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meaning of smart in business plan

  • What are SMART goals? Examples and temp ...

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."

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More Like this

What are smart goals, smart goals introduction:.

SMART goals are short-term, strategic actions that support your organization’s long-term vision of success and strategy. The acronym SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Responsible, and Time-Bound – helps your organization build actionable goals to help it reach its long-term destination.

Setting goals for your organization and what you want your company’s future state to look like is essential to the strategy puzzle. While there are many principles and schools of thought on what you should aim for when creating your goals, we like to keep our goals SMART. We don’t just mean smart as in witty – but SMART goals stretch your organization to realize more of its full potential.

Pro Tip: In Strategic Planning , SMART goals aren’t just an acronym or adjective, they’re a guiding principle. Creating great goals is where your plan meets the road and making them SMART creates action.

SMART Goals Examples

The SMART goal acronym explained:

SMART is a framework for goals and actions to make every goal detailed and specific so you can clearly understand what you’re setting out to achieve, how it’s measured, who is responsible, and when it’s due. SMART stands for:

  • Specific – What are you specifically trying to achieve?
  • Measurable – How will you measure success?
  • Actionable – Does this goal inspire and communicate action?
  • Realistic – Who is accountable for achieving this goal?
  • Time-Bound – When is this goal due to be completed?

Check out this video from Erica Olsen where she outlines what SMART goals are and how to write SMART goals that support your organization’s long-term objectives:

What

Where do SMART goals fit into your strategic plan?

As you think about where SMART goals fit into your strategic plan, these rules specifically apply to your organizational annual goals [or objectives] . And as you cascade down through your plan, the SMART goal rules still apply .

Quarterly goals or actions still need to adhere to SMART goal rules – meaning they still need to be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. These actions just happen to be quarterly in nature.

Pro Tip: Are you using an OKR framework ? Well, SMART still applies! Objectives and Key Results need to possess the same attributes of SMART goals.

Do you really need SMART goals?

Goals capture your aspirations and build out what it’s going to take to reach your vision of success. They create focus in daily work and require your team to center their focus on what matters most to your organization. They need to be embedded into your team’s every day.

As a bonus, when your SMART goals are short-term, you can go back and reassess regularly and either add new goals or adjust pre-existing ones. So, what makes up a SMART goal, and how should you approach each phase? Make sure to check out the SMART Goals Examples post for inspiration

Deep-dive into the SMART goal acronym

The SMART goal acronym is a helpful tool to create memorable and actionable goals.

Each letter of the acronym holds equal importance as the next, and helps you create well-rounded goals that express what you’re seeking to achieve, why you need to achieve it, and when it will be achieved by.

Pro Tip: Each phase of the SMART goal designates a word that is just as important as the others in the acronym. You can’t spell ‘smart’ without an ‘S’ or an ‘A’, just like your goals can’t be SMART without being specific or attainable.

What are SMART Goals

S – Specific

Every one of your goals needs to clearly express what you’re trying to achieve . The clearer your goals are and the whys are for each one, the easier it is to keep track of them. Specificity allows you to revisit your goals and pick up right where you left off. Additionally, it allows you to explain and justify the why of each goal to your stakeholders.

Pro Tip: You’ve met the criteria for specific when you can revisit a goal after a week [or month] and still clearly understand what you’re setting out to achieve.

When setting specific goals, be sure to ask these questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish with this goal?
  • Why is this goal important to our overall objectives?
  • What resources do we have already/need to be successful?
  • How will we accomplish this?

What are SMART Goals

M – Measurable

The next piece of the SMART goal puzzle is determining how you’ll measure your goal. To accurately assess if your goal is being met, it needs to be quantifiable in some way.

Quantitative measures are objective measures that can be counted, measured, or expressed using numbers or statistics. Examples of quantitative measures include sales figures, revenue, profit margins, and the number of customers served.

Qualitative measures, on the other hand, are subjective and descriptive measures that cannot be easily expressed using numbers or statistics. Examples of qualitative measures include customer satisfaction, brand reputation, or to measure project completion. Qualitative measures are typically used to assess the more abstract or intangibles of performance and are obtained through surveys, interviews, or other forms of subjective feedback.

When setting measurable goals, ask these questions:

  • What is the best way to measure this goal?
  • How will we track this goal?
  • What is a realistic number/ percentage to set for this goal?
  • What is the consistent, reliable data source?

What are SMART Goals

A – Actionable

The standard acronym for SMART goals says that the goal should be attainable. And that’s true, but we like to instead use actionable .

Actionable goals ALWAYS start with a verb to inspire motion forward. There’s nothing worse than setting up a bunch of goals that don’t inspire any action. That’s why we always encourage teams to create goals with verbs.

When setting attainable goals, ask these questions:

  • Does this communicate movement forward?
  • Does the goal start with a verb?
  • Will this goal help my team put our plan into meaningful action?

What are SMART Goals

R – Realistic

Ensuring that your goals are attainable probably feels like a no-brainer. There’s no point in setting a goal if it’s not a goal you can achieve or reach.

Attainable goals can be determined in several ways. Make sure your goals are set in a realistic time frame with reasonable measures of success. Also, consider your access to resources and make sure you have the right tools in place to set your goals up for success.

  • How can I or my team accomplish this goal with the set parameters?
  • Do I have the resources (time, manpower, finances) already in place to begin working towards this goal? If not, what do we need?
  • Am I ready to begin working towards this goal now?

What are SMART Goals

T – Time Bound

The final phase of setting your SMART goals is ensuring that they are time-bound or time specific. Consider how long it will take to reach each goal and set markers and midway points. To ensure that you are achieving these goals within the timeline you’ve set, consider setting midway checkpoints as well.

  • What do we want to accomplish in 3 months? 6 months? In 1 year?
  • How do we know that this timeline is realistic?
  • What are our midway benchmarks for these goals?

What are SMART Goals

Bonus: Add a Why to ensure your goals are purposeful.

To make your goals feel more inspiring, we always recommend adding a short “why” statement to each goal. Don’t go overboard but add a short statement about the goal’s impact. It helps motivate your team.

When adding a “why” statement, consider these questions:

  • Why does achieving this goal matter?
  • What impact will it have?
  • How does it create our future?

Final Thoughts:

Now that you’ve read this basic overview on what SMART goals are and how to apply these principles to your own goals, read our other articles on setting SMART goals and more!

What are SMART goals?

The SMART goal framework consists of a set of criteria that ensures that your goals are strategic and effective: every goal is Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Make sure your SMART goals are also assigned to a specific person!

Why do SMART goals need to be purposeful?

SMART goals are more inspiring so motivate your team to know why the goal is important and what the purpose for achieving it is. Without the ‘why’ there’s nothing to bring your team on board to your vision and long-term objectives.

Can OKRs also follow the SMART goal framework?

YES! SMART goals are not just an acronym or adjective, they are a guiding principle. And OKR objectives can and should be developed with the SMART goal criteria in mind.

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meaning of smart in business plan

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5 Elements of a SMART Business Goal

Darrell Zahorsky is an expert in search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. He has worked for companies and clients such as Blackberry, ADP, and Subway.

Image by Katie Kerpel © The Balance 2019

Every successful business has clearly set and articulated goals to attain specific objectives. Yet, in the world of small business, many businesses lack a focused goal. “Get more business” is a typical reply of small business owners when asked of future plans. Any self-respecting CEO would be tossed out of a shareholder meeting for uttering a vague response.

Whether you have a 50-employee company or an empire of one, your business success depends on your ability to set and achieve goals. Put your business on the fast-track by applying the principles of SMART goal setting .

SMART is an acronym for the 5 elements of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results.

Great goals are well-defined and focused. “Obtain two new billion dollar corporate clients in the Boston property insurance market” is more meaningful to mobilize your team than “Get more business.” Ryan Blair, The Goals Guy eloquently states, "Focus creates a powerful force: goal power . The moment you focus on a goal, your goal becomes a magnet, pulling you and your resources toward it. The more focused your energies, the more power you generate."  

A goal without a measurable outcome is like a sports competition without a scoreboard or scorekeeper. Numbers are an essential part of business. Put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you’re on track. A goal white board posted in your office can help as a daily reminder to keep yourself and your employee focused on the targeted results you want to attain.

Far too often, small businesses can set goals beyond reach. No one has ever built a billion dollar business overnight. Venture capitalists and angel investors discard countless business plans of companies with outlandish goals. Dream big and aim for the stars but keep one foot firmly based in reality. Check with your industry association to get a handle on realistic growth in your industry to set SMART goals.

Achievable business goals are based on the current conditions and realities of the business climate. You may desire to have your best year in business or increase revenue by 50%, but if a recession is looming and three new competitors opened in your market, then your goals aren’t relevant to the realities of the market.

Business goals and objectives just don’t get done when there's no time frame tied to the goal-setting process. Whether your business goal is to increase revenue by 20% or find 5 new clients, choose a time-frame to accomplish your goal.

Once your business goals are SMART , break down each goal into a specific set of tasks and activities to accomplish your goals. It’s important to periodically review your goals and make adjustments if necessary. Goal setting for your small business is an essential tool for success. Remember in the end to be SMART.

University of California. " SMART Goals: A How to Guide, " Page 3. Accessed April 28, 2020.

Gary Ryan Power. " Goals: The 10 Rules for Achieving Success, " Page 85. Sourcebooks, Inc., 2013.

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Dr. Mahreen Khan

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meaning of smart in business plan

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 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.

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.

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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How to Set SMART Goals In Business: What They Are, Examples, and How To Use Them

  • Written by Rob Biedron
  • 17 min read

How to Set SMART Goals In Business_ What They Are, Examples, and How To Use Them

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • SMART goal setting is crucial for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to grow.
  • SMART goals guide you through exactly what you want to accomplish and when.
  • SMART goals improve your overall business – with clearer pictures of what needs to be done and how.

The SMART goal framework has been used since the early 1980s to guide the development of measurable goals. Smart stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, and Time-bound. Each letter can stand for many variations, but these are the most commonly used.

This acronym is a great way to ensure that your organization’s goals are well thought out and will lead to successful results.

What Are SMART Goals

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable/attainable, relevant/realistic, and time-bound. They are often used in businesses as a way to measure progress and success.

But why? Well, these types of goals tend to be more successful than those that are not specific or measurable. And, who doesn’t want their business to be successful?

Breaking Down The Components

Let’s break down each component so that you have a better understanding of what goes into a SMART goal.

A specific goal is clear and easy to understand. This goal should identify what needs to be accomplished and when. For example, “Increase our market share by 5% by the end of Q3 2020” is a specific goal.

On the other hand, “Improve our marketing efforts” is not a specific goal. It lacks the details necessary to understand what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.

A measurable goal is one where you can track progress and determine whether or not it has been achieved. For example, “Generate 100 new leads per week” is a measurable goal because you can track how many leads are generated every week and determine whether or not the goal has been met.

On the other hand, “Increase social media presence” is not a measurable goal because it is difficult to track progress and determine whether or not the goal has been achieved.

An achievable or attainable goal can be realistically accomplished given the resources available.

For example, “Achieve $10 million in annual revenue” is an achievable goal if your company currently generates $8 million in annual revenue.

However, it would not be an achievable goal if your company only generates $1 million in annual revenue because dramatically increasing your revenue to that level would require too much growth in such a short time frame.

A realistic or relevant goal aligns with your company’s mission, values, and long-term goals. It should also be something that can be accomplished given the resources available.

For example, “Launch a new product line by Q3 2020” is realistic and relevant if your company operates in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry and you have the resources necessary to develop and launch a new product line.

However, it would not be realistic or relevant if your company operates in the Services industry because launching a new product line would require a completely different set of skills and resources.

A time-bound goal has a deadline associated with it. For example, “Reduce customer churn by 2% by December 31, 2022” is time-bound because it specifies when the goal should be accomplished. Goals that are not time-bound tend to lack urgency, leading to procrastination.

Smart Goal Setting

Some companies are moving to another model of SMARTER goals, which adds: Evaluate and Re-Do to the equation. This optional step isn’t necessary for every goal but can be helpful for some industries.

As you move toward your goal completion, you may find that you have to evaluate things. Circumstances change, especially with economic uncertainty and other external factors at play.

If in the middle of a project, one of your top employees gets sick and has to go out on leave for six weeks, you’ll have to evaluate things to determine what to change and how to make it work.

It’s also possible that as you evaluate things, a goal you set a month ago may not be as relevant as it was when you set it. That means going back to adjust it so that it continues to make sense for your organization.

Why Use SMART Goals?

Business owners who use SMART goals can accomplish more because they have something specific and measurable. This leads to increased productivity and results.

Measurable goals make it easier to track progress and keep your team motivated. As you progress, you can evaluate and make changes where necessary to keep your projects on track.

When you hit targets, that dopamine rush keeps you moving toward the next milestone.

You can use smart goals to complete projects and improve individual or team performance.

How to Write a SMART Goal

First, identify what you want to achieve. Once you know what that is, you can start setting your sights on making it happen by writing a SMART goal statement when you work on goal setting.

With smart business goals you:

  • Specify what you want to accomplish
  • Measure progress along the way
  • Make sure the goal is achievable and realistic
  • Tailor the goal to your company’s needs and culture
  • Set a deadline for completion to create a sense of urgency

Here’s an example of a non-SMART goal: “I want to increase sales.”

And here’s an example of the same goal written as SMART goal: “I want to increase sales by 10% in the next quarter.”

The second goal is much more specific than the first one. It’s also:

  • Measurable (you’ll be able to track whether or not you’ve increased sales by 10%),
  • Attainable (increasing sales by 10% is realistic),
  • Relevant (increasing sales aligns with your company’s objective of making money),
  • Time-bound (you’ve given yourself a deadline of one quarter)

Once you’ve written your SMART goal statement, create an action plan for achieving it.

This plan should include specific tasks that need to be completed and deadlines for completing them. Think of it as a roadmap to guide your initiatives.

By breaking your goal down into smaller pieces, you’ll make it much easier to achieve it—and you’ll be able to track your progress along the way.

Don’t forget to celebrate once you’ve achieved your goal! Achieving any sort of significant business milestone is cause for celebration—so make sure to give yourself (and your team) a pat on the back once you’ve hit your target.

SMART goals add clarity that make it easier to plan and act.

Ways Your Business Can Use Smart Goals

You can use smart goals in every facet of your business plan. Here are some examples of SMART goals in everyday business settings.

Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Let’s say you want to grow your LinkedIn following by 1,000 followers by the end of the year.

You’ll use metrics like page views, click-throughs, and engagement rates to tell you if your content and messaging are working.

You can even set social media goals for each network. These goals should be determined by your entire organization and should be consistent with the SMART framework.

You can enlist your marketing team’s help to devise a plan to accomplish this goal.

Ideas include:

  • Running LinkedIn ads that ask people to follow your page
  • Including your Facebook Page updates on your website with an embeddable widget
  • Adding social media buttons to your website and email signature
  • Planning content and posting on a consistent schedule.

The sales team can take over the new leads and increase your company’s revenue, which can help you reach other goals.

Search Engine Optimization

We want to increase the number of website visitors from organic search results by 100% over the next 12 months.

In the current competitive market, it’s not enough to attract traffic to your site. You must analyze your sales funnel and conversion rate to see which parts of the website are more effective.

You should also identify where leads are dropping off and measure conversion rates across different channels.

SEO is an ever-changing discipline, and no one answer works for every site. Some site owners focus on the technical aspects of SEO to earn a good ranking on Google, while others focus on generating more business through the site.

The plan of action here may look like this:

  • Analyzing the most important keywords for the company and seeing where those pages currently rank.
  • Adjusting on-page content to boost rankings on pages that need a little help.
  • Starting a link-building campaign to boost traffic on the pages that aren’t performing as well as others.
  • Conducting more keyword research to find low-hanging fruit – the relevant keywords that aren’t difficult to rank for.

Generate New Customer Leads

Every business could benefit from more customers, right? A SMART goal here may look something like this:

In the next 30 days, we want to increase our qualified leads by 10%.

Notice here how we specified qualified leads. It makes the goal even more specific. It’s easy to bring in generalized leads – but those are less likely to convert to paying customers.

By focusing your efforts on qualified leads, you automatically increase your chance of a conversion.

Your action plan could include:

  • Offering a special discount for people who book a demo/purchase a product within 24 hours of subscribing to your email list
  • Offer a lead magnet to grow your email list
  • Run social media ads to attract new customers
  • Start an affiliate or customer referral program
  • Look to other businesses to partner with to share customers

Bring New Team Members on Board

Whether hiring your first employees or wanting to expand your team, having the right people in your company can make all the difference.

Setting SMART recruitment goals can attract the top talent you need to bring your business to the next level.

We want to add three new employees to our marketing team within six months.

Your plan of action could look like this:

  • Meeting with your current employees to determine where they could use the most help. Do they need a copywriter on staff to help with creative copy? Do they need a graphics designer on hand to design marketing materials?
  • Writing comprehensive job descriptions for each position you’re looking to fill.
  • Sharing the job listing on various career websites like Indeed and Career Builder.
  • Hiring a recruiter to handle finding people that fit the positions for you
  • Conducting interviews with prospective candidates – including asking for samples of work.
  • Putting together your offer packages for the chosen candidates

Cut Procurement Costs

Businesses need to spend money to make money, but spending frivolously could spell disaster. Cutting costs isn’t always about saving money but stretching the budget and making smarter decisions.

We want to decrease our procurement expenses across the entire company by 10% over the next 12 months.

You can take this goal and break it down into smaller goals for each department, paying special attention to the areas where most of the spending comes from.

Your action plan may look like this:

  • Evaluate all current spending to pinpoint the most expensive items.
  • Speak with your most valuable suppliers to negotiate better deals on those items
  • Conduct supplier performance evaluations to ensure all the suppliers are maintaining their contractual obligations
  • Start looking for alternative suppliers who can provide better pricing
  • Leverage volume or early payment discounts

Start Setting Smart Goals Today

Setting SMART goals for your business is essential for measuring progress and determining whether or not you are achieving success.

These goals are specific, measurable, achievable/attainable, relevant/realistic, and time-bound. Remember this acronym next time you sit down to set some business goals.

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SMART Goals

How to make your goals achievable.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

Key Takeaways

  • SMART goals are S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R elevant, and T ime-bound.
  • They allow you to write goals that are clear, attainable and meaningful.
  • Having clarity in your goal-setting provides the motivation and focus you need to be successful.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.– Bill Copeland

Do you ever feel like you're working hard but not getting anywhere? Maybe you see little improvement in your skills or achievements when you reflect on the last five or 10 years. Or perhaps you struggle to see how you'll fulfill your ambitions during the next few years.

Many people spend their lives drifting from one job to another, or rushing around trying to get more done while actually accomplishing very little. Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.

In this article, we'll explore what SMART goals are, and we'll look at how you can use them to achieve your objectives.

Learn how to set SMART goals with our video and transcript .

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • S pecific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • M easurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • A chievable (agreed, attainable).
  • R elevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • T ime bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Its criteria are commonly attributed to Peter Drucker's Management by Objectives concept. The first-known use of the term was in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. Later, Professor Robert S. Rubin (Saint Louis University) wrote about SMART in an article for The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He stated that SMART has come to mean different things to different people, as shown above.

Professor Rubin also noted that the definition of the SMART acronym may need updating to reflect the importance of efficacy and feedback. However, some authors have expanded it to include extra focus areas; SMARTER, for example, includes E valuated and R eviewed.

What Are the SMART Criteria?

SMART Criteria

How to Write a SMART Goal

Paul J. Meyer, businessman, author and founder of Success Motivation International , describes the characteristics of SMART goals in his 2003 book, " Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond ." We'll expand on his definitions to explore how to create, develop and achieve your goals:

1. Specific

Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise you won't be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve it. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

Imagine that you are currently a marketing executive, and you'd like to become head of marketing. A specific goal could be, "I want to gain the skills and experience necessary to become head of marketing within my organization, so that I can build my career and lead a successful team."

2. Measurable

It's important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal.

A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

You might measure your goal of acquiring the skills to become head of marketing by determining that you will have completed the necessary training courses and gained the relevant experience within five years' time.

3. Achievable

Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it.

An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?

You might need to ask yourself whether developing the skills required to become head of marketing is realistic, based on your existing experience and qualifications. For example, do you have the time to complete the required training effectively? Are the necessary resources available to you? Can you afford to do it?

Beware of setting goals that someone else has power over. For example, "Get that promotion!" depends on who else applies, and on the recruiter's decision. But "Get the experience and training that I need to be considered for that promotion" is entirely down to you.

4. Relevant

This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it's important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you're still responsible for achieving your own goal.

A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?
  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?
  • Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?

You might want to gain the skills to become head of marketing within your organization, but is it the right time to undertake the required training, or work toward additional qualifications? Are you sure that you're the right person for the head of marketing role? Have you considered your partner's goals? For example, if you want to start a family, would completing training in your free time make this more difficult?

5. Time-bound

Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

Gaining the skills to become head of marketing may require additional training or experience, as we mentioned earlier. How long will it take you to acquire these skills? Do you need further training, so that you're eligible for certain exams or qualifications? It's important to give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieving your final objective.

Used with Permission from The Meyer Resource Group,® Inc.

The Pros and Cons of SMART Goals

SMART is an effective tool that provides the clarity, focus and motivation you need to achieve your goals. It can also improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date. SMART goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training.

Various interpretations of SMART have meant that it can lose its effectiveness or be misunderstood. Some people believe that SMART doesn't work well for long-term goals because it lacks flexibility, while others suggest that it might stifle creativity. For more information on the potential weaknesses of SMART, see our article, Locke's Goal-Setting Theory .

Frequently Asked Questions About SMART Goals

What does smart stand for.

SMART stands for S pecific,  M easurable,  A chievable,  R elevant, and  T ime-bound.

What about SMARTER goals?

In this expanded acronym, the E stands for Evaluated, and the R for Reviewed.

Who invented SMART goals?

The SMART goals concept is commonly attributed to Peter Drucker, author of Management by Objectives . The first-known use of the term was in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.

What’s an example of a SMART goal?

Let’s say you’re a marketing executive, and you think you'd like to become head of marketing. This is a specific goal. You might measure your goal of gaining the skills to become head of marketing by deciding it will take five years. Ask yourself whether gaining these skills is achievable , based on your existing experience and qualifications. Are you at the right point in your career? Is it relevant to what you want? Give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieving your final objective.

How do I write a SMART goal plan?

  • Start by asking exactly what you need to accomplish. This will make your goal specific.
  • Quantify your goals. Measurable goals are easier to track, so build in milestones.
  • Your goal should be achievable. Is this something you can do with the resources at your disposal?
  • Think why you’re setting this goal. How will it improve your life or career? This is what makes it relevant.
  • Know exactly when you’ll have reached your goal. Have a firm schedule, and stick to it.

For other goal-setting resources, see our articles, Golden Rules of Goal-Setting , Using Well-Formed Outcomes in Goal Setting , Personal Goal Setting , and Treasure Mapping .

  • SMART is a well-established tool that you can use to plan and achieve your goals.
  • While there are a number of interpretations of the acronym's meaning, the most common one is that goals should be S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R elevant, and T ime-bound.
  • When you use SMART, you can create clear, attainable and meaningful goals, and develop the motivation, action plan, and support needed to achieve them.

Rubin, R. (2002). Will the Real SMART Goals Please Stand Up? [online]. Available here . [Accessed January 27, 2016.]

Meyer, Paul J. (2003). " Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond ." Waco, TX: Meyer Resource Group.

Haughey, D. (2014). A Brief History of SMART Goals [online]. Available here . [Accessed January 27, 2016.]

Smart Goals Guide, (2014). Why Goal Setting Is Important [online]. Available here . [Accessed January 27, 2016.]

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SMART Goal Setting

What is smart goal setting.

The SMART framework provides the framework for setting clear, attainable goals in project management. The acronym stands for S pecific, M easurable, A ttainable, R elevant, and T ime-bound.

SMART Goal Setting Definition Graphic

A SMART goal incorporates all of these elements to bring greater clarity, focus, and motivation, which help increase the odds of successfully achieving the desired results.

What is the History of SMART Goal Setting?

The SMART goal-setting approach, commonly attributed to Peter Drucker, a prolific author, and management consultant whose writing helped shape modern business, first appeared in a November 1981 issue of Management Review . Since then, SMART has evolved to facilitate broader interpretations than the original intent. The acronym has even expanded to SMART ER for some to accommodate two additional criteria: E valuated and R eviewed.

Read Feature-less Roadmaps: Unlock Your Product's Strategic Potential➜

How is it Useful for Product Management?

Identifying and establishing goals is an ever-present and significant part of a product manager’s existence . SMART goal setting can help PMs and product teams create realistic, attainable goals and stick to a plan.

Cait Porte , the co-founder of Boston Women in Product and force behind Product Manager in Heels, writes:

“For product managers, setting goals for your products and roadmaps on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis will help you with your accomplishments and provide the visibility into your work that senior managers are looking for. …Whatever the goal, make sure that it follows the outline of SMART goals, and I guarantee it will be more achievable than if you hadn’t.”

Once a PM has a roadmap, SMART goals can help bring clarity, focus, and motivation to actionable tasks. By defining objectives and setting deadlines, PMs are more likely to achieve success.

How to Create a SMART Goal

Here are the steps to using this framework to create, develop, and achieve a clear, meaningful goal.

1. Specific : Define a clear, specific goal.

2. Measurable : Make sure your goal is measurable to track progress, which helps you stay focused and meet deadlines.

3. Attainable: Create a realistic goal. It shouldn’t be limiting but should be attainable.

4. Relevant : Ensure your goal matters to you and aligns with your other goals and the needs of the organization.

5. Time-bound : Assign a target date so that your SMART goal doesn’t get lost in day-to-day demands.

Related terms: Roadmap , Product Strategy , Project Roadmap , Design Thinking , Sprint Goal , Product Vision , Backlog .

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5 Tips for Setting SMART Goals in Your Business Plan

Give your business goals clarity, structure and guidelines.

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Table of Contents

Goals and dreams have crucial differences. Dreams are wishes and fantasies; for example, many of us long to be rich, famous, more successful, happier and healthier. In contrast, 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

An example of a SMART goal is to add 600 Instagram followers within 90 days.

How to incorporate SMART goals into your business plan

Here’s a look at each SMART goal element, along with implementation examples you can apply to your business. 

1. Make goals specific.

A specific goal clearly states what will be achieved, by whom, where and when (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: 

  • Non-SMART goal: Market my business in Toronto.
  • 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.

2. Make goals measurable.

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

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

  • Set a milestone target of $8,000 in sales each month. 
  • Create a process that focuses on achieving $8,000 per month (adding up to $96,000 for the year). 
  • Check your sales totals monthly to evaluate if you’re reaching your goal. 

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.

Ensure that your goals are achievable. If you believe you can reach the goal, you’ll be more likely to do so. Setting unreachable goals is a mistake because you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

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. 

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 is of no long-term importance to 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:

Set up a system to get yourself marathon-ready in a year.

  • 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. 

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. Here are a few reasons to use SMART goals in business:

  • Setting specific goals provides accountability. Accountability helps ensure goals are achieved. For example, if your goal involves reducing customer complaints by a specific amount, your customer service manager should be the point person for the initiative and have some accountability for the goal’s success.
  • Measurable goals help you refine strategies. When your goals are measurable, you can gauge your success — or how close you came to it. Tracking metrics and key performance indicators allows you to compare the efficacy of various strategies and use only the most successful ones in the future.
  • Achievable goals boost morale. When you set achievable goals, employee morale is raised and your team is less likely to experience employee burnout and frustration. Employees are set up for success, helping you build an empowered employee culture .
  • Relevant goals propel company growth. Goals are useless if they don’t contribute to overall business success. Find goals that help move the organization forward. Relevant goals can include meeting financial metrics, like increased profitability, and more general goals, like reducing business expenses , limiting waste and increasing recycling.
  • Time-based goals provide accountability and urgency. Goals with deadlines are extremely motivating. A timetable brings a goal to life. Achieving time-based goals allows you to set new goals after your initial goals are met.

With SMART goals, you and your team know what success entails and can measure it within a project’s framework. Everyone knows the steps they must take to achieve their goals. With ambiguity gone and a direction mapped, SMART goals set up your team for success.  

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 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 you implement SMART goals.

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

2. Determine what is reasonable. 

Because SMART goals are attainable and time-based, you must ensure you set a reasonable goal. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 30 percent in a year but you have been successful in increasing sales by only 10 percent a year in the past, consider extending the period to two years or reducing the amount to 15 percent for one year. That way, you’re improving on previous years without being overly ambitious.

Also, examine the resources at your disposal. In the previous example, a 30 percent increase in one year might be attainable if you just received a cash infusion that you can put toward marketing expenses. Or, maybe you’ve recently made an acquisition or added to your sales team , making a once-ambitious goal more reasonable.

3. Focus on essential metrics. 

When you’re ensuring that your goals are relevant, specific and measurable, carefully determine which metrics to use. For example, you may want a better digital marketing return on investment (ROI) from your social media marketing . In this case, follower counts and engagement levels (likes, shares, comments) are appropriate metrics. If you have a relatively small number of followers, you may want to focus on follower counts. But if you have many followers who don’t contribute to sales, you should focus on engagement metrics.

It’s not enough to mindlessly pursue your goal; you must keep the overall business benefit in mind. In the previous example, if you wanted to grow your followers on social media, you could buy followers and seemingly accomplish that goal. However, this would not help you boost your social media marketing ROI, because most of those people would not engage with your company or become paying customers.

4. Identify and implement tactics to meet your goal.

Once you’ve set a goal, develop a system to achieve it. 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 it. For example, when setting a sales goal, you may want to focus on consistently achieving 10 quotes per month with a 50 percent success rate.

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SMART Business Goals: Definition, Examples, Benefits, and Drawbacks

meaning of smart in business plan

In a way, business success is just the realization of every goal that you set over time. With every goal that is accomplished, you are taking steps toward what you ultimately want to achieve as an entrepreneur or business owner. However, there are many ways to accomplish those goals. Some ways are better than others. One of the better ways is by setting SMART goals. We’ll take a look at what SMART goals are, their advantages and disadvantages, and some examples in this article.

What are SMART Business Goals?

 SMART  business goals   stand out as a framework that ensures goals are effective and achievable. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each element of the SMART framework plays a crucial role in goal setting, making it a widely adopted strategy in various industries.

The “s’ in the smart acronym stands for Specific. This means that your goals should be clear so you know exactly what needs to be accomplished. This can eliminate any vagueness. The clearer the goal the more likely you will be to focus on it and the strategy needed to accomplish it. For a goal to be specific, it should answer the key questions: What needs to be accomplished? Who is involved? Where will it take place?

Your goals need to be able to be tracked and measured. This means that your  goals should be quantitative  so you can measure if you are on track or not. Think of it as the numbers for your goal. For example, a measurable goal could be increasing sales by 20% within the next quarter.

You should set  realistic goals  if you want to accomplish them. Your goals should be something you and your team feel are achievable. If they are not, you could get discouraged or lose motivation if you miss milestones.

Goals should also be relevant to your business’s mission and values. You don’t want to set goals that you can hit but really don’t contribute much to the growth of your business. For example, if you have a business that sells to other businesses (b2b), you may not benefit from having a goal of reaching 10,000 followers on Instagram.

SMART goals should have a deadline. Think of them as an expiration date. Without knowing the cutoff point, it will be hard to know if you are succeeding or failing. By having an end date or time for your business goals you can motivate you to take more action to reach your goal.

Benefits of Using SMART Goals

One of the reasons why it seems SMART goals are a go-to method for goal setting is because there are a lot of benefits to setting your goals this way. First off, because your goals are specific, it gives you clarity and allows you to focus more intently. When goals are specific, you become less likely to get distracted by other things that seem important but are not in line with your goals.

Also, since you are able to track your goals, you may maintain motivation in the process. If you’ve created a measurable goal, you will be able to monitor exactly where you are en route to your destination. That can help avoid the feeling of not knowing how much more ground you have to make to hit your targets.

Another benefit is that, since your goals are realistic, you are not setting yourself up for failure. It is important to set  goals that stretch you . However, setting goals that are too lofty makes it harder to bounce back if you don’t reach them. But, when you use SMART to set realistic goals, you are getting a boost of confidence by logging some wins for you and your team. 

The sense of urgency SMART goals create helps in prioritizing tasks and managing time. When there is a clear deadline, there tends to be less procrastination and more focus. Not only that, because your goals are relevant to what the business is trying to accomplish, you feel a sense of purpose when pursuing those goals.

Drawbacks of Using SMART Goals

While the SMART goal method is a great way to go, it’s not a magic bullet. There are some drawbacks to setting your goals this way. If you’re serious about reaching your goals, understanding these limitations is crucial.

One of the first problems that can arise is due to the time-bound aspect. When there is a deadline, the focus could switch too much on short-term gains. If you’re not careful, the goal accomplishment process can seem more transactional. It can also be tempting to take shortcuts to reach the goal. 

Another issue that can come up is the way the method is highly structured. If the method is followed too closely, you may limit your flexibility and creativity. This is because you may have blinders on while focusing on your goals that you miss opportunities or stay in a well-defined lane.

One last downside of this is the opportunity cost of setting your goals too low. While it is important to not set goals that are too high, setting goals that are attainable, but too easy won’t help your business long-term. For example, you can set a goal of a 10% revenue increase because you know you can get there without much issue. However, you and your team may be capable of making that increase 30%. Since you set the goals too low to attain them, you may have missed out on 20% more revenue.

Examples of SMART Goals

Now let’s take a look at a few examples of SMART goals for business. These will give you some insight into what a SMART goal should look like and why it makes sense to set goals this way.

Example 1: Increasing Sales Revenue by 15% over the next quarter

This goal is Specific as it clearly shows what the company wants to achieve- a 15% increase in sales revenue. It is Measurable through the quantifiable target of 15%. It’s achievable as long as the company has the resources to pull it off. The goal is relevant because the revenue would directly contribute to the company’s growth and profitability. Finally, it is Time-bound with a clear deadline of one quarter.

Example 2: All team members to complete the course and pass the certification exam within six months.

This is an example of  goals set for employees .  The goal is specific because it states what the goal is for everyone to complete a course and pass an exam. This is something that can be easily tracked so it is measurable. If the certification goal is something that will help the business and is typically attainable in less than a year, then the goal also is achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Example 3: Reduce operational costs by 10% over the next 12 months.

One last example that shows the same format. Operational costs are certainly relevant to any business’s goals. A 10% reduction is also something that is attainable for most businesses. Depending on the type of business, doing that within a year is time-bound and is most likely very realistic.

At the end of the day, your most important   business goals should grow  your business in some way. Using the SMART method, you create a potential to narrow down which goals will do that. Also, the method will give you a better opportunity to reach those goals.

Understanding Cascading Goals and How to Set Them

6 Types of Business Goals You Should Understand

How To Set Business Goals

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Ralph is the Managing Editor at StartUp Mindset. The StartUp Mindset team consists of dedicated individuals and is designed to help new, seasoned, and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed.

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Why are SMART Goals Necessary In Business?

If you're in business, it goes without saying that you want to be a success. But what is the definition of success ? To decide that, you need to set yourself goals. But not just any goals. You need SMART goals.

Why should you use SMART goals?

It's not enough to declare that you want to increase your turnover or open two new branches. That's vague thinking. The truth is, the best goals in business are SMART goals.Clearly, SMART is an acronym. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

SMART goals are strategically designed to give any business project structure and support and to set out more clearly what you want to achieve – and by when.With SMART goals, you get to track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing your progress keeps you focused, helps you hit your deadlines, and creates a sense of excitement when you get nearer to hitting your targets. SMART goal-setting can also stop you feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of a project.Let's look more closely at each of those five elements.

What are SMART goals?

Firstly, let's clear up where the term began. SMART goals were born in 1981, when George T. Doran, a consultant for the Washington Water Power Company, published an article in the November issue of Management Review. "There's a SMART Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives" introduces SMART goals as a way of setting out criteria that improve the odds of achieving a goal.

What do you truly want to accomplish? Specifically. You might have written mission statements before. Well, this is the mission statement for your goal. To help formulate some answers here, think about your goal in terms of the six Ws:

  • Who will you involve to help achieve the goal? A question that is especially important if you're getting a team involved.
  • When do you want to complete the objective? More about this under ‘T', but it's prudent to have a broad timeframe.
  • What are you trying to achieve? Be precise and detailed.
  • What obstacles stand in your path? Identifying potential hazards can help you determine if your goal is feasible. As an example, if you aim to open a copywriting business, but you've never written copy before, maybe adjust your goal to "Learn how to write copy so I can start a copywriting business."
  • Where will this happen? Not always applicable to everyone but if you specifically need things to happen in Edinburgh or New York, say so here.
  • Why are you doing this? What's the purpose of the goal? If you're self-employed, the answer will probably be to drive the business forward. But try to make this a more-specific objective. For example, ‘to take 22 percent market share off Competitor X'.

How will you measure progress against your goal? Making goals measurable ensures that they're more tangible and attainable. It gives you a way of evaluating progress. Will the project take a few weeks or more? Consider setting a few milestones along the way by thinking about what micro-tasks you or your team can complete at various points.

How important is the goal to you? How can you make it happen? Do you need to develop new skills or embrace new technology? It's key not to get discouraged. Goals are designed to motivate you, to get you out of bed each day determined to move one step closer.

So what do you need to do to achieve the goal? Can you get there within your current skill set? Think about what needs to change to get you there.

Relevance means focusing on your wider business goals. You might be launching a new product. So your goals should be in tune with the business' overall objectives. Your team might have a product that's ideal for the Chinese market, but if Far-East expansion isn't on the company's agenda, it's not a worthwhile goal.

You could say, "I'm going to increase productivity by 23 percent," which would be nice and specific. However, as a goal, it's useless without setting a specific timeframe in which you want things to happen. You'll put events off, you'll let things drift, and it won't seem to matter because you hadn't nailed anything down to a set timeframe.

Coming up with a realistic deliverable date is vital. You'll have to ask yourself precise questions about the timeframe you set and whether it's genuinely feasible. Work backwards and see if your various staging posts will work. Then add in a little wriggle room in case of unforeseen circumstances.If you decide your goal will take nine months to achieve, determine what you should have achieved by three months, or at the halfway point, or after six months. With time constraints in place, you'll have a sense of urgency.

How do you write SMART goals?

You should start by asking you and your team a bunch of questions, thereby defining your strategy. Hopefully, you'll end up with something that's attainable. Try to be realistic, but not too conservative. Writing SMART goals is a positive move – giving you something to strive for.

Don't be put off by this exercise. If you do it right, it should shed a lot of light on your business. Here, we've created two scenarios where you might write SMART goals. One's for a project, and the other is for boosting performance .

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SMART goals for completing a project

Remember what SMART stands for. Let's address each of those letters in the formula in turn.

  • Specific : The company is highly reliant on Google Ads to drive traffic to the website. However, this is an area where we're underperforming. Keyword choice has been ineffective, and adverts have low click-through rates, with some being disabled by Google for poor performance. We need to improve the Google Ads performance by the end of Q3. We'll need to involve the digital-marketing department, our Google representative and our digital agency.
  • Measurable : By the end of Q3, we want to improve CTR (click-through rate) on our Google Ads account from an overall 1.25 percent to 4 percent. We also need to improve conversions by 15 percent by creating specific landing pages with a clear call to action.
  • Achievable : Everyone who's involved has committed the necessary hours to make this possible. Now we have to manage the project and create clear milestones that make sure everyone stays focused and on target.
  • Relevant : Getting a higher return on investment in Google Ads and driving more inbound marketing is a crucial target for the business this year.
  • Time-Bound : To improve the CTR to 4 percent by the end of Q3, an action plan will need to be in place by the end of Q2. We propose fortnightly meetings with all parties to drive these plans effectively. We'll also need to continue these meetings after the end of Q3 to review how we're doing against our target and make necessary adjustments.

SMART Goals for improving individual performance

  • Specific : My latest performance review indicated that my presentation skills could be better. Since this is becoming an important aspect of my job – I have to present training courses as well as project updates to my team – it's vital that I improve in this area. I'd like to be 50 percent better at making presentations, as judged by my immediate supervisor, by the time of my next appraisal in October.
  • Measurable : By my next appraisal, I'd like to be 50 percent more confident addressing an audience, as measured by my supervisor. I'd also like to be able to put together a multimedia PowerPoint presentation in under two hours. I also want to be confident in creating PowerPoint templates for my colleagues.
  • Achievable : Improving my presentation skills will involve setting aside time to attend short courses, watching courses on YouTube and taking advice from my supervisor and colleagues. I will need to allow two hours a week for this process.
  • Relevant : Presenting to an audience right now takes up around one hour a week. However, as I progress in my career, it's imperative to become more proficient as I'll need to do much more presenting – perhaps up to five hours a week, or sometimes a full day if delivering a training course.
  • Time-Bound : By the end of October, I should be confident enough to be 50 percent more proficient in presenting to an audience, as judged by my supervisor, and able to create PowerPoint presentations quickly. We'll set progress-review dates at one-month intervals from now.

Having written your goals in the SMART format, you should then be able to combine them into one overarching SMART goal.

SMART Goal: Completing a project

  • Description : Improving the firm's performance on Google Ads is a key target this year. We'll need to raise our overall click-through rate to 4 percent by the end of Q3 and improve conversions by 15 percent by creating bespoke landing pages with a clear call to action. We'll involve the digital-marketing department, our Google representative and our digital agency.
  • Milestone : Put an action plan in place by the end of Q2 through fortnightly meetings.
  • Deadline : End of Q3.

SMART Goal: Improving my performance

  • Description : To advance my career, I have to improve my presentation skills by 50 percent and be able to put together a multimedia PowerPoint presentation in under two hours. By taking courses and advice from colleagues and my supervisor, this should be achievable.
  • Milestone : Progress reviews once a month.
  • Deadline : By my next appraisal in October.

When SMART goals become SMARTER goals

In business, goalposts can move. And so must goals. That's when you might have to create a SMARTER Goal . What does the E and R stand represent? Evaluate and Re-Do.

The theory is that you might need to evaluate your goals and reset them as circumstances dictate. Things change fast in business, so perhaps that goal you set a few months back is no longer relevant or needs to be tweaked.

One thing's for sure – whether it's SMART goals or SMARTER goals you put in place, you'll discover that being clear about precisely what you want to achieve and when you want to accomplish it by can be the difference between success and failure.

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SMART Goals and Objectives: Definition, Characteristics, and Examples

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Setting SMART objectives and goals is an important step toward success in both personal and professional life. However, merely stating goals or purpose is insufficient; it must be SMART goal. SMART objectives and goals assist you in developing objectives that are clear, specified, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

In this article, we’ll define SMART objectives and goals, describe their qualities, and present examples to help you understand how to use them.

Content Index

What are SMART goals and objectives?

What does s.m.a.r.t. stand for, why should you clearly define smart goals and objectives, management by objectives (mbo).

  • Principles in setting up SMART Goals and Objectives
  • What is the Difference between Smart Goals and Objectives?
  • Importance of SMART Goals and Objectives
  • Advantages and disadvantage of SMART goals and objectives
  • SMART Objectives and Goals Examples

SMART goals and objectives are a method for establishing Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound aims. The SMART framework defines goals and objectives clearly and practically, making them more actionable and increasing the likelihood of success. SMART is an acronym that stands for SMART goal and is used to help in goal setting. 

In this modern, technology-driven world, one of the most widely used words is “SMART.”

This word is utilized in many industries due to its efficiency and objectivity. The SMART technique is also a practical tool that can save relevant professionals in competitive industries like marketing, sales, advertising, market research, etc. 

Smartphones, smart TVs, and other everyday items have this word prefixed to their names. We now realize that term refers to something intelligent due to its operation and technological progress.

More than just Theory: 300+ Ready-Made Survey Templates to evaluate your SMART goal and objective.

Take a few minutes to clear your head; let us analyze the SMART method to achieve SMART objectives and goals. With constant practice, it will be easier to apply this method. However, for starters, let us understand what each alphabet in the word “SMART” mean.

meaning of smart in business plan

M-MEASURABLE

A-achievable, t-time-based.

Do you know what the importance of clearly defining objectives and goals is?

  • Time doesn’t pass in vain for anyone, more importantly, not for organizations or businesses. Every minute, every second, a new idea is conceptualized, and with these ideas growing, there is a growing competition out there.
  • Every day there is a new organization or business ready to give tough competition to its counterparts and competitors.  In this competitive atmosphere, it is also essential to win customers and also understand customer satisfaction levels. Not only this, you have to constantly monitor to verify that every department in your business or organization is working efficiently, just like perfect machinery. 
  • It may sound like a tedious process in which one question leads you to more questions , and then it seems like a never-ending story because only some know how to land their thoughts. Remember, putting down your goals and objectives on paper will help you put your thoughts and your imagination to work in reality.

To summarize it in a concise and very significant sentence: walking without objectives is like navigating without a compass. 

Imagine the immensity of the open sea and you in the middle of it, it is a moment in which you do not know what to do, nor do you know the resources you can count on and much less know which side of the ocean or sea will be better to go.

The best thing is to start making some kind of effort to move forward, right? You cannot stay there; however, it is difficult to know at that stage if everything you do will have optimal results and bring you closer to the right path. 

The most likely thing is that these efforts might exhaust you, and you do not know if everything you did will be worthwhile for something. On the contrary, if you know the goal you should reach, it will be easier to use your energy to achieve it once and for all.

People, groups, and systems need clear, structured, and well-defined objectives from the particular to the general. setting a goal is stated to gain a clear understanding of what needs to be delivered, and the person assessing may then judge the outcome based on defined smart criteria.

The same happens with the objectives of a company. We all have an end to this life, and we cannot get up every day thinking about facing when we are approaching the end because, in this way, there will come a time when we feel that we are not doing enough to sustain ourselves in this world.

Learn more: Demographic Segmentation .

SMART objectives are a primary way to collect feedback and communicate within the organization. SMART goal and objective is directly derived from management by objectives (M.B.O.). It was an effective way of completing tasks by prioritizing objectives.

Feedback is important because it showcases the room for improvement and is an insight into the company. Feedback includes periodic checks to measure current results vs. expected and current results vs. end objectives. The progress can be recorded by asking basic questions like:

  • Is the plan being executed in the right manner?
  • Are the efforts tangible that they are aiding the progress of the project?
  • Are changes required to be made to the current plan?

The SMART objective helps break down these questions and goals even further, where the scope of every milestone is measured. The SMART objective help set goals and track progress to meet the end objective. 

A SMART goal helps in following through on goals and prevents getting distracted. Through these goals, different objective goals can be set up, namely:

Long term goals

Intermediate-term goals, short term goals, principles in setting up smart goals and objectives.

It is an essential task to write SMART goals and objectives and setting up them. The smart goal criteria or the principles of goal-setting theory are:

principles-in-setting-up-smart-goals-and-objectives

Task complexity

What is the difference between smart goals and smart objectives.

“SMART goals” and “SMART objectives” are frequently used interchangeably, although their meanings might vary depending on the context. However, in some circumstances, a difference can be made between the two. Let us analyze the distinction:

  • Goals are broad, all-encompassing statements that describe the desired outcome or result. They are frequently long-term and give a general framework for your activities.
  • These goals are clear, measurable, doable, important, and have deadlines. They use the SMART goal framework to ensure their goals are clear and improve their chances of success.
  • Goals concentrate on the “what” you want to accomplish and provide a precise aim to work toward.

SMART Objective

  • Objectives are more defined, short-term milestones that help to reach the overall aim. They are actionable steps that explain the actions and activities needed to achieve the intended result.
  • SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They are intended to be more specific and to provide a clear roadmap for attaining the goal.
  • SMART Objectives concentrate on the “how” and “when” of achieving a goal, breaking it into achievable steps.

Importance of SMART goals and objectives

SMART goals and objectives are highly important for individuals and organizations alike. Here are several reasons why they are crucial:

Clarifies end objective

Effective time management, reminds you of priorities, obliges to take action, advantages and disadvantages of smart goals and objectives.

SMART goals and objectives offer several advantages, but they also have some potential disadvantages. Let’s explore both sides:

Advantages of SMART goals and objectives

SMART goals and objectives have several advantages that make them effective. Some of the primary advantages are as follows:

They are not vague: Since SMART goals and objectives are extremely procedural, each milestone and feedback is planned and monitored in complete detail. It mitigates the factor of uncertainty.

Missed work is easy to track: Each person is given a specific responsibility; hence, when work is not completed, it is very easy to troubleshoot the gaps in delivery. It makes everyone extremely accountable, and any loss of work is easy to track.

Goals are divided into small achievable objectives: SMART goals have an end, but SMART objectives are further divided into bite-sized milestones. Hence, no matter the scale of the end goal, it is very easily achievable.

Disadvantages of SMART goals and objectives

SMART goals and objectives have several disadvantages that make them effective. Some of the primary disadvantages are as follows:

No importance to other tasks: All other work gets ignored due to the system’s rigidity. Also, there is lesser scope for innovation or trying to complete work differently because the work is milestone based.

Lots of pressure: There is immense pressure to complete work in a given time frame, making the environment extremely stressful and challenging.

Different interpretations by different people: The pressure to complete goals and objectives is open to interpretation by different people. The urgency or rigidity of the process is construed differently by different people.

LEARN ABOUT: Theoretical Research

SMART objectives and goals examples

Here are a few examples to help you strategize and define your organization’s SMART objectives and Goals :

  • Defining objectives requires time, patience, and the complete know-how of how an organization functions, but it needs clarity above anything else. For example, many organizations need to define clear objectives, which reflects in many ways. But with SMART objectives and methods, it is possible to define goals clearly.
  • To clearly define objectives, one may need to sit down and ask questions, for example, “What is that I would like my organization or business to achieve? Why do I want to achieve these targets? Do I have the necessary resources to achieve these objectives?”, among many other questions that you need to ask yourself, let’s accept it feel like this is boring and absolutely unnecessary.  
  • Take a step back and think, do you even know how many companies have suffered bankruptcy because they didn’t feel the need to define their objectives? You might even be tempted to think that the process is a complete waste of your time. Instead of wasting your valuable time speculating and penning down your thoughts, it is advisable to get down to do some real work and start with the action plan.
  • While you may have decided to start functioning without a plan, there are hundreds of companies that take the target date to do it step by step and then achieve goals in a faster way, winning customers, reducing customer churn , taking away place, and even unseat everything you have already achieved. Taking action concretely and clearly understanding facts and figures will not take you anywhere. On the contrary, this will waste your time, effort, work, quality, and even your reputation in the market.
  • To avoid all the tragedies previously reported, do you still think this is a waste of time? Do you still believe that it is better to postpone it? If your answer is NO, congratulations! The SMART method is easier than you imagined it to be.  

Learn more: Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Let us take an example to understand how SMART objectives and SMART goals help save time. Image an organization that works to remove plastic bags and similar waste from the entire city has objectives and goals defined as:

“Our goal is to make the entire city clean and free of any plastic and plastic waste.”

This goal is a little vague. However, if the objective and goal were rewritten as, “As an organization, we aim to clean the city and make it free from any plastic waste in the next two years with the help and support of our volunteers.”

The second time the goal and objective were rewritten, it had a particular timeline, the specific activity was mentioned, who would be helping the organization was clear, and what they wanted to achieve was certain.

In this manner, people who are associated with the organization know what their tasks are and what the time-bound in which they need to achieve them. This helps avoid any confusion, and activities go on smoothly without hesitation.

LEARN ABOUT: Behavioral Targeting

SMART objectives and Goals are an important part of a company’s growth. The Managers and Directors of Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, and many other areas must be fully involved in defining these goals.

For all, the growth of the company also implies personal growth. The only way to achieve this is by having order and structure clearly defining the objectives.

Do not waste more time doing actions that won’t yield the desired results. Start defining your SMART objectives and give your team enough reasons why they should get down to work as soon as possible. 

Giving them a good goal is part of the motivation everyone in the organization needs. Remember increasing team productivity is always favorable and does wonders for achieving the organization’s overall growth.

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Setting SMART Goals for Your Small Business

With goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely, you can take the steps needed for long‑term success.

With goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely, you can take the steps needed for long-term success.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration , only about half of new small businesses survive for 5 years, and only one-third make it to 10 years. To stand the test of time, it’s important to set goals for your business that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely—in other words, goals that are SMART.

Small businesses tend to interact with their audience more directly, and on fewer fronts than corporations. Although you may have fewer resources, small businesses have many advantages if used wisely. Creating SMART goals to connect with your audience can make all the difference.

What are SMART goals?

The SMART acronym stands for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. The SMART goal system is impactful for business marketing strategies, project management and overall growth, because it encourages you to look into your market and evaluate how your business stacks up. It provides a model to identify strengths, track progress and room for improvement.

Here’s a more detailed SMART goals definition:

meaning of smart in business plan

Having a clear, specific outcome in mind is key to making a SMART goal. Making a specific goal means that you can narrow your focus—whether this is on marketing, data collection, sales, or customer relationship management—and get a concise picture of exactly what you want to achieve and thus, what steps you should take to accomplish this goal.

When you set goals, it’s important to make sure you know what metrics you will use to evaluate whether and when you’ve met your goal.

Measurable goals and objectives can be quantitative, like how many returns or outputs you receive or produce; or they can be qualitative, based on the quality of those same returns or outputs.

It’s important to prioritize achievability when you set business goals. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t dream big, but a goal that you can take feasible steps towards will tell you more about the nature of your business, the way you run it, your customers, and the goal itself, rather than working towards something outside your capacity. By defining achievable goals, you’re also allowing yourself to experiment with what works best for reaching this goal, based on your measurements.

Relevancy, in the case of SMART business goals, refers to the pertinent characteristics of your business. Most businesses want to attract a bigger audience and increase their revenue, of course, but relevant goals help you identify what you will do specifically to grow your business.

If you run an online magazine, for example, a relevant and timebound goal is to increase the number of monthly subscribers by 25% this quarter. Subscribers are relevant to the success of your business, and thus the goal meets SMART criteria.

Having a timeframe for when you want to achieve your goal makes the process of planning and executing clearer and more organized. A deadline can be a powerful motivator, and it will help your team work together towards a clear finish line and better time management. Plus, working towards timely goals can give you insight into a certain time of year or the seasonality of your business, which might inform future goals.

Why are SMART Goals Important?

Why is being SMART important, and where does it factor into your small business plan ? SMART goals enable small business owners to take actionable steps towards improvement, measure outcomes, and ultimately achieve scalable success.

meaning of smart in business plan

Vague goals (like, “Find more customers”), can leave you at a loss when it comes to implementing changes to your current marketing campaigns or business models. Vague goals can also leave business owners feeling over-extended without a clear focus, or unsatisfied without substantial evidence of achievement.

Actionable, achievable goals that are relevant, timebound, and have measurable outcomes are crucial for surviving the inception years of your new business. They can lead to sustainable growth and innovation throughout the life of your company or your career development.

How to set SMART goals

You can start writing your own SMART goals in a few ways:

meaning of smart in business plan

  • Use the SMART acronym as an outline. Write down a goal, then break down how the goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Provide details about your goal for each letter in the acronym. You can use a list format, a flow chart, or an outline—whatever keeps your thoughts organized and helps in reaching this goal.
  • Use a past/present/future question model. Ask yourself questions like: What have I already done? What is the current outcome? Where do I want to be at the end of this month/quarter/year? Although this model prompts you to look to the future, make sure to keep the goal timely and focused.
  • Use marketing software data. Marketing software can provide a foundation to set SMART goals. By collecting your current campaign reports and analytics all in one place, you can start writing your SMART goals based on the quantitative data you’ve already collected. Remember, the data itself is only a starting point; its usefulness is determined by what you do with it.

Use this SMART goal framework that will help you to define a better action plan with the steps you'll need to take, resources necessary to get there and milestones to track progress along the way. With SMART goals, you're more likely to achieve your goal efficiently and effectively.

SMART goal examples

What is a SMART goal? Let’s imagine a small business with the impressive goal of becoming completely carbon neutral or reaching net zero emissions. The goal is laudable, but how will the company achieve it? One step toward that objective might feature the SMART goal of switching 50% of plastic packaging materials to compostable packaging materials by the end of the quarter.

The goal is actionable and brings the company closer to its overall goal of operating as a carbon-neutral entity. Compostable packaging alone won’t get the company to complete carbon-neutral status. Still, it will help get the company closer to that end goal, and it’s an excellent selling point on the company website and sales literature.

Below we’ve listed a few more examples where we take some common small business goals and make them SMART:

  • “Build more customers” vs. “Secure 6 new business accounts before the end of the quarter.” Six is specific, securing new accounts is relevant to the ultimate goal of the business, having a quantitative goal correlates to measurable success, it’s small enough to be achievable, and “end of the quarter” is timely.
  • “Make more profits” vs. “Increase revenue 10% each quarter until the end of the fiscal year.” 10% is a specific, measurable amount that’s relevant to the goal of increasing overall profits. It puts “increase revenue” into achievable terms, and using quarters of the fiscal year is a timely measurement.
  • “Be more present online” vs. “Increase unique blog views by increasing social media marketing content over the next month.” Unique views are a specific audience metric that is captured by your website or marketing platform, increasing social media marketing is measurable quantitatively, and it’s an achievable, actionable item, while “over the next month” is timely.

SMART business goals are about building focus, deepening relationships with your audience, achieving your goals and improving your strategies as you grow. By using the SMART framework, you can improve your business operations, project management and start achieving the goals that matter most.

You can also write SMART goals for personal use, whether you want to improve your career development or achieve goals outside of your professional life. Using the SMART goal framework can organize the process and provide structure before you begin any projects for your small business.

Start setting SMART goals with Mailchimp

Mailchimp helps your company manage customer relationships , generate leads , and grow your small business with an all-in-one marketing platform for email campaigns, content management, and data analysis. Create and achieve your SMART goals by leveraging marketing tools from Mailchimp.

Frequently asked questions

When should i set smart goals.

SMART goals are best set when the company aims to achieve a particular objective or milestone. By taking advantage of SMART goal setting from the get-go, your company can increase productivity, increase profits, and improve client or employee retention.

What is the value of creating SMART goals?

SMART goals take the vagueness out of company operations and help the organization reach its yearly goals with precision. SMART goals can improve resource allocation, time management, and employee morale.

SMART goals help business owners figure out where their teams are succeeding or when they need additional guidance. Grow your small business using achievable SMART goals that will add up to greater success over time.

What are good SMART goals?

In order to set good SMART goals, you must determine what you hope to achieve in the long run, either as an organization or professional.

Learning how to write SMART goals requires creating goals that meet every letter of the acronym. Below are some SMART goal examples that you can use as inspiration:

  • Grow the company Instagram page by gaining 100 followers over the next 6 months.
  • Find a qualified graphic design intern by the end of the quarter by creating job listings on at least three unique career sites.
  • Strengthen the sales team by ensuring that at least 80% of salespeople in your organization complete an inbound sales training by the end of the quarter.

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How to Set, Track, and Achieve Business Objectives with 60 Examples

By Kate Eby | April 10, 2023

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Businesses that set objectives make better decisions. Business objectives allow companies to focus their efforts, track progress, and visualize future success. We’ve worked with experts to create the most comprehensive guide to business objectives.

Included in this article, you’ll find the differences between business objectives and business goals , the four main business objectives , and the benefits of setting business objectives . Plus, find 60 examples of business objectives , which you can download in Microsoft Word.

What Is a Business Objective?

A business objective is a specific, measurable outcome that a company works to achieve. Company leaders set business objectives that help the organization meet its long-term goals. Business objectives should be recorded so that teams can easily access them. 

Business objectives cover many different factors of a company’s success, such as financial health, operations, productivity, and growth. 

One easy way to make sure that you are setting the right business objectives is to follow the SMART goal framework . SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

To learn about setting project objectives using the SMART framework, see this comprehensive guide to writing SMART project objectives .

Business Objectives vs. Business Goal

A business goal is a broad, long-term outcome that a company works toward. Goals usually inform which strategies that department leaders will implement. A business objective , however, is a specific, short-term outcome or action that helps the company achieve long-term goals.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, goals and objectives are not the same . In general, goals are broad in scope and describe an outcome, while objectives are narrow in scope and describe a specific action or step. 

While these differences are important to understand, many of the common frameworks for successful goal-setting — such as SMART, objectives and key results ( OKRs ), and management by objectives (MBO) — can be useful when writing business objectives. 

When deciding on objectives for a team or department, keep in mind the overarching goals of a business. Each objective should move the company closer to its long-term goals.

Project Goals and Objectives Template

Project Goals and Objectives Template

Download the Project Goals and Objectives Template for Excel | Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Use this free, printable template to learn how to break down project goals into individual objectives using the SMART framework. Write the primary goal at the top of the worksheet, then follow the SMART process to create one or more specific objectives that will help you achieve that goal. 

For resources to help with setting and tracking goals at your company, see this all-inclusive list of goal tracking and setting templates .

What Are the Four Main Business Objectives?

The four main business objectives are economic, social, human, and organic. Each can help a business ensure their prolonged health and growth. For example, human objectives refer to employees’ well-being, while economic objectives refer to the company’s financial health. 

These are the four main business objectives:

  • Example: Reduce spending on paid advertisements by 20 percent.
  • Example: Reduce average customer wait times from eight minutes to four minutes. 
  • Example: Hire two new chemical engineers by the end of Q2.
  • Example: Improve the efficiency of a specific software product by 15 percent.

Types of Business Objectives

There are many types of business objectives beyond the main four. These range from regulation objectives to environmental objectives to municipal objectives. For example, a global objective might be to distribute a product to a new country. 

In addition to economic, social, human, and organic objectives, here are some other types of business objectives companies might set: 

  • Regulatory: These objectives relate to compliance requirements, such as meeting quality standards or conducting internal audits.
  • National: These objectives relate to a company’s place in and how they contribute to the country they operate in, such as promoting social justice causes and creating employment opportunities. 
  • Global: These objectives relate to a company’s place in and its contribution to many countries, such as improving living standards and responding to global demands for products and services. 
  • Environmental: These objectives relate to a company’s environmental impact, such as reducing chemical waste or making eco-friendly investments. 
  • Healthcare: These objectives relate to the health and well-being of a population, whether within or outside an organization. These objectives might be improving healthcare benefit options for employees or refining a drug so that it has fewer side effects.

The Importance of Having Business Objectives

Teams need business objectives to stay focused on the company’s long-term goals. Business objectives help individual employees understand how their roles contribute to the larger mission of the organization. Setting business objectives facilitates effective planning. 

Here are some benefits to setting business objectives:

Sully Tyler

  • Develops Leadership: Company leaders are more effective when they have a clear vision and can delegate tasks to make it a reality. Setting objectives is a great way to improve one’s leadership skills.
  • Increases Motivation: People tend to be more invested in work when they have clear, attainable objectives to achieve. Plus, each completed objective provides a morale boost to keep teams happy and productive. 
  • Encourages Innovation and Productivity: With increased motivation and workplace satisfaction come more innovations. Set attainable but challenging objectives, and watch teams come up with creative solutions to get things done.
  • Improves Strategy: Setting objectives that align with overarching company goals means that everyone across the company can stay aligned on strategic implementation. 
  • Enhances Customer Satisfaction: Overall customer satisfaction is more likely to increase over time when measurable quality improvements are in place. 
  • Improves Prioritization: When they are being able to see all of the current objectives, team members can more easily prioritize their work, which in turn makes their workloads feel more manageable. 
  • Improves Financial Health: Setting economic objectives in particular can help companies stay on top of their financial goals.

60 Examples of Business Objectives

Company leaders can use business objectives to improve every facet of an organization, from customer satisfaction to market share to employee well-being. Here are 60 examples of business objectives that can help a company achieve its goals. 

60 Example Business Objectives

Economic Business Objectives

  • Increase profit margins by 5 percent by the end of the Q4. 
  • Recover 50 percent of total outstanding debts from each quarter the following quarter for the next year. 
  • “Increase revenue by 10 percent each year for the next five years,” suggests Tyler. 
  • Offer three new holiday sales events in the coming year. 
  • Move 30 percent of surplus stock by the end of Q2.
  • “Reduce costs by 10 percent each year for the next five years,” suggests Tyler.
  • Reduce monthly interest payments by 1.5 percent by consolidating debt. 
  • Introduce a new credit payment option to expand the potential customer base. 
  • Apply for six government grants by the end of the year. 
  •  Hire an accountant to track expenses and file the company’s taxes. 
  •  Secure a $100,000 loan to start a business.
  •  Pitch your business ideas to a venture capital firm. 
  • Improve your business credit score from 75 to 85 in two years. 
  • Invest in solar panels for your company headquarters to reduce building energy costs by 75 percent. 
  • Establish a monthly practice to analyze your cash flow statement.

Social Business Objectives

  • Decrease customer average customer wait times by 20 percent in two months.
  • Improve the average customer service satisfaction rating from 3.2/5 to 3.8/5 in six months through targeting trainings. 
  • Hire a contract UX designer to redesign the company website interface in four months. 
  • Decrease customer churn by 15 percent in one year. 
  • “Triple the customer base within two years,” suggests Tyler.
  • Offer 20 percent more customer discounts and specials over the course of two years. 
  • Increase market share by 5 percent in three years. 
  • Increase monthly sales quotas for sales associates by 10 percent. 
  • Develop a sales incentive program to reward top-performing sales associates with vacations, bonuses, and other prizes. 
  • Donate $10,000 to local causes, such as public school funds or local charities. 
  • Partner with a charitable organization to host a company-wide 5K.
  • Increase your marketing budget by 15 percent.
  • Hire a new marketing director by the end of Q3.
  • Donate 40 percent of surplus stock to a relevant charity. 
  • Increase engagement across all social media platforms by 10 percent with a multiplatform ad campaign.

Human Business Objectives

  • Hire three new employees by the end of Q1.
  • Hire a contractor to train your IT team on new software. 
  • Rewrite and distribute your company values statement. 
  • Conduct a quarterly, company-wide productivity training over the next two years. 
  • Establish a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee. 
  • Design and implement a mentorship program for diverse employees. 
  • Create an incentive program that grants additional vacation days for all employees when company-wide productivity goals are met. 
  • Offer a free monthly happy hour to improve the employee experience. 
  • Select change leaders across multiple teams to provide support for a corporate reorg.
  • Start three employee resource groups (ERGs) within the next six months. 
  • Diversify websites and career fairs where the hiring team recruits applicants to encourage a more diverse pool of candidates for new jobs. 
  • Invest in an office redesign that improves the office atmosphere and provides more in-office resources, such as free coffee and snacks, to on-site employees. 
  • Upgrade employee laptops to improve productivity and employee satisfaction. 
  • Conduct a yearly, comprehensive employee experience survey to identify areas of improvement. 
  • Throw office parties to celebrate change milestones. 

Organic Business Objectives

  • Increase the top line by 15 percent every year for the next five years.
  • Achieve 20 percent net profit from 10 product enhancements in the next two years.
  • Decrease raw materials costs by 10 percent by the end of the year.
  • Reduce downtime by 25 percent by the end of the year.
  • Within two years, attain a rate of 25 percent new revenue from products released within the last year.
  • Improve customer acquisition ration by 10 percent every quarter for the next two years. 
  • Reduce total inventory levels by 20 percent over four months.
  • Interact with at least 20 Instagram users every month for one year.
  • Have a new product launch covered by at least three reputable industry publications within two months of the launch date.
  • Grow both the top line and the bottom line by 60 percent every year for three years. 
  • Reduce product defects by 15 percent every year for four years.
  • Increase on-time delivery dates for top customers by 25 percent over the span of three quarters.
  • Conduct yearly workplace safety reviews.
  • Decrease average customer wait times for responses to social media queries from 45 minutes to 15 minutes by the end of Q4.
  • Improve your company website to be on the first page of search results within six months.

Download 60 Example Business Objectives for

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF

Track the Progress of Business Objectives with Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

Discover why over 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to get work done.

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Ever wanted to own your own Victorian island fort?

Well now you can - with two being listed with a guide price of £1m.

Spitbank Fort in Hampshire and No Man's Land Fort off the Isle of Wight have been listed for auction and can be bought separately - or as a pair if you can't pick between the two.  

During the Second World War, the forts were used to defend the Portsmouth dockyards. 

No Man's Fort is substantially bigger and probably presents itself more as a business opportunity, but Spitbank offers nine large bedroom suites across three floors and could potentially work as a private home to the right buyer. 

No Man's Fort has its own traditional English pub, a nightclub, and a helipad, while Spitbank Fort naturally boasts a wine cave plus a swimming pool and spa complex.

"Throughout my career as an auctioneer I've seen several sea forts hit the market that have achieved impressive prices as buyers have sought to pursue these trophy assets," said Robin Howeson, head of Savills Auctions.

"Having been carefully restored by the current owners, No Man's and Spitbank Fort represent exceptional market value, each guided at £1m. 

"Both offer an opportunity like no other; a waterfront location, up to 99,000sq ft of space and a chance to champion the heritage and legacy of these iconic maritime structures."

The auction takes place on 18 June. 

The BBC's content arm is among the suitors vying to buy the television production company which owns the rights to The Gruffalo.

Sky News has learnt that BBC Studios is participating in a sale process for Magic Light Pictures, which has won three BAFTAs and secured a quartet of Oscar nominations.

The auction is being run by Gotham Street, a specialist media deals boutique.

A number of other bidders are also said to be involved in the process given the quality of Magic Light's content library, which includes a number of works by The Gruffalo's creators, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo has become one of Britain's best-known children's characters, telling the story of an adventurous mouse that fends off a series of would-be predators by telling them about a supposedly imaginary creature called a gruffalo.

In the 2011 sequel, The Gruffalo's Child, the mouse then scares off a young gruffalo by using shadows to project a giant version of itself.

The two films have been distributed internationally by Magic Light, and along with the original Gruffalo books have sparked substantial merchandising revenues as well as a theme park attraction at Chessington World of Adventures.

The woman alleged to be the inspiration for the stalker in hit Netflix series Baby Reindeer is suing the streaming platform for $170m (£133m).

The show is said to be based on the real-life experiences of writer Richard Gadd, who plays himself as he copes with stalker Martha Scott.

Fiona Harvey, 58, claims she is the inspiration for Martha, who begins stalking Gadd after he serves her a free cup of tea in the pub where he works.

In the lawsuit, Ms Harvey has accused Netflix of spreading "brutal lies", including that she is a "twice convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison".

"Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money," it states.

"As a result of defendants' lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey's life had been ruined."

Sky News's US partner network NBC News reports the lawsuit described the show's claim "this is a true story" as "the biggest lie in television history".

"Netflix destroyed a woman, claiming, among many allegations, that she was a convicted woman," Richard Roth, a lawyer for Ms Harvey, wrote in an email.

"It never contacted her. It never checked the facts. It never made any effort to understand the truth of its 'true story!'"

The lawsuit seeks actual damages and compensatory damages at $50m (£39m) each, punitive damages at $20m (£16m); as well as "all profits" from Baby Reindeer at $50m (£39m).

A Netflix spokesperson told Sky News: "We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd's right to tell his story."

Administrators to The Body Shop are aiming to clinch a sale of the stricken cosmetics retailer by the end of the month, even as its former owner veers away from making an offer for it.

Sky News' city editor Mark Kleinman has learnt that FRP Advisory, which was appointed to handle the chain's insolvency in January, has asked for indicative bids by next Tuesday.

British entrepreneur Mike Lynch has been cleared of all charges by a US jury in the high-profile fraud case related to the sale of his software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2011.

Dr Lynch, who was extradited to the US to face trial just over a year ago, was acquitted alongside a former finance executive Stephen Chamberlain who had faced the same charges.

They were accused of conspiracy and attempted fraud over the £8.3bn sale to HP - a deal that has been the subject of costly legal action since.

Labour is promising to get more young people on the housing ladder as it announces its "freedom to buy" scheme on Friday.

The party is pledging to make the existing mortgage guarantee scheme - which sees the government act as a guarantor for people unable to save big deposits - into a permanent fixture if it wins the election on 4 July.

Meanwhile, the Tories are promising a tax cut for parents by raising the threshold for when families have to pay a levy on their child benefit.

The current system means if either parents or a parent's partner earns more than £60,000, they begin paying the high income child benefit tax charge, and lose the benefit altogether when a salary hits £80,000.

But if the Tories win the election on 4 July, they have promised to increase the threshold to £120,000 before any tax is paid, and to £160,000 before the benefit is withdrawn, as well as base it on a household income, rather than an individual.

If you missed out on the general sales but want to bag yourself a last-minute ticket to Taylor Swift's show in Edinburgh tonight , it could set you back a whopping £4,000. 

Not to fear, however, as it is currently possible to land yourself a ticket for as little as £271 - if you settle for a somewhat restricted view. 

We've checked resale giant Viagogo for the latest prices, accurate as of 10.30am. 

As is often the case with popular tours listed on resale sites, many of the tickets are sold individually - so if you're happy to go alone tonight, you're more likely to get a ticket. 

For context, a ticket at general sale cost somewhere between £80-£160 depending on where you sit/stand. 

As it stands, the cheapest seat with an unrestricted view of the stage is currently up for sale at £323.

Just one ticket is up for £271, but has a "restricted view". 

Bringing a crowd

If you're looking to take someone with you, the cheapest pair of tickets without any restricted view will cost you a combined £1,706.

However, if you're happy with a restricted or limited view, you can pay the cheaper price of £538 for the pair (£269 each). 

You can buy up to four tickets in the same area for £303 each (£1,212 together) for a restricted view, or £555 each (£2,220 together) for an unobstructed view of the stage. 

Getting closer to the action 

Standing tickets are much sought after given their proximity to the stage. 

As alluded to at the top of this post, one frankly optimistic reseller has listed four general admission tickets for a staggering £4,256 each (in the "floor" section shown in the map below). 

However, you can get even closer - with one ticket remaining in the separate section to the left of the stage at £651 and another to the right at £559. 

A word of caution

Ticket resale sites, including Viagogo, have previously been accused of "ripping off" consumers amid concerns customers could be turned away at venues because of restrictions on some resold tickets.

The company was told in 2019 that it was required to make a number of changes to the way it collects and presents information about tickets on its site.

It has since pledged to be compliant with UK watchdogs and now offers a "100% order guarantee [which] covers both buyers and sellers".

If you're happy paying over the odds for last-minute tickets, make sure you're buying through a site with such a guarantee and always beware of scams!

House prices in the UK dropped by 0.1% between April and May, data from mortgage lender Halifax shows.

Analysts had expected a drop of around 0.2%, while last week, rival lender Nationwide said its measure of house prices rose in May after falling in the previous two months.

In the 12 months to May, prices rose by 1.5%, Halifax said - faster than the median forecast in a Reuters news agency poll for an annual increase of 1.2%.

"Market activity remained resilient throughout the spring months, supported by strong nominal wage growth and some evidence of an improvement in confidence about the economic outlook," Halifax's head of mortgages, Amanda Bryden, said.

The stable picture for property prices over the last three months was likely to give more confidence to buyers and sellers, she added. 

Sir Keir Starmer will shortly promise to get more young people on the housing ladder as Labour announces its "freedom to buy" policy. 

We've now got some reaction from business leaders, who've been speaking to Newspage.

Justin Moy, managing director at EHF Mortgages, was not impressed. 

"Freedom to buy looks great on the first read, but then you realise it’s actually been in place since 2021 and many lenders don't use it anyway," he said. 

"Labour are effectively promoting something that already exists and isn't used," he added. 

Andrew Montlake, managing director at Coreco, disagreed, saying it marked a "promising" first offering from Labour. 

"This can allow lenders to take a longer-term approach in their offerings and ensure that competitive products are continually available for those with lower deposits. 

"Whilst it doesn't solve the long-term housing issues overnight, Labour have at least shown they understand them and have already shown they are willing to speak and engage with those on the front lines, which is more promising for the housing market as a whole should the next government be a red one."

However, many more had a negative outlook. 

Lewis Shaw, owner of Shaw Financial Services, was scathing in his assessment, saying: "This policy is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. 

"Prior to the pandemic, 95% loan-to-value mortgage lending was the norm. 

"It happened without any political interference or putting the taxpayer on the hook - has everyone forgotten that? 

"If Labour really wants to help young people buy a home, then do the things that we all know are needed: Tax the super-rich, reduce wealth inequality and build more houses. It's not rocket science."

Katy Eatenton, mortgage and protection specialist at Lifetime Wealth Management, said it was "yet another scheme with no real substance", which was echoed by Stephen Perkins, managing director at Yellow Brick Mortgages.

"This policy will not hugely impact the property market," he said. 

Shortly, we're expecting Sir Keir Starmer to promise to get more young people on the housing ladder as Labour announces its "freedom to buy".

He's set to speak in the coming hours. 

The party will pledge to make the existing mortgage guarantee scheme - which sees the government act as a guarantor for people unable to save big deposits - into a permanent fixture if it wins the election on 4 July.

Sir Keir will also commit to an overhaul of the planning system, including reintroducing housing targets, claiming his measures will see 1.5 million more homes built over the next five years.

Among the planning changes, the party will promise to tax foreign buyers "pricing out young people" from the housing market in order to pay for new planning officers, which it claims will help increase projects being signed off.

It will bring back house-build targets - scrapped by the Tories in 2022 - as well as fast-track permissions to build on brownfield sites, and reform compulsory purchase orders to "stop speculators frustrating housebuilding".

They will also promise to offer "first dibs" on new developments to local people looking for a home and reiterate their pledge to create "the next generation" of new towns.

Read more in our dedicated Politics Hub :

GAME are set to end their long-running rewards programme on 31 July and have urged customers to use their remaining credit whilst they still can.

Both the company's standard GAME Reward scheme and their Elite membership tier will cease to exist, while no further reward points will be earned from purchases made in store or online after July 15.

You can currently redeem 400 reward points for £1 off of a purchase. The end of GAME Elite will mean the end of its monthly offers and prize draws. Any outstanding paid Elite membership months will be eligible for a refund.

"We would strongly urge you to redeem your GAME reward points prior to the closure date on purchases in store or online to avoid disappointment," said GAME.

"After the closure date, GAME reward points will be reset to zero and the GAME reward account will be closed, you will no longer be able to access it and you will no longer be able to redeem your GAME reward points."

The end of GAME's reward programme is the latest move from the company to make changes to their business model.

The chain has already closed several of their own bespoke high street stores and instead taken up residence within Sports Direct and other Fraser Group outlets.

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire , business reporter

We've now had the first interest rate cut in the UK, US and EU for years. 

Yesterday the European Central Bank (ECB) brought down the cost of borrowing in the countries using the euro - the first reduction since 2019.

Sterling stayed roughly where it has been against the euro for the last two weeks - one pound buys more euro than it has done for most of the last year, €1.1740. 

Oil prices have ticked up through the week but are still just below $80 a barrel for Brent crude, the benchmark price. 

That's cheaper than the vast majority of this year and good news for motorists.  

Signs of stabilisation can be seen in the housing market with the news that house prices fell just 0.1% in May, equivalent to a £170 drop in the average house, according to mortgage lender Halifax. 

But renting is still becoming more expensive, just at a slightly slower rate than before, according to property portal Zoopla.

The average rent costs £80 more a month compared with a year earlier.

Higher housing costs have also shown through in a market update from British homebuilder Bellway, which said it expects to sell houses at a higher price point than it previously thought.

The company is a constituent of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 250 index of 101st to 350th most valuable companies on the London Stock Exchange which is down 0.22% this morning. 

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  1. The Ultimate Guide to S.M.A.R.T. Goals

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    SMART goals are short-term, strategic actions that support your organization's long-term vision of success and strategy. The acronym SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Responsible, and Time-Bound - helps your organization build actionable goals to help it reach its long-term destination. Setting goals for your organization and what ...

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    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 ...

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    How to Write a SMART Goal. First, identify what you want to achieve. Once you know what that is, you can start setting your sights on making it happen by writing a SMART goal statement when you work on goal setting. With smart business goals you: Specify what you want to accomplish. Measure progress along the way.

  9. How to write SMART goals, with examples

    SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be: S pecific (simple, sensible, significant). M easurable (meaningful, motivating). A chievable (agreed, attainable). R elevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).

  10. What is SMART Goal Setting?

    The SMART goal-setting approach, commonly attributed to Peter Drucker, a prolific author, and management consultant whose writing helped shape modern business, first appeared in a November 1981 issue of Management Review. Since then, SMART has evolved to facilitate broader interpretations than the original intent.

  11. 5 Tips for Setting SMART Goals in Your Business Plan

    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.

  12. SMART Business Goals: Definition, Examples, Benefits, and Drawbacks

    SMART business goals stand out as a framework that ensures goals are effective and achievable. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each element of the SMART framework plays a crucial role in goal setting, making it a widely adopted strategy in various industries.

  13. What Are SMART Goals? A Guide to Using SMART Goals

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  16. How to Write SMART Goals [Worksheet and Examples]

    Later in the article, we demonstrate how to write SMART goals for two typical business scenarios: completing a project and improving personal performance. Below, we've included an easy-to-use SMART goals template in Word, along with a template to help you plan and manage your goals in Smartsheet. ‌ Download the SMART Goals Template in Word.

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    4. Make your goal RELEVANT. A relevant goal will directly contribute to successful results. Keep in mind that every action you take should move you closer to your goal. In our example, a relevant goal will directly reduce expenses. Applying SMART "Relevant" criteria: "I will distribute a budget report that shows our department's current ...

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