Do you ever feel like you’re working harder but not really getting anywhere?  Setting SMART goals for 2020 will align your team toward an important target while helping to alleviate the natural tendency to fall off-track along the way.

Whether you’re in the process of starting a business, or you’ve been leading a small business for years, goal setting is an important predictor of future success.  Goals keep teams focused, motivated and growing in the right direction.  However, a goal such as, “increasing sales” isn’t specific enough.  Vague goals leave everyone  unclear on what success looks like or how to achieve it.


Setting SMART Goals for 2020

If a goal is SMART it means it is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Goals that include these elements will keep everyone on the same page and working toward a common objective.


What it means to be SMART?

Specifically, each of these components bring about questions to consider.

  • Specific:  What needs to be accomplished?  Who is responsible for it?  What steps will be taken to achieve it?
  • Measurable:  How is the goal quantified?  Can progress be tracked?
  • Attainable:  Goals should be empowering, not impossible.  Can the goal be accomplished realistically?  What may impede the plan?
  • Relevant:  What is the real benefit of this goal and does it matter to our business?  Why is the goal important?
  • Timely:  Does this goal have a deadline?  They shouldn’t stretch to infinity.


Examples of SMART Goals

Example #1:
  • Common Goal:  “I Want to Increase Profits”
  • SMART Goal“In the next three months, I will increase sales by 10% and move into a new building that will cut expenditures by 5%”.
    • Specific:  The goal outlines exactly what success will look like.
    • Measurable:  The increase in sales and reduction in costs can be easily tracked
    • Attainable:  The business owner joined a networking club, which is bringing new referrals in.  Also, a commercial realtor is scouting properties for relocation.
    • Relevant:  Owning your own building lowers expenditures, eliminates the risk of future lease hikes and allows for custom meeting space in which to host new referrals/clients
    • Timely:  Three months have been allotted for acquiring five new clients and purchasing a new facility
Example #2:
  • Common Goal:  “I Want to Be More Efficient”
  • SMART Goal“In the next six months, I will purchase new equipment that will optimize processes, produce a new product using leftover materials and eliminate waste by 10%”
    • Specific:  The goal outlines exactly what success will look like
    • Measurable:  The decrease in waste can be tracked
    • Attainable:  The business owner has the necessary staff in place to operate new equipment
    • Relevant:  Becoming more efficient and expanding the product line are both beneficial components of growth
    • Timely:  Six months have been allotted during which to acquire and install new equipment and make it operational


Putting Goals Into Practice

It’s not enough to set one goal and achieve it.  If you want your business to continue being successful, consider the following:

  • Put your goals in writing:  Make it a solid reminder of what you and your team are working toward.
  • Set regular check-ins:  Don’t fall off track or forget where you’re headed.  Any goal worth achieving won’t happen overnight, so it’s important to check your progress regularly.
  • Celebrate wins:  recognize milestones along the way to keep you and your team motivated
  • Pivot:  When obstacles are encountered, be open to editing the goal so it still applies to the SMART elements
  • Revise:  Once you’ve achieved a goal, set a new SMART goal and tackle another area of business
  • Optimize:  Once you’ve achieved a goal, set a new one that’s more aggressive and will help grow your business

SMART goals help businesses focus, so its employees can achieve short-term and long-term success while staying realistic and motivated.



Make a habit of focusing on how you want your business to grow and the specific actions that will be taken to get there.  SMART goal setting is a powerful process for envisioning your ideal future and motivating yourself to turn that vision into a reality.


About Growth Corp

Growth Corp is a non-profit Certified Development Company (CDC) promoting economic development within local communities through the SBA’s 504 Loan Program. We are regulated by SBA and work with local lenders (typically banks) to provide expansion financing to qualifying small businesses. The 504 Loan Program is simply one of the best financing options available for growing businesses looking to purchase commercial real estate.  Furthermore, Growth Corp is the largest CDC in Illinois, the top 504 Lender in Chicago and a market leader in quality, consistent service. In addition, Growth Corp has earned an Accredited Lender status with SBA, which grants us the ability to expedite the processing of loan approvals and closings.  Contact any member of our Lending Team to discuss your goals and ideas.