How to apply the SMART Method to grow your online business
If you’re here, chances are you’ve started your online business because you’re incredibly passionate about what you do. Whether you’re a Life Coach, a Social Media Manager, or a Consultant, you’re finally achieving those financial goals you’ve set for yourself in the first place.
Now, you’re ready to take the next step and reach that level of freedom you’ve dreamed of, but things feel a little off. You don’t know how to grow your business because, up to this point, you were focusing on doing what you love.
So, if you want to learn more about how to harness the power of the SMART Method for your online business, I’ll break it down for you in this post. Read further and make sure to apply these tips right away.
What is the SMART Method and why you should be using it in your online business
The SMART Method consists of setting goals that follow the SMART acronym:
What is your goal? Why do you want to achieve it? How is it going to help your online business?
ex.: I want to hire a VA to delegate administrative tasks I hate doing.
How will you track your success and failure? What metrics will you use?
ex.: I’ll delegate 10h/week worth of tasks to my new VA. Tasks are Scheduling Social Media Posts and Emails, organizing my calendar, etc.
Do I have everything I need to achieve my goal? Is it within reach?
ex.: how much does a VA cost? $30/hour? Do I have that budget? Can I get that budget somehow if I don’t have it?
Is this goal attainable given my current situation (time & resources)?
ex.: do I have the time to onboard them into my business, culture, and tasks so they can be successful? Do I have the tools she’ll need available?
When do I want to achieve this goal?
ex.: I want to sign the contract with my VA by September 2023 and have her start on the 1st of October
A goal is considered SMART if it incorporates all of the above. SMART Goals help you learn where and how to focus your efforts to take your business where you want it to go.
By setting SMART Goals, you end up brushing away the mental clutter. When it comes to answering the questions “Where do I want my business to go?” and “How will I take it there?”, you’ll no longer be wondering if you should be applying what your competitor is doing or signing up for one more program you’ll never finish. SMART Goals will leave you with clear objectives and a realistic action plan tailored to your online business.
This kind of focus is especially challenging for creative entrepreneurs. Your minds are anywhere and everywhere, gathering information, new references, getting inspired, and exploring new concepts. Being so full of imagination makes it difficult to define a structure for your online business. That’s where SMART Goals become a non-negotiable.
Why some online business owners hate SMART Goals
SMART Goals are a controversial subject. In the online business community, some entrepreneurs swear by it, while others can’t bear to see the acronym in front of them. In my experience (both in corporate and working with online business owners), most people don't like them because they miss one or more of the letters when setting their goals.
Say your goal is to make a million dollars by the end of 2022. Currently, you’re making $100k. Is this achievable? Maybe. You might get some lucky contracts or may go viral and have tons of sales. But is it a realistic goal or is it based on assumptions? If a goal is not realistic, it’s also not achievable within your deadline. That’s two missing letters already.
When 2022 is over and you look at your goals, you’ll get frustrated because you haven’t reached them, and then will blame it on the method when, in reality, you’ve sabotaged yourself in the first place.
How to Apply the SMART Method like a successful online business owner
The secret to successful SMART Goals is to break them down. When I do Smart Goal setting with my clients, we plan quarterly. Doing so helps them have more clarity in what they want to achieve and what they need to do in order to get there.
It’s okay to have a big goal for the next 5 years or so. It’ll give you direction and a big dose of motivation to keep going even when you’re tired. Then again, if you wish to get there at some point, you need to take it one step at a time.
The way I see it, you really can't plan much more than a quarter in advance. The online world moves quickly. Our lives move quickly. If you need to pivot and change directions throughout a quarter, imagine what happens within a year. That’s why it’s important to plan quarterly (every 90 days) and have measurable SMART Goals that you can track throughout this period.
This is your chance to lay the foundation your business needs, so grab your pen & paper and get to it!
First things first: do this before you set your SMART Goals
Now that you’ve learned the right way to define your SMART Goals, you may be feeling the urge to work on them right away, but before you go any further, you need to know the why and the how of your online business. Those are your mission, your vision, and your values. You’ll need these to know why you’re setting these goals in the first place. If you haven’t set those pillars for your business yet, head over to this post where I’ll show you how to define the pillars of your online business.