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  • Writer's pictureNick Andriacchi

Setting SMART Goals for 2024

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

The holidays are quickly approaching and we are optimistically looking forward to 2024. Most companies are setting goals for the 2024 and staffers in particular have some challenges to address with a potentially slowing labor market. Having said that, it is of utmost importance to set those goals and use a method that works.

When I was involved in setting companywide goals, we as a team used the SMART goal method. SMART is an acronym for the 5 elements: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results. This is especially helpful for small businesses that tend not to have time to develop an intricate annual action plan.

Most of my clients fall into this category and that’s ok. They are part of the backbone of the staffing industry – the innovators and risk takers. Those staffers can benefit by using SMART goals as a template for a successful year.

For purposes of this post, I will use sales and revenue as examples.

  • Specific

Get away from generic statements like “we need to get more business” this year. Like an empty gym in February, generic goals tend not go anywhere. Be more specific like “there are 2 or 3 accounts in the pipeline that could potentially add 15% to the bottom line”. Then work on the “how” these goals will be achieved.

  • Measurable

A goal without a measurable outcome is like playing a game without keeping score. Numbers are an essential part of any business. Put concrete numbers in your goals to know if you’re on track.

I would advise to not fall into the trap of focusing on specific activity. For example, sales departments that focus on value should not focus on measuring the number of calls for the sales force to reach. The problem with this type of measurement is that most of the sales people will focus on “hitting the numbers” as opposed to the “hitting the ultimate goal” - which is a revernue generating sale. Encouraging this behavior will not build rapport with the potential clients and unfortunately will sales suffer – short and long term.

  • Attainable

Far too often, small businesses set goals beyond reach. One my old team members used to suggest that we need to double business for the new year. Really?? If that became the goal, it would be dismissed as that isn’t attainable. Goals should be a positive motivator not negative.

  • Relevant

Achievable business goals are based on the current conditions and realities of the business climate. You may desire to have your best year in business or increase revenue by 50%, but if a recession is looming and three new competitors opened in your market, then your goals aren’t relevant to the realities of the market.

Also, how is your business positioned in the marketplace? For example, if the company is a boutique seller of staffing with margins higher than the competition – then that must be taken into consideration before setting a sales goal. Not all companies set out to be the biggest and would rather not sacrifice margins for higher market share.

  • Time-Based

Having a time-frame to accomplish goals is a must. Whether your business goal is to increase revenue by 25% or land those 2 or 3 new clients, choose a time-frame to accomplish your goal.

It’s important to periodically review your goals and make adjustments if necessary. If the entire staff is missing their goals, then make adjustments because it’s probably not the fault of their efforts. If the company doesn’t acknowledge that, then its highly likely the best producers will find employment elsewhere which is devastating for any business.

I hope 2024 is a healthy, productive and prosperous time for your business.

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