If there’s one thing we know about goals, they have to be SMART, right? After all, that’s what we’ve been told for years. The only thing that matters is that your goals are specific, measure-able, attainable, realistic and timely. When it comes to Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs, SMART goals may not help you grow your business, but they can help you maintain your business.
What do I mean don’t use SMART goals?
I take lots of walks and on my walks, I run into many of the same individuals, one gentleman I occasionally get to chat with used to work for G.E. (General Electric) under Jack Welch. My walking buddy usually asked me about my business and how things are going. I said, “Honestly, business is fine but not growing like I would like.”
He said, “Are you setting SMART Goals for your business?”
I said, “Well yes, actually I do set SMART Goals each year.”
“There’s your problem, we found that SMART goals work but not for all departments of GE. Production departments work great with SMART goals but not creative departments like marketing.”
“Hmmm that’s interesting. What works better for those creative types?”
“We had to come up with STRETCH goals for those creative folks.”
“Can you give me an example of a STRETCH Goal?
“Sure, basically we’d ask the departments to come up with SMART Goals and then we’d ask them to DREAM bigger. You see they knew exactly what they could do in the past so that’s what they would put down for their department. They didn’t want to be penalized for going too big with their goals.”
“I LOVE that! I must set DREAMY Goals!”
I implemented DREAM goals shortly after that conversation with my friend and started envisioning what I really wanted for myself and my business. Today, I am living in my dream home closer to the beach.
SMART Goals work for some but It’s Better to DREAM BIG when Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs
SMART goals looks great on paper—and clearly they are easy to remember—it doesn’t go far enough for those of us who want to achieve big things.
Think about it. Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, frequent beach travel, and enough money to fund a mission trip (or three). Seems pretty clear that those safe, SMART goals aren’t going to get you there.
In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.
Consider what happens when you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year. You might work 10% more. You might spend 10% more on ads or product creation. You might even reach out to 10% more potential clients.
And you’ll likely earn about 10% more.
“Not bad!” you say. After all, that was your goal.
But did that 10% goal inspire you to work harder? Or did it create a subconscious ceiling on your earning potential that you’re unable to break through?
Rather than focusing on goals that are attainable and realistic, savvy entrepreneurs know that the key to incredible success lies in creating big lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.
Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs Who Dream Big
When it comes to goal setting for entrepreneurs who dream big, we don’t strive to earn 10% more than last year. We want 50% or even 100% more. We stretch ourselves. We find new—and better—ways to do things, so they don’t have to work twice as hard, but we remain open to the possibility of doing so—at least in the short term—when it’s necessary.
Of course, you cannot simply declare crazy goals and expect someone to hand them to you. And that’s exactly why putting aside those smart goals is so…smart. When you shun the attainable in favor of the “holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.
So push your boundaries. When it comes to goal setting for entrepreneurs; Set big, DREAMY goals. Even if you fail, you’ll be much further ahead than those SMART goals would leave you.