How to Set SMART Business Goals That Actually Work

goals, planning

The start of a new year, or a new financial year, and what do most of us do? Set New Year’s resolutions! And after a month or so what typically happens? We fail! After all, as the story goes, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. And despite all good intentions that’s exactly what I’ve done before! So now I plan ahead to manifest a year of success!

The “Why”

Before creating your SMART Goals and action plans, make sure you consider your ‘why’ – without the why there will be little motivation to achieve your goals. A common and generic resolution is to lose weight. However, when faced with tasty food or a minor injury we typically lose track and our resolution just gets deferred to the next day, week, month or even year. If however you have a motivator – to fit that wedding dress, to get healthier so you get to enjoy spending time with your children – then when you consider eating that unhealthy food, or ditching that exercise, you can remind yourself ‘why’, which should often be enough to keep you on track!

Whole of life

Many business owners or career professionals start by setting their business or career goals, but this is a recipe for disaster! Why? Because we aren’t considering the other important aspects of our life. Think what would it look like if I blitz every goal in my work but at the end of the year my relationship is over, my kids disown me and I’m desperately unhappy, because I can’t remember the last time I actually had some fun!

Future Achievement Australia use the 7F’s: family, friends, fun, faith (can be non-religious as in your core values), fitness, financial and firm (the latter means work and education). Before narrowing down your goals consider what you would like to achieve in each area. Ideally set some short and long term goals including at least one Wildly Audacious Goal – the WAG. The WAG is what will most likely make the most difference in your life.

How about setting SMART goals and action plans instead of those New Year and New Financial Year resolutions.

So what are SMART goals again?

The acronym has many versions, but essentially they cover all the same ideas:

S – specific / straight-forward (easy to understand)

M – measurable (even set a key performance indicator) / meaningful

A – achievable / attainable / action oriented

R – realistic / relevant / results driven

T – timely / time constrained

In the interests of being achievable, try to narrow your focus onto one or two key goals. You may want to park some high level goals for later, but make sure your high priority goals are tackled first!

Action plans

Setting goals is great, but often our goals are substantial, and become overwhelming. Chunk down the goals into actions and plan accordingly (making the actions SMART too). For instance, setting a goal to run a marathon in two years for a non-runner, will seem near impossible. Layout plans to run 1km non-stop in a month, then 5km in two months etc. The goal becomes realistic and achievable. You change your mindset and actually start believing in yourself, which also helps you achieve success.

The small stuff

Don’t let the small stuff derail you! Focus back on your why, and if need be, make adjustments to your action plans and goals to re-focus on achieving your goals.

Small (and large) business goals

Always write out your personal goals first, and then complete the same task for your small business (or career) making sure to align your business goals with your mission or vision for your business, and your personal goals. This ensures you’re realistic and don’t compromise what’s most important in your life, whether you realise it or not.

Template and feedback

If you’re interested in a free goal and action plan setting course please let me know (in exchange for your consent to email you – I can promise I won’t spam you – I hate that myself!). The course is being moved platform and will be available again later in Q1 2020.

Please note this blog doesn’t cover all aspects of goal setting, but is more a taster of what you should be doing. Happy to hear any comments or suggestions for improvement!

About Jane Tweedy

Jane loves to help people succeed, and this she primarily does through helping small business owners as a small business advisor, business coach and mentor, and also individuals through job search coaching. Jane enjoys training, especially in small groups where interactive sessions can be held to bring in the experience of the participants, which always adds an extra dimension to the participants learning outcomes.

In 2018 Jane launched two new businesses – How to Job Search and FAQ Business Training. This was followed in 2019 by another, Business Action Networking. Jane also works for Western Sydney Business Centre under the NSW Government Business Connect program 2 days a week.

Jane can be contacted via the contact page.




About FAQ Business Training

If this is the first time you’ve come across us you may want to know who we are! FAQ Business Training has a mission to educate and empower small business owners to learn enough to do it yourself (DIY) or outsource with confidence. We do this via face to face training in Western Sydney (currently all training is provided online), speaking at conferences, events and networking groups and we have launched our online school and membership, offering online courses and webinars to appeal to a global (English speaking) audience. Connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Found something useful in this blog? There’s plenty more to check out …


FAQ Business Training Australia