscious customers and organizations.
  • Increasing competition from other bakeries and gluten-free brands.
  • Changing customer tastes and preferences.
  • Regulatory and legal issues related to gluten-free labeling and certification.

Examples of Business Goals and Objectives

To illustrate how to write business goals and objectives for a business plan, let’s use a hypothetical example of a bakery business called Sweet Treats. Sweet Treats is a small bakery specializing in custom-made cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other baked goods for various occasions.

Here are some examples of possible startup business goals and objectives for Sweet Treats:

Earning and Preserving Profitability

Profitability is the ability of a company to generate more revenue than expenses. It indicates the financial health and performance of the company. Profitability is essential for a business to sustain its operations, grow its market share, and reward its stakeholders.

Some possible objectives for earning and preserving profitability for Sweet Treats are:

  • To increase the gross profit margin by 5% in the next quarter by reducing the cost of goods sold
  • To achieve a net income of $100,000 in the current fiscal year by increasing sales and reducing overhead costs

Ensuring Consistent Cash Flow

Cash flow is the amount of money that flows in and out of a company. A company needs to have enough cash to cover its operating expenses, pay its debts, invest in its growth, and reward its shareholders.

Some possible objectives for ensuring consistent cash flow for Sweet Treats are:

  • Increase monthly operating cash inflow by 15% by the end of the year by improving the efficiency and productivity of the business processes
  • Increase the cash flow from investing activities by selling or disposing of non-performing or obsolete assets

Creating and Maintaining Efficiency

Efficiency is the ratio of output to input. It measures how well a company uses its resources to produce its products or services. Efficiency can help a business improve its quality, productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Some possible objectives for creating and maintaining efficiency for Sweet Treats are:

  • To reduce the production time by 10% in the next month by implementing lean manufacturing techniques
  • To increase the customer service response rate by 20% in the next week by using chatbots or automated systems

Winning and Keeping Clients

Clients are the people or organizations that buy or use the products or services of a company. They are the source of revenue and growth for a company. Therefore, winning and keeping clients is vital to generating steady revenue, increasing customer loyalty, and enhancing word-of-mouth marketing.

Some possible objectives for winning and keeping clients for Sweet Treats are:

  • To acquire 100 new clients in the next quarter by launching a referral program or a promotional campaign
  • To retain 90% of existing clients in the current year by offering loyalty rewards or satisfaction guarantees

Building a Recognizable Brand

A brand is the name, logo, design, or other features distinguishing a company from its competitors. It represents the identity, reputation, and value proposition of a company. Building a recognizable brand is crucial for attracting and retaining clients and creating a loyal fan base.

Some possible objectives for building a recognizable brand for Sweet Treats are:

  • To increase brand awareness by 50% in the next six months by creating and distributing engaging content on social media platforms
  • To improve brand image by 30% in the next year by participating in social causes or sponsoring events that align with the company’s values

Expanding and Nurturing an Audience with Marketing

An audience is a group of people interested in or following a company’s products or services. They can be potential or existing clients, fans, influencers, or partners. Expanding and nurturing an audience with marketing is essential for increasing a company’s visibility, reach, and engagement.

Some possible objectives for expanding and nurturing an audience with marketing for Sweet Treats are:

  • To grow the email list by 1,000 subscribers in the next month by offering a free ebook or a webinar
  • To nurture leads by sending them relevant and valuable information through email newsletters or blog posts

Strategizing for Expansion

Expansion is the process of increasing a company’s size, scope, or scale. It can involve entering new markets, launching new products or services, opening new locations, or forming new alliances. Strategizing for expansion is important for diversifying revenue streams, reaching new audiences, and gaining competitive advantages.

Some possible objectives for strategizing for expansion for Sweet Treats are:

  • To launch a new product or service line by developing and testing prototypes
  • To open a new branch or franchise by securing funding and hiring staff

Template for Business Objectives

A template for writing business objectives is a format or structure that can be used as a guide or reference for creating your objectives. A template for writing business objectives can help you to ensure that your objectives are SMART, clear, concise, and consistent.

To use this template, fill in the blanks with your information. Here is an example of how you can use this template:

Example of Business Objectives

Our business is a _____________ (type of business) that provides _____________ (products or services) to _____________ (target market). Our vision is to _____________ (vision statement) and our mission is to _____________ (mission statement).

Our long-term business goals and objectives for the next _____________ (time period) are:

S pecific: We want to _____________ (specific goal) by _____________ (specific action).

M easurable: We will measure our progress by _____________ (quantifiable indicator).

A chievable: We have _____________ (resources, capabilities, constraints) that will enable us to achieve this goal.

R elevant: This goal supports our vision and mission by _____________ (benefit or impact).

T ime-bound: We will complete this goal by _____________ (deadline).

Repeat this process for each goal and objective for your business plan.

How to Monitor Your Business Objectives?

After setting goals and objectives for your business plan, you should check them regularly to see if you are achieving them. Monitoring your business objectives can help you to:

  • Track your progress and performance
  • Identify and overcome any challenges
  • Adjust your actions and strategies as needed

Some of the tools and methods that you can use to monitor your business objectives are:

  • Dashboards – Show key data and metrics for your objectives with tools like Google Data Studio, Databox, or DashThis.
  • Reports – Get detailed information and analysis for your objectives with tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or SEMrush.
  • Feedback – Learn from your customers and their needs and expectations with tools like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or Google Forms.

Strategies for Realizing Business Objectives

To achieve your business objectives, you need more than setting and monitoring them. You need strategies and actions that support them. Strategies are the general methods to reach your objectives. Actions are the specific steps to implement your strategies.

Different objectives require different strategies and actions. Some common types are:

  • Marketing strategies
  • Operational strategies
  • Financial strategies
  • Human resource strategies
  • Growth strategies

To implement effective strategies and actions, consider these factors:

  • Alignment – They should match your vision, mission, values, goals, and objectives
  • Feasibility – They should be possible with your capabilities, resources, and constraints
  • Suitability – They should fit the context and needs of your business

How OGSCapital Can Help You Achieve Your Business Objectives?

We at OGSCapital can help you with your business plan and related documents. We have over 15 years of experience writing high-quality business plans for various industries and regions. We have a team of business plan experts who can assist you with market research, financial analysis, strategy formulation, and presentation design. We can customize your business plan to suit your needs and objectives, whether you need funding, launching, expanding, or entering a new market. We can also help you with pitch decks, executive summaries, feasibility studies, and grant proposals. Contact us today for a free quote and start working on your business plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals and objectives in business.

Goals and objectives in a business plan are the desired outcomes that a company works toward. To describe company goals and objectives for a business plan, start with your mission statement and then identify your strategic and operational objectives. To write company objectives, you must brainstorm, organize, prioritize, assign, track, and review them using the SMART framework and KPIs.

What are the examples of goals and objectives in a business plan?

Examples of goals and objectives in a business plan are: Goal: To increase revenue by 10% each year for the next five years. Objective: To launch a new product line and create a marketing campaign to reach new customers.

What are the 4 main objectives of a business?

The 4 main objectives of a business are economic, social, human, and organic. Economic objectives deal with financial performance, social objectives deal with social responsibility, human objectives deal with employee welfare, and organic objectives deal with business growth and development.

What are goals and objectives examples?

Setting goals and objectives for a business plan describes what a business or a team wants to achieve and how they will do it. For example: Goal: To provide excellent customer service. Objective: To increase customer satisfaction scores by 20% by the end of the quarter. 

At OGSCapital, our business planning services offer expert guidance and support to create a realistic and actionable plan that aligns with your vision and mission. Get in touch to discuss further!

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

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5 Tips for Setting SMART Goals in Your Business Plan

Table of contents.

smart objectives for a business plan

Goals and dreams have important differences. Dreams are wishes and fantasies; for example, many of us long to be rich, famous, more successful, happier and healthier. Goals put your dreams on a deadline and require actionable steps toward achievement. 

As with personal goals, you have a greater chance of achieving business goals when you work within a structure that sets you up for success. We’ll explore the SMART goals system and how you can apply this goal-achievement method to your business. 

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. The SMART goals framework is a way to stay on target and achieve your goals more systematically. The process includes the following components:

  • Making your goal specific
  • Quantifying your goal 
  • Ensuring your goal is attainable, reasonable and realistic
  • Hitching your goal to a deadline

Why use SMART goals?

SMART goals allow you to chart a course and stay organized when reaching personal or professional goals. You’re more likely to succeed because you’re less likely to get overwhelmed and abandon your goal entirely. 

In a business setting particularly, SMART goals provide teams with clarity, structure and guidelines. Business goals can involve cost-cutting measures , marketing initiatives, sales increases and much more. 

With SMART goals, you and your team know what success in each endeavor means and how to measure it within a project’s framework. Everyone knows the steps they must take to reach the goals. With ambiguity gone and a direction mapped, SMART goals set up your team for success.  

Goal-setting and tracking tools and apps can help your team get on the same page and accomplish company objectives.

How to incorporate SMART goals into your business plan

We’ll take a closer look at each SMART goal element and offer implementation examples you can apply to your business. 

1. Make goals specific.

A specific goal clearly states what is to be achieved, by whom , where and when it is to be achieved (and sometimes why ).

For example, let’s say you’re a wedding planner. Here’s how a non-SMART goal compares with a SMART goal in specificity: 

  • Example of a non-SMART goal: Market my business in Toronto.
  • Example of a SMART goal: Start a monthly networking group for women on event planning in Toronto. Set a monthly attendance goal of 20 women, with two attendees per month signing up for my “How to plan your wedding without stress” workshop.

Some entrepreneurs may question whether a business plan is even needed. Past research has shown that only one-third of entrepreneurs spend time writing a business plan. However, our b. newsletter team spoke to many entrepreneurs who said the time it takes to write a business plan is well worth it. You can read more about their reasonings why here. For additional advice on starting and growing a business, subscribe to our b. newsletter . It is delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.

2. Make goals measurable.

Measuring your goal means evaluating the end results and the milestones you’ll need to hit on the way. When you measure, you assess if you’re on the right track toward achieving your goal by asking these questions:

For example, let’s say your goal is to reach sales of $96,000 per year. To measure your goal, you could take the following actions:

  • You set a milestone target of $8,000 in sales each month. 
  • You create a process that focuses on achieving $8,000 per month (adding up to $96,000 for the year). 
  • You reason that it’s easier to attain an $8,000-per-month goal because there are many ways to get to this goal and it’s less stressful to think in smaller amounts.

Measuring draws your focus, helping you boost your odds of achieving your goal. One good way to measure is to have a dashboard arranged by month. For example, you could use a chart like this:

3. Make goals attainable.

When you set goals, ensure they’re achievable. If you believe you can reach the goal, it’s more likely you’ll get there. It’s a mistake to set unreachable goals, because you’re setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Additionally, don’t let others set your goals.

Setting attainable goals is also essential for team goal setting and can boost employee engagement . If you set unrealistic goals for your team, your team members won’t fully engage in the project. They need to be fully on board for the project to succeed. Everyone on the team should share in the goal setting so they own the goal and know it’s attainable. 

Consider setting performance goals tied to an incentive so that your team operates with a sense of urgency on a crucial project.

4. Make goals relevant.

Goals tend to fall into two categories: short-term and long-term. It’s essential to understand how both goal types fit your organizational or personal vision, mission and purpose.

It’s tempting to set a goal because it’s easy or sounds great, only to find out later that it has no long-term importance in what you want to achieve as an individual or an organization.

5. Make goals time-based.

Setting a deadline attaches a time frame to your goals. A deadline can be an excellent motivator. For example, let’s say you want to run a marathon in a year. A time-based goal would look something like this:

  • Run twice a week for three months, gradually increasing your distance.
  • Run three times a week for three months, gradually increasing your distance.
  • Be ready for a half-marathon by the six-month mark. 
  • Increase your frequency and distance over the next six months. 
  • Be ready for the marathon in 12 months. 

Time-based goals help you avoid procrastination because your process offers incentives as you meet smaller achievements along the way. 

If you’re interested in tracking employee performance, check out employee performance measuring tools such as Basecamp, DeskTime and Trello.

How to identify and reach your goals

It’s crucial to set a goal that matches your personal or professional vision. After you set the goal, focus on a process that makes your goal achievable. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Identify your goal.

If you are unable to set a SMART goal, it’s usually because you need to clarify exactly what you want to accomplish within a set time period. It’s inadvisable to skip the process of SMART goal setting and just “go for it.” You have a greater chance of success when you analyze your goals and match them to your vision.

To save time, prevent disappointment and avoid costly mistakes, perform the following exercise when implementing SMART goals.

What are your goals? Writing down your goals helps to clarify your thinking. Can you stretch yourself both personally and in your business by setting three goals in each area?

2. Focus on the system.

Once you’ve set a goal, find a way to develop a system to achieve that goal. For example, if you want to write a book in one year and you’re not an author, you may feel overwhelmed. 

Instead, try writing 250 words per day. Don’t agonize over what you are writing – just write. At that rate, if you write five days per week (260 days per year), you will have 65,000 words in a year, or approximately a 250-page paperback.

Business goals work the same way. Set the goal, and then find a system to help you reach that goal. For example, when setting a sales goal, you may want to focus on consistently achieving 10 quotes per month with a 50% success rate. 

Leah Zitter contributed to the writing and research in this article. 

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How to Set SMART Goals for Managers and Leaders: 28 Examples to Develop Your Skills and Guide Your Team to Success

By Kate Eby | July 7, 2023

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Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals help managers and leaders guide their teams to success. These goals typically support a business strategy that aligns with the company’s vision of its future.

In this article, you’ll learn how to set SMART goals for leaders , using a downloadable cheat sheet and 28 example SMART goals for leadership development , performance goals , and more.

What Are SMART Goals for Managers? 

SMART goals for managers are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that guide the actions and performance of a unified team. These goals often drive forward the business and the individuals involved.

Richard Nolan

“Leadership goals are different from individual goals because they focus on fostering a shared vision and direction for a group, as well as developing processes to ensure that this shared purpose is met,” explains Richard Nolan, the Chief People Officer of Epos Now . “Leadership goals should be focused on creating an atmosphere of collaboration and trust among members of the team so that everyone can work together efficiently and effectively.”

Unlike OKRs, SMART goals focus on the path to achieving the goal instead of only the end result. Learn more about the difference between OKRs and SMART goals .

How to Set SMART Goals for Leaders

To set SMART goals for leaders, ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Choose ones that help individuals drive the overall goals of the business.

To learn how to write SMART goals for leaders, follow the steps below:

  • Clarify Your Leadership Vision Consider the overall business and leadership goals you want to achieve. Identify the roadblocks preventing you from achieving them, and create a plan to address those roadblocks and help you incrementally achieve your larger business goals. “It’s important for leaders and managers to remember not only their end goal, but why they want to achieve it,” says Nolan. “Holding yourself accountable for understanding how your leadership will impact the organization as you set out toward achieving those objectives will help ensure success.”
  • Break Down Your Vision Into SMART Goals SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound to make it easy to measure progress and ensure they can be met. “I recommend approaching competency and performance goals with precision planning. Break down your goal into subgoals you need to accomplish each week or month in order to achieve them by a certain deadline,” suggests Nolan.

Lilian Chen

  • Make Adjustments as Necessary If a goal is not as achievable as initially set, consider changing it, altering the timeline, or breaking it down into smaller goals.
  • Celebrate Successes Acknowledge and celebrate with your team when you achieve goals. Not only is it beneficial for morale, it can help motivate everyone to continue working toward larger, future goals.

Leadership SMART Goal Examples

SMART goals for leadership can include expanding the business presence and improving employee development and retention. They also involve aligning smaller team goals to larger company thresholds and making large-scale business processes more efficient.

Here are six examples of SMART goals for leadership:

1. Develop Internal Talent Leadership will implement a talent identification process and establish mentoring relationships for high-potential employees with the goal of increasing internal promotions by 20 percent in the next two years.

  • Specific: The goal is to identify employees with a potential for promotion, mentor them, and increase the number of internal promotions.
  • Measurable: Compare the current number of internal promotions with the total after you implement talent identification and mentorships.
  • Achievable: The goal uses employee reviews to identify talent and encourages veteran employees to take on mentorship responsibilities.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because developing internal talent is more affordable and results in more engaged employees.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to two years.

2. Develop a Growth Mindset By the end of the year, the leader will engage in monthly learning activities, such as reading books on personal development or attending relevant conferences or events. 

  • Specific: The goal is to develop a habit of learning that will contribute to a growth mindset.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by keeping track of the books read and conferences or events attended.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable because many leadership and personal growth books are available for free from the library and the leader can choose to attend local and affordable events.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because leaders who set an example of the pursuit of personal knowledge and growth can demonstrate the benefit of thinking more broadly in both personal and professional situations.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to be achieved by the end of the year and occurs on a regular cadence.

3. Improve Employee Onboarding By the end of the quarter, the leader will improve the employee onboarding process by creating standardized materials and conducting feedback surveys at the end of the onboarding period. 

  • Specific: The goal is to enhance the onboarding process for new employees and their trainers by standardizing the materials used and conducting feedback surveys to both trainers and incoming employees.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by comparing the results of feedback surveys over time.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable with the help of HR personnel and by creating a centralized, accessible repository for new onboarding documents.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because current employees say they wish the onboarding process had been structured more thoughtfully.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of the quarter.

4. Create a Plan to Open an Additional Retail Branch By the end of the year, the leader will have a plan in place to open an additional retail branch, including a detailed project plan for the entire process, buildout plans confirmed, a location under contract, and all required permits.

  • Specific: The goal is to put in all of the preliminary work to open a new retail location.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by checking requirements off a list, including a project plan, a construction buildout plan, a location rental, and required permits.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable because it is within the scope of projects the company has undertaken in the past.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because leadership has identified a new, profitable market that is suitable for the business.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to complete planning by the end of the year.

Learn how writing SMART project objectives can set you up for success. 

5. Reduce Ambiguity of Job Descriptions By the end of the quarter, the leader will perform an audit of all existing job descriptions, requirements, and expectations, and update them to match the current state of those jobs as they exist in the company today.

  • Specific: The goal is to audit existing job descriptions, requirements, and expectations, and edit them to reflect the actual state of those jobs within the company.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable because progress can be tracked on a list of job titles within the company.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting aside time over the next quarter to perform an audit and update the copy.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because many roles have evolved over time and their descriptions and job titles no longer match the current work environment.

6. Decrease the Time Spent in Meetings By the end of the month, the leader will implement a standardized meeting agenda that the team can populate ahead of schedule to improve the efficiency of the time spent in meetings and decrease the team’s total meeting time by 10 percent each week.

  • Specific: The goal is to implement a standardized meeting agenda to use their time together more efficiently and decrease the overall time spent in meetings each week.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by comparing the team’s total time spent in meetings per week before and after implementing the new agenda.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by customizing a meeting agenda template to suit the team’s needs.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because staff report they are spending too much time in meetings, reducing the time available to complete work.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of the month.

Leadership Development SMART Goals Examples

SMART goals for leadership development might include focusing on building relationships, exploring mentorship opportunities, and learning to coach. They can also focus on ways to develop team members for their own leadership roles.

Here are four examples of SMART goals for leadership development below:

1. Be a Better Coach To become a better coach by the end of the year, the leader can set a SMART goal of learning and practicing coaching techniques during monthly conversations with each team member. 

  • Specific: The goal is to be a better coach by learning coaching techniques and applying them in team conversations.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by adding a question related to coaching on employee feedback surveys and gathering those results.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable because many free online resources are available to learn to be a better coach.

Liz Kofman Burns

  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of the year, aligning with the next employee feedback survey.

2. Share Your Own Experience The leader will include a professional anecdote of a lesson they have learned in each quarterly company address to help future leaders identify areas in their lives that may be impactful to their prospects and help them grow.

  • Specific: The goal is to help future leaders identify areas in their experience that might be instrumental to their development by having senior leadership share anecdotes from their own professional lessons learned.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by ensuring that each company address includes a professional lesson learned by an executive level leader.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting aside two to three minutes of each address to include this information.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because it can help promising employees identify areas of growth in their own professional lives and careers.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to each quarterly address.

3. Start an Employee Mentorship Program By the end of the year, leadership will implement an employee mentorship program in which seasoned staff can help more junior members of the team gain experience and grow within their roles.

  • Specific: The goal is to create a mentorship program that benefits both junior and senior members of the team to develop practical and leadership skills in their existing roles.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable due to tracking the number of mentors and mentees that sign up for the new initiative, as well as tracking their career progress over time.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable using a volunteer model or by offering an incentive for employees to participate.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because employees gaining knowledge and experience both in their roles and as mentors is good for morale and engagement.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of the year.

4. Focus on Building Relationships: Leadership will organize quarterly networking and social events to aid in building personal and professional relationships within the organization. 

  • Specific: The goal is to encourage employees to build relationships with one another by participating in networking and social events.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable based on the events occurring each quarter.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting aside time and budget to organize the events.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because employees who have better relationships form more cohesive teams.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is recurring and time-bound to the end of each quarter.

SMART Goal Examples for Developing Leadership Competencies

SMART goals for developing leadership competencies focus on building soft skills that lend themselves to effective leadership. Goal examples can include improving active listening, cultivating an open mindset, building empathy, and learning from your mistakes.

Here are five examples of SMART goals for developing leadership competencies below:

1. Become More Adaptable and Open-Minded The leader will engage in weekly self-reflection exercises to help identify and overcome personal biases with the goal of becoming more adaptable and open-minded in their thinking.

  • Specific: The goal is to become more adaptable and open minded by identifying and overcoming personal biases.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured as the leader completes exercises each week.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable using books and videos to explore different self-reflection exercises.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because a dynamic workplace requires leaders to be capable of flexible thinking.
  • Time-Bound: The goal reoccurs weekly.

2. Improve Active Listening Leadership will improve active listening skills by practicing active listening techniques in at least three conversations per week and by seeking feedback from two colleagues on their progress after two months.

  • Specific: The goal is to improve active listening skills by learning and using proven techniques.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by receiving feedback from colleagues.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by taking the time to seek out and learn these techniques, as well as practicing them in important conversations.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because active listening helps you get the most out of critical conversations, retain more information, and provide more insight on the topic.
  • Time-Bound: The goal will be measured after two months.

3. Build Emotional Intelligence Over the next year, leadership will learn to build their empathy and emotional intelligence by reading four books on empathy and emotional intelligence and by participating in a quarterly leadership book club discussion.

  • Specific: The goal is to learn to build emotional intelligence and empathy by reading highly rated books and participating in discussions with other leaders.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured as leadership reads and discusses each book.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable because reading one book and having one group discussion per quarter is a reasonable expectation of leadership.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because emotional intelligence and empathy can help leadership better relate to employees and customers.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of a year.

4. Give Positive Feedback More Often By the end of the month, leadership will improve the quality and frequency of positive feedback provided to the team by dedicating at least 15 minutes per week to record positive feedback and implement regular recognition and appreciation in a weekly recap email. 

  • Specific: The goal is to give more frequent positive feedback to members of the team.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured each week when the weekly recap email is released.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by spending 15 minutes to identify the things the team did well that week.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because positive feedback helps employees feel valued and acknowledged by leadership.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of the month. 

5. Learn From Your Mistakes Leadership will hold or sit in on lessons learned meetings at the end of major projects to break down mistakes and learn how to help teams avoid them in the future.

  • Specific: The goal is to participate in lessons learned meetings to help identify and avoid risks and mistakes.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured as each meeting is held at the end of a project.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by implementing a company-wide policy of holding a post-mortem meeting after all major projects.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because documenting and breaking down mistakes is one of the best ways to ensure they do not occur on future projects.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of the next major project.

SMART Goal Examples for Improving Leadership Skills

SMART goals for improving leadership skills should focus on gaining industry-relevant knowledge and certifications, seeking feedback, attending industry events, and building a network.

Here are three examples of SMART goals for improving leadership skills:

1. Participate in Industry Events and Build a Professional Network By the end of next year, each leadership team member will attend two industry events or trade shows with the purpose of meeting professionals in the field and building relationships with them.

  • Specific: The goal is to attend industry events and meet people to network with professionally.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by the number of events attended where they sent follow up emails or traded business cards.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable, as many events are held in the city where the business is based.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because having a strong professional network allows you to find help, get answers to professional questions, and connect with mentors in the industry.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to the end of next year.

2. Ask for Feedback Regularly By the end of next quarter, members of leadership will encourage regular, honest feedback from the team by distributing quarterly anonymous feedback surveys. 

  • Specific: The goal is to seek feedback from the team on leadership styles and strategies through anonymous feedback forms.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured when the feedback forms are collected and analyzed.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by creating a standardized, anonymous survey to give to the team or by customizing a template .
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because allowing employees to tell leadership where they can improve helps build trust.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is measured at the end of each quarter.

3. Gain Leadership Certifications By the end of next year, each leader will successfully complete a leadership development course and earn certification.

  • Specific: The goal is to successfully complete a leadership development course and gain certification.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured upon each leader’s successful completion of the course.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable because many courses are available in person or online.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because certification shows the team that leadership is dedicated to improvement and becoming better leaders.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to be completed by the end of the next year.

Examples of SMART Goals for Managers and Team Leaders

SMART goals for managers and team leaders can include improving team cohesion, building employee skill levels and engagement, and boosting leadership skills to facilitate projects and processes, as well as to better serve the team.

Here are five examples of SMART goals for managers and team leaders below:

1. Build a More Dynamic Team Managers and team leaders will model collaboration, innovation, and communication to help guide team members to become more engaged, flexible, and responsive, leading them to improve their metrics over the previous quarter.

  • Specific: The goal is to model dynamic behavior and build a team that is flexible and responsive to changing requirements in a fast-paced environment.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by comparing relevant metrics such as service response time or project completion rates before and after these changes.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable because managers and team leaders are expected to model desired behaviors for the team.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because more dynamic teams can better respond to risks and changes in the working environment.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is recurring and measured at the end of each quarter.

2. Schedule Team-Building Activities Each quarter, the manager or team leader will schedule and run a team-building activity to build relationships and increase team cohesion.

  • Specific: The goal is to plan a team-building activity on a regular basis.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured as each event occurs.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting a budget and scheduling time to plan and complete the activity.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because team-building activities help strengthen relationships and improve team cohesion.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to occur by the end of each quarter.

3. Increase Employee Engagement By the end of the quarter, managers and team leaders will increase employee engagement by introducing a rewards program for top performers and providing development opportunities to struggling team members.

  • Specific: The goal is to increase employee engagement by offering rewards for good performance and development opportunities for employees who need them.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by the number of rewards given and development opportunities taken.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting a budget and choosing metrics that are reachable in each assessment period.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because employees who receive desirable rewards for their work are more likely to keep performing well.

4. Improve Meeting and Presentation Skills Before their next group presentation, managers and team leaders will improve their meeting and presentation skills by learning best practices and practicing presentations at least twice.

  • Specific: The goal is to improve meeting and presentation skills by seeking out tips and advice and by practicing them before presenting to the team.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by adding a line to employee feedback forms to include the quality and engagement of presentations by leadership.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by seeking out best-practice books and videos, and rehearsing presentation materials in front of a colleague or a mirror.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because improved presentation skills lead to more engaging presentations and better audience participation and knowledge retention.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time bound to be complete before the next group presentation.

5. Hold Regular Check-In Meetings By the end of the month, managers and team leaders will set up a regular meeting with each person on their team to check in on their status and review their performance and concerns.

  • Specific: The goal is to set up a regular meeting cadence with each member of the team.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by scheduling recurring meetings with each team member.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting aside time to sit down with each person on the team regularly.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because regular check-ins help both managers and employees stay on the same page about work progress and to identify blockers early.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to begin by the end of the month.

SMART Performance Goals Examples for Managers

SMART performance goals for managers relate to improving retention numbers, boosting service or response times, and completing and holding skills training classes. For example, these goals can help a business maintain standards, as well as meet and exceed sales goals.

Here are five examples of SMART performance goals for managers:

1. Improve the Retention Rate By the end of the year, managers will increase retention on their teams by 10 percent due to encouraging employee growth, promoting from within, and submitting annual cost of living raises for all team members.

  • Specific: The goal is to reduce voluntary resignations by creating an environment where employees want to work.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by comparing resignation rates before and after implementing these policies.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by implementing annual cost of living increases and encouraging the development of internal talent.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because it is more affordable to retain existing employees than to recruit and train new people.
  • Time-Bound: The goal will be measured at the end of each year.

2. Improve Service Response Time Managers will help their teams improve service response time by 15 percent by the end of the year. To achieve this goal, the managers will optimize operational processes and make sure all team members receive regular training and feedback on their performance.

  • Specific: The goal is to increase service response time by 15 percent by the end of the year.
  • Measurable: The goal is measurable by comparing service response times before and after implementing new processes and training.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by putting in place new optimized processes and providing regular feedback and training to the team.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because an increase in service response time will boost customer satisfaction.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is to be measured at the end of the year.

3. Organize Staff Training on New Software By the end of the month, managers will ensure that all staff members have been trained on newly implemented software.

  • Specific: The goal is to train all staff members on new software by the month’s end.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by keeping track of which employees have completed training and those who still need it.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by setting aside time to go over the new program with each employee by the end of the month.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because the new software is integral to business operations and all employees must know how to use it.

4. Maintain Company and Industry Quality Standards Before the next official inspection, managers will implement a policy of regular internal inspections of the facility to ensure that all parts of the business are up to code at all times.

  • Specific: The goal is to ensure that the company can pass an official inspection at all times of the year, not only when they expect the inspector to arrive.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured as each internal inspection is completed.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by creating a document that reflects the standards of the official inspection and reviewing each line item as if the inspector was doing it.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because official inspections are not always scheduled and inspectors can show up at any time.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is time-bound to begin before the next official inspection.

5. Meet and Exceed Sales Goals Each quarter, managers will lead their teams to meet and exceed sales goals by implementing lead identification and prioritization processes to ensure that teams are following up the most promising sales leads.

  • Specific: The goal is to meet and exceed quarterly sales goals.
  • Measurable: The goal is measured by comparing actual sales numbers to sales goals at the end of each quarter.
  • Achievable: The goal is achievable by creating a process to prioritize leads based on their likelihood of purchase.
  • Relevant: The goal is relevant because meeting sales goals means more income for the business.

SMART Goals Examples for Leadership Cheat Sheet

SMART Goals Examples for Leaderships Cheat Sheet

Download a SMART Goals Examples for Leadership Cheat Sheet for  Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF | Google Docs

This cheat sheet consolidates all 28 examples of SMART goals for leaders outlined in this article. You can copy and paste these goals into your own documents directly or customize them to match your personal and professional goal-setting needs. Be sure to consider the needs of your business and your unique leadership position when adapting these goals for yourself.

Why Do Managers Use SMART Goals?

Managers use SMART goals because they help set clear expectations, track progress, and achieve success in a structured manner. They are useful for leaders to communicate goals clearly and can be referenced easily for review and development conversations.

“SMART goal setting has helped me be a better team leader and manager by allowing me to focus on what is important and to prioritize tasks. I can create a clear roadmap to success, and my team can follow it there,” Chen explains. 

In fact, when teams have an experienced manager, they feel that work quality is higher, more efficient, and more collaborative . Many managers find SMART goals to be one of the best ways to develop their own skills and gain the experience needed to better serve their teams.

Why Is Setting SMART Goals Important in Leadership Development?

SMART goals are important for leadership development because they create clear, measurable objectives. They help set the example that leadership should follow when creating goals for their teams and projects.

“Goal setting is incredibly important because it helps define clear intentions with measurable outcomes,” says Nolan. “Setting achievable milestones allows leaders to track progress along every step of their journey. As someone who started out leading small teams with very tight budgets before gradually taking on larger management roles across multiple divisions — doing this has helped me make more educated decisions while allowing me oversee growth more effectively than I ever thought possible.”

Here are some of the many reasons that setting SMART goals can help develop better leaders:

  • Clarifies Goals and Objectives: SMART goals are a positive way to communicate clear goals and objectives, as well as a plan for achieving them. This can help encourage an open and visible style of management, which many teams appreciate.
  • Easy to Track and Determine Success: Developmental goals are only useful if you are able to easily measure their success. SMART goals have success metrics built in, so you can track where you’ve been and where you’d like to end up.
  • Ensure Developmental Alignment With Company Goals: SMART goals make it easy to compare your personal leadership development goals with those of the organization. By clearly stating your goals, you can ensure they are in the best interest of both you and the company.
  • Helps Identify Areas of Weakness or Potential Improvement: Goals can help you identify areas of improvement by highlighting where you or your team is falling short. If you do not achieve your SMART goals the first time, reassess, ensure the goal is still realistic, and then make a new plan to achieve it.
  • Promotes Accountability: Goal setting promotes accountability for the team and for leadership. You are responsible for achieving the goals you set and for helping your team do the same. In fact, people who write down their goals, commit to goal-driven actions, and report regularly on their progress are 70 percent more likely to achieve their goals than those who do not. 
  • Better Promotion Decisions: “Bias creeps in when there are no structured procedures to determine compensation, bonuses, and promotions, which can result in unjust outcomes that run the risk of demoralizing talented employees,” explains Kofman-Burns. “A fair performance management system that incorporates SMART goals can help companies ensure that they are rewarding their top performers.”

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50 SMART Objective examples for businesses

The following list of SMART objective examples are designed to support business advisors, consultants and accountants to build strategic business plans for their clients.

Our SMART objectives follow the SMART model. Therefore, the examples are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound targets.

As you know your client’s goals better than us, we recommend reviewing our Setting SMART Objectives blog to decide which objectives best meet their business needs.

When writing objectives, it’s important to focus on a range of topics, not just financial-based results. Therefore, we have listed a range of SMART objective examples for:

Financial/Performance Objectives Customer Growth Objectives Customer Satisfaction Objectives Productivity Objectives Capacity and Occupancy Objectives Marketing & Communication Objectives Sales Objectives Well-being and Social Responsibility Objectives Employee/HR Objectives

Where to use SMART Objectives

SMART Objectives are not just for strategic business plans. They can be used for marketing campaigns, operational improvement plans, customer engagement, corporate social responsibilities and employee well-being initiatives.

How our SMART objective examples work?

All examples are written for you to input your figures. We have suggested the metric with the following system:

  • $$$ – Input financial Target
  • %% – Input percentage
  • ## – Input number
  • MM/YYYY – Month/year target (01/2022)

Note: all the below SMART objective examples assume a start date for measurement has been established. Need a quick way to establish a start point? See our Business Benchmark Report .

50 SMART Objective examples

Financial/performance objectives.

1. Increase company revenue by %% before MM/YYYY. 2. Reach a company revenue of $$$ by MM/YYYY. 3. Increase company net profits by %% before MM/YYYY. 4. Increase average annual gross profit margins to %% by MM/YYYY. 5. Increase average annual net profit margins to %% by MM/YYYY. 6. Increase business value by %% before MM/YYYY. 7. Reduce potential profit gap by %% before YYYY. 8. Increase owners profit by %% in YYYY. 9. Increase returns to shareholders by %% in YYYY. 10. Improve profits (gross and/or net) per employee by %% in YYYY. 11. Improve stock turn rates by %% in YYYY.

Customer Growth Objectives

12. Increase the number of customers by %% before MM/YYYY. 13. Increase the average financial value of each customer by %% before MM/YYYY. 14. Reduce annual customer/client/subscriber churn rate by %% before MM/YYYY. 15. Increase market share by %% by MM/YYYY. 16. Increase customer retention by %% across YYYY.

Customer Satisfaction Objectives

17. Achieve an average customer review rating of ## during YYYY. 18. Increase average customer review rating by %% from the previous year. 19. Achieve ## customer reviews and feedback by MM/YYYY. 20. Increase the number of customer referrals by %% across YYYY.

Productivity Objectives

21. Improve operational productivity by %% before MM/YYYY. 22. Improve output per employee by %% during YYYY. 23. Reduce annual average job/project delivery timeframes by %% during YYYY. 24. Improve asset turnover rate by %% across YYYY.

Capacity and Occupancy Objectives

25. Improve occupancy rates by %% across YYYY. 26. Increase capacity used rate by %% across YYYY. 27. Improve premises utilisation/ROI by %% in YYYY.

Marketing & Communication Objectives

28. Increase the number of genuine leads from Target Market Segments by %% in YYYY. 29. Increase the opt-in prospects database by ## potential clients by MM/YYYY. 30. Improve click-through rates of prospect marketing by %% before MM/YYYY. 31. Increase ROI for online marketing campaigns to $$:$$ by MM/YYYY. 32. Increase new website visitors by %% over YYYY. 33. Improve SEO ranking of the company website to ## by MM/YYYY. 34. Generate $$$ in sales from new/specific product range by MM/YYYY. 35. Increase social media followers to ## by MM/YYYY. 36. Increase positive online engagement by %% across YYYY.

Sales Objectives

37. Increase prospects conversion rates by %% prior to MM/YYYY. 38. Reduce sale conversion time-frame by %% before MM/YYYY. 39. Reduce acquisition cost per new sale by %% before MM/YYYY. 40. Increase cross-sell rate by %% during YYYY. 41. Increase up-sell % to %% during YYYY.

Well-being and Social Responsibility Objectives

42. Reduce owner hours by %% whilst maintaining the same net profit by MM/YYYY. 43. Reduce employee hours by %% whilst maintaining the same net profit by MM/YYYY. 44. Achieve a score of XX in employee workplace wellbeing survey during YYYY. 45. Improve employee mental health scores by %% in YYYY. 46. Increase employee volunteer hours by %% in YYYY. 47. Reduce carbon footprint by %% in YYYY.

Employee/HR Objectives

48. Reduce time frames for finding new employees for the business by ## in YYYY. 49. Improve employee retention rates by %% in YYYY. 50. Increase employee workplace satisfaction by %% in YYYY.

For more information about setting objectives, read our guide on Setting SMART Objectives .

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    EXAMPLE of SMART goals 1: An example SMART goal, with respect to the specific feature, could be: I want to sell more high quality sports products in my 4 stores located in malls to take advantage of the effect of a sports festival that will happen in my city. Okay, now, yes, that's specific! 2- Measurable

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    5 Elements of a SMART Business Goal By Darrell Zahorsky Updated on November 30, 2022 Reviewed by David Kindness In This Article Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-Based Photo: Image by Katie Kerpel © The Balance 2019 Every successful business has clearly set and articulated goals to attain specific objectives.

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    SMART — which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound — goals set the parameters for actions you and your staff take to improve personal performance and your small business's overall progress. SMART business goals break down broad objectives into well-defined, attainable milestones to ensure success.

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  13. SMART Business Goal Examples

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    An objective should be specific and measurable, and identify any time, budget, and quality constraints. Objectives can be used in project planning for business, government, nonprofit organizations, and even for personal use (for example, in resumes to describe the exact position a job-seeker wants).

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    A business plan is a document that outlines the goals and objectives of a business, as well as the strategies and actions to achieve them. A well-written business plan from can help a business attract investors, secure funding, and guide its growth. ime-bound (SMART) statements that describe what a business wants to accomplish in a given period.

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  17. SMART Goal

    A SMART goal is used to help guide goal setting. SMART is an acronym that stands for S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R ealistic, and T imely. Therefore, a SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal. SMART goals are: S pecific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous.

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