Every business must have a clearly set and articulated list of goals to be successful. Of course, your ultimate goal would be to gain more business, However, that is too broad of a goal. How do you expect to achieve it? In what way? When do you want to accomplish it? Whether your business is small or large, your success will depend on your ability to set and accomplish goals. Consider using the SMART acronym as a guide for setting business goals.

The SMART acronym is based on the following five elements:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Keep reading to learn how to implement these principles into your goal setting process.


The best goals are focused and well-defined. For example, “expand our services to two or more surrounding cites” is a much better goal that will drive you and your team as opposed to, “get more business”. In addition to making your goals specific, make sure that they are formulated as simply as possible. This way it is better understood by others and most importantly, yourself. Think about the following questions to formulate a specific goal:

  1. Who is actually involved in your goal?
  2. What is it that you are looking to accomplish?
  3. Where is the objective to be accomplished?
  4. When would you like to accomplish said objective?
  5. What are the reasons for accomplishing it?


You want to be sure that your goal is measurable by some sort of unit. Numbers are an essential part of business and will help you stay on track and better analyze your progress. For example, if your goal is hiring a new assistant, you may track your progress by taking note of how many applications you have reviewed and how many applicants you have interviewed. Setting milestones will help you re-evaluate and course-correct your process as needed. These questions will help determine if your goal is measurable:

  1. How many/much do I want?
  2. How do I know if I have reached my goal?
  3. What is my indicator of progress?


A goal with a bar that is set too high can result in being unmotivated to follow through with it. Understand that some big goals will take longer to achieve. If you have a larger goal, consider breaking it down into several smaller goals that will ultimately get you to your final goal. Answer the following questions to ensure that your goal is realistically achievable:

  1. Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
  2. Have others done it successfully before?


When setting your goals, each of them should align with your overall values. If you find that a goal will not contribute to the broader objective of your entire business, then you should re-evaluate it. In addition to a goal being in alignment with your entire mission, it must also be relevant to your industry at the time. For example, a goal to have your revenue increase by 60% in the next year during a recession and with four new competitors opening their doors is not one that is relevant to the realities of your market right now.


Goals and objectives are less likely to get done if there is not some sort of timeline or deadline put in place. Creating an end date or several milestone dates along the way is a great way to motivate you and help you prioritize. The following questions will help your figure out a timeline for your goals:

  1. Does my goal have a deadline?
  2. By when do I want to achieve my goal?

Using the SMART method as guide for your goal setting will establish boundaries and define the steps you will need to take. Additionally, it will help you identify what resources are necessary to get there and what milestones will indicate progress along the way. SMART goals are a sure way to improve your chances of achieving your goals efficiently and effectively.

Setting your goals is the easy part. It takes a lot of work to get from here to success. At trades.org we specialize to helping trade pros set and accomplish their goals. We can support you as your grow your business, increase your income and build the life you want for you and your family.