Your marketing campaigns, as well as your efforts in other areas of your business, such as finance, sales, operations, and production, have a higher chance of succeeding you have objectives that are SMART, meaning, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. Having a clear set of objectives – SMART ones – helps you stay focused, because you are more aware of what it is that you are trying to achieve.
Specific. Having just one goal or one set of goals per plan maximizes your efficiency. The problem with most businesses is that they want to achieve several objectives simultaneously, which completely throws off the general plan and makes everything confusing and disorganized. Remember that every single one of your objectives needs a specific plan for it to be effective.
Measurable. Having milestones and goals to measure the success of your plan is essential. The measurable aspects of your plan can be in the form of numbers – units sold, total sales revenue generated, total profit, etc., and they must be very specific. Simply saying that you want more sales this year than last year won’t be enough, and seeing the numbers increase is not enough to measure success. You have to give a specific number, say 10% more units than last year, or a specific number of units or transaction. If you’re not hitting that number, then you need to re-evaluate your plan and see where you can tweak it in order to succeed.
Achievable. I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “if it’s too easy, it won’t last” before. That applies to the growth of your business as well – it should be gradual and planned. Your goals, therefore, should be achievable. A realistic set of goals motivates your team to try hard to achieve the success outlined in the plans. Setting unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve will only dishearten them, because they’ll be thinking that no matter how hard they work, they won’t achieve the goal anyway.
Realistic. Again, your goals should not be fantasy-based. They should not be too good to be true, or too impossible to achieve. In order to set realistic goals, you have to be aware of what happens historically. Look at past data, and use that to project your future goals. If, historically, your annual profit growth is at 10%, it won’t make sense to set a goal of achieving 50% the following year. Setting realistic goals makes it easier to manage the expectations – and efforts – of everyone involved.
Timed. Deadlines are important, so your plans need to have a beginning and an ending. This allows you to analyze how effective your methods have been in producing the results you have projected. Creating a timeline for your projects should include regular dates for monitoring progress. You should also be flexible enough to acknowledge that you may need to adjust the plan and its timelines in order to achieve your goals.
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