New Year. New SMART Goals.

setting-smart-business-goalsJanuary is a great month for renewed focus and motivation. So why not take the opportunity to plan ahead and set new goals? With the busy festive season behind us, and half of the winter (hopefully) out of the way, there is now an open space to think about what you want to achieve this year, and then take action. Setting SMART goals is the key to success.

What makes a goal a SMART goal?

SMART is a methodology to help with effective goal setting.

Most goals fail because they are not realistic, or, they are not specific enough to be able to track properly.

Applying a few simple rules to your 2017 goals, could be the difference between success and failure.

SMART goals are:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time based

Examples of SMART goals for Small Business Owners and Contractors

Take for example, if you want to grow your business or your contract income this year. Applying SMART to your goal will give you focus to help you realise your intention.
setting-goalsSmall business owners
Instead of saying “I want to grow my business”, your SMART goal would be something like “I want to grow my business by 10%, by 31 December 2017”. This not only makes it specific, measurable and time-based, but also, most likely, it is realistic and achievable.
Instead of saying “I want to earn more this year”, your SMART goal would be something like “I want to increase my contract day-rate from £300 to £350, by April 2017”.  This goal is specific, measurable and time-based, as well as also, most likely, realistic and achievable.

Set SMART goals within your SMART goals

Most goals are not achievable in isolation. They require mini-goals, or tasks, to act as stepping-stones along the path to success.

If you want to grow your small business by 10% in 2017, then measures need to be put in place every month to see that you meet the end goal. These could include:

  • analysing your current income stream, so you can maximise the sources that are working well
  • recruiting more resources to help deal with expansion
  • rethinking your product or service to make it more attractive to your customers
  • increasing your marketing spend, to entice more customers to your door
  • improving your sales pitch, so more customers actually sign up

Whatever those tasks are, they need to be treated in the same way as the overall goal – they need to be SMART.

For contractors, the same logic applies for if you want to increase your contract value. First, you may need to connect with more agents, suss out the current market, update your CV and social presence, network, carry out some additional training, and so on. Assign deadlines to each task to make them time-based, and ensure they are realistic given any other commitments you have.


 “A goal without a plan is just a wish”

A goal without a plan is just a wish, so it is important to take pen to paper and write everything down. If you prefer to stick to electronic means, this is fine, the important thing is to document your goals and the specific details.

However, achievement of goals is typically linked to ensuring you see something every day that reminds you of what you are setting out to do – so make it visible.

Create a successful strategy for 2017:

  • Write down your goals
  • Make them SMART
  • Add tasks to your goals
  • Make them SMART too
  • Ensure you place your Goal List somewhere visible
  • Revisit your plan as often as you can, at least monthly
  • Give yourself ticks for the things you achieve along the way, so you can see the progress

If your goals this year include making more profit, having more take-home pay, saving tax and saving time, then seek specialist advice from professionals that can help you achieve your goals.

AJN Accountants are specialists in helping contractors, freelancers and small businesses to save tax and time.


Please contact us for more information:
T: 020 3866 8951

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