CEDIA is over. Make SMARTER Goals 1

CEDIA is over. Make SMARTER Goals

Another CEDIA EXPO is in the books, and custom integrators across the globe are filled with piss and vinegar and possibilities. They're making plans, signing up with new manufacturers and figuring out how to gain a competitive edge. They're also trying to figure out how to become or stay profitable and relevant. It's no small task.

There's no doubt about it, the small custom integrator wears a lot of hats. The owner, installer, programmer, salesperson, the network specialist, accountant, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's no wonder all of those grand plans hatched during the few drunken days at CEDIA EXPO fall by the wayside. It's hard to find the time and life has a tendency to get in the way. You get busy. Until you're not busy, and then panic sets in.

It's easy to make those plans a reality, if you make goals. To be more specific, you need to make SMARTER goals.

To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

Specific (simple, significant).

Measurable (meaningful, motivating).

Achievable (attainable with effort).

Realistic (reasonable, practical, results-based).

Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Evaluated (evaluate every single day)

Reviewed (review and re-adjust strategies as needed)

1. Specific

Your goals must be specific. Otherwise, you won't be able to focus your efforts or get motivated to achieve them. When outlining your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why is this goal important?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where is it located?
  • Which resources or limits are involved?

2. Measurable

It's important to have measurable goals so you can track your progress and keep motivated. It helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal and growing your business.

A measurable goal should address questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

3. Achievable

Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should require work... but not a miracle. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to find overlooked opportunities that can bring you closer to it.

An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors and manpower?

4. Realistic

This step assures the goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it's important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you're still responsible for achieving your own goal.

A realistic goal can answer "yes" to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match your other efforts?
  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?
  • Is it applicable to the current socio-economic environment?

5. Time-bound

Every goal needs a target date, so you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMARTER goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your SMARTER goals.

A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:

  • When?
  • What can I do today?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do six months from now?

6. Evaluate

By evaluating your plan every single day, you’ll be much more likely to achieve them. Why is that? Well, long-term goals (and also goals that are 3 months or 6 months out), can easily be ignored if they aren’t evaluated every single day.

Make sure that you set up a system for evaluating your goals and you make the evaluation of your goals habitual. Don’t ignore this all-important step.

7. Review

If, for example, you find yourself pursuing a goal but continuously hitting a brick wall, review your strategy. For example, when a pitcher has a goal of throwing a curveball, he has to evaluate his progress continually and readjust his delivery to ensure the ball reaches the catcher's glove. The pitcher reviews and adjusts until he has confidence that his curveball is working. You should be doing the same for your goals.

If your plans are not working, a review doesn’t mean that you throw your goals out and start all over. What it means is that you have to try different approaches until you find yourself getting closer and closer to your goals. That’s why constant evaluation on a daily basis is so critical. If you don’t evaluate, you can’t measure your progress.

Applying SMARTER to your business.

Try setting SMARTER goals to help make your business plans specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. You might find that the real reason you haven't grown your business is that your plans have been too vague or unrealistic. Think about how you can adjust your vision and rephrase it as a SMARTER goal.

In the end, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Stop wishing and start planning today. Don't wait until the New Year to start thinking about new business strategies.

Paul Ryan Design is committed to helping custom integrators build their influence, income, and impact with an online presence.

Questions for Paul? click here. Put our experience and insight to work for your custom integration business today.

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