Set yourself up for success in 2015 with SMART goals

For many of us, the New Year represents a chance to set personal goals or commit to resolutions with the aim of giving ourselves ‘two thumbs’ come December 31. However, many of us often don’t last longer than a month, surrendering to too many factors that make the goal unachievable. Often it’s because we set ones that have been rehashed year-on-year (the constant “this is the year” statement), or they are too lofty that the reality of achieving them is nearly impossible.

Yet, those who do look back 12 months later in success can reflect on having set SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.

Brands and business aren’t any different. The New Year provides an opportunity for them to look back at what worked, what didn’t work, gain clarity on where they want to head, refresh current practices and set new goals, that are SMART.

To start, all you need is a pen! The act of writing your goals down significantly contributes to their attainment as it represents a physical commitment to putting that idea into action.

For example, a goal could be to increase market share from 5% to 15% by the 1st of December, 2015 by doubling our sales force and widening distribution and reach to become a category leader.

So, let’s break it down:

Specific – The goal shouldn’t be complicated. It should be simple, written down for the entire team to see and clearly articulate what you are going to do to achieve it.

Increase market share.

Measureable – Use tangible evidence to show that you have accomplished the goal.

From 5% to 15%.

Achievable – The goal should stretch you, but is clearly defined so that you can achieve it. Ensure you have the right skills in place to meet it.

Double sales force.

Results-focused – The goal should measure outcomes, not activities.

Become a category leader.

Time-bound – The goal should be linked to an achievable timeframe that creates a sense of urgency.

Increasing market share may seem like a lofty goal for many, but it’s ultimately a goal most businesses have.

SMART goals provide a clear direction that the whole team can stick to. Creating concise and realistic ones, supported by a thorough plan, is one of the most valuable tasks you can do at the start of a New Year. Not only does it help everyone work towards the same end point, but it also provides guidance if there is ever a sticky situation.

Don’t dwell on past or failed goals. Learning what went wrong and how to improve, or what went right and how to do more of it, is crucial to a fresh start.

Regardless of what your goal, make sure it’s SMART and focus on the future, not the past.

Just like fireworks mark the New Year with vibrant colours and loud blasts, brands can also begin 2015 with a bang.