How SMART is your business?

Setting goals for a business is the first step in crystallising the intangible and making it visible. Developing your brand on a positive and enduring footing does not happen accidentally. A bulletproof SWOT analysis with SMART objectives is essential to success. Once established, a SWOT analysis and associated SMART goals must be regularly updated to remain relevant and accurate. 

What are business goals?

Business goals are staged predetermined targets mapped out over a period of time. They contribute to a brand's overall mission statement, helping guide growth, motivating teamwork, facilitating improvements and orientating your brand. In addition, setting clear business goals can improve performance and streamline and help focus working processes. 

Why use a SWOT analysis?

SWOT is a mnemonic for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A comprehensive SWOT analysis can be a highly effective tool in the achievement of these four critical elements of your business. An in-depth SWOT analysis helps companto evaluate where their brand has a competitive advantage, where it might be vulnerable to competition, how it might gain an advantage over its competitors and which threats to its success are looming over the time horizon.

When carrying out a SWOT analysis, make sure you critically reflect on your company's performance. The outcome of a good SWOT analysis as a part of a brand's planning process will help it to develop a strong business strategy. It is essential that you involve key members of the team when brainstorming your SWOT analysis to capture the various dimensions of your business to which it relates. 

Strengths: What positive attributes are driving your custom? What gives your brand its competitive edge? What does your brand do well?

Weaknesses: In what areas is your brand lacking relative to the competition? What aspects of your business are losing you custom? Where can you improve your brand?

Opportunities: What existing marketing opportunities are you not currently taking advantage of? Identify what areas of the market have recently changed and how can your brand react to these changes in a positive way to give you an advantage over your competitors? Is your customer's perception of your business positive?

Threats: What pre-existing marketing factors are potentially making your brand vulnerable? Who are your existing or potential competitors? Identify the shifts in consumer behaviour, the economy, or government regulations that could negatively impact sales. Familiarise yourself and your team with any imminent technological changes and trends that could potentially have a negative impact on your sales.

How to use the SMART method to set business goals

Once you have thoroughly analysed your brand, a formal strategy to add structure and support is the next step. An acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, SMART goals help keep projects focussed, condensing long term plans into achievable bite-size chunks, allowing teams to feel in control of large scale business plans. SMART goals help businesses to prioritise objectives, meet deadlines, promote teamwork and inspire motivation. Using SMART goals to complete projects helps improve team members' performance and enables them to complete projects more efficiently, effectively and on time.

Download SMART Marketing Goals Template

The following summarises the essence of SMART Objectives:

Specific: Goals are well defined and lend clarity to what needs to be accomplished and which outcomes you need to achieve in order to realise your goal.

Measurable: When a goal is measurable it enables you to evaluate whether or not the goal was achieved using a series of relevant metrics.

AttainableThe goals that you set need to be realistic in terms of what it is possible to achieve given the availability of resources, knowledge and time

Realistic: Goals that are important to you and will have a material impact on the achievement of your key objectives. Ask yourself, are the goals I have set achievable given the resources available and the consumer appetite for what my brand is setting out to achieve?

Timely: Have I set a timeline for the goals of my brand? Will I be able to attain my goal in a reasonable timeframe? Will be able to meet the associated deadlines? 

How to set objectives to help you attain your business goals

Now that your SWOT analysis and SMART goals are mapped out, it's essential to brainstorm with your team to ensure your objectives are common to all team members. First and foremost, it's imperative to work out how to create a plan that works for the whole workforce. Make every team member feel valued, important, fully involved and motivated to achieve shared brand success. Reward those who go above and beyond what goals you have set. Performance management systems are key in attributing assignments to your team. Made up of five component processes from planning, monitoring, developing, rating and rewarding, each stage helps your staff to support each other helping to achieve natural and effective performance management.

Action plans are helpful in attributing tasks to team members. Apps like Slack and ClickUp can be used to appoint and monitor tasks, attributing responsibility for projects to individuals. This is motivating and offers those undertaking the project the opportunity to demonstrate their talents when working independently.

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