Do you set SMART goals?

You may dream of what your business could be like, but have you taken any steps towards that dream? Set SMART goals, break it down and put your plan into action …

Stephen R Covey wrote about the 7 Habits of highly effective people, which, I believe, is well worth a read for any business owner. Perhaps the most important aspects are the first three he focuses on:

  1. Habit 1 – be proactive
    This is the ability to control one’s environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. Self-determination, choice, and the power to decide your response to particular stimulus, conditions and circumstances.
  2. Habit 2 – begin with the end in mind
    Covey calls this ‘the habit of personal leadership’ as in leading oneself towards what you consider to be your aims. By developing the habit of concentrating on relevant activities, you will build a platform to avoid distractions and become more productive and successful.
  3. Habit 3 – put first things first
    This is called ‘the habit of personal management’. It’s about organising and implementing activities in line with the aims you established in habit 2. (See the section on time management.)

When I first meet with a new client, one of the first things I ask is, “do you have a business plan?” I can honestly say that in the many years I have spent coaching business owners, very rarely is the answer yes.

If they do have a plan, what does it look like and does it directly relate to your personal and business goals? This invariably gets another negative response!


So why is it that so many people who run their own business do not set goals and then have a plan to work towards achieving those goals?

  • Lack of goal setting
  • Lack of a SMART plan
  • Poor time management
  • Poor delegation skills
  • Distractions

A goal setting plan creates a bridge between today’s dream and tomorrow’s reality.


Without a plan of the what, when, why, how and who, goals alone will not get you to your destination. Once you have your goals start your plan today!

Another reason that some business owners fail to work towards their goals is the confusion over time management. Identifying what are the next steps and in what order to complete tasks.

What tasks you should complete personally and what tasks should you avoid and/or delegate. The two main criteria on which you should evaluate tasks are importance and urgency.


  • Quadrant 1: High Importance – High Urgency
    These are the most pressing tasks you should focus on immediately. These are the crises that will erupt if you don’t. The most urgent meetings or deadlines fall into this category. When we do fire-fighting, it’s all relating to stuff in this quadrant.
  • Quadrant 2: High Importance – Low Urgency
    These are the things that matter in the long-term but will yield no tangible benefits immediately. They are things we know we need to get done and will have an impact on the business if they aren’t completed. It’s having a lunch with a significant contact or client, relationship-building and long-term planning.
  • Quadrant 3: Low Importance – High Urgency
    These tasks are the biggest reason you are not more successful in the long-term! They clog up your time today, but when you look back at these things, you will have to admit they were a waste of time. These are interruptions that happen, such as unnecessary phone calls, poorly thought-out meetings that soak up hours of your time, activities which you believe in the moment that you must do, but if you stopped to really think about these tasks, you would realise they aren’t that important.
  • Quadrant 4: Low Importantance – Low Urgency
    These are the things you do when you’re tired and need a break. It’s checking Facebook and Twitter during the day, because we think we might miss something. It might be mindlessly eating potato chips, even though we’re not hungry. You will be amazed how much time you spend in this quadrant wasting time and avoiding the most important task that will make a difference to your business.

To successfully use this method of planning, you must have a very clear understanding of what is important to you and what both your long-term personal and business goals are.


“Remember that people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan!”


If you’d like some help setting SMART goals and taking the steps you need to move your business toward them, do give me a call on 01280 700405 or click here to ping me an email and let’s see how I can help you.

Until next time …