× Freshbooks App Logo
FreshBooks
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
4 Min. Read

What are SMART goals? Acronym Explained

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time-Related. Businesses use SMART to help determine if a goal is viable. The concept was originally developed in 1981 as a way to write meaningful objectives. SMART goals are a popular project management technique.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Are the Five SMART Goals?

Why Are SMART Goals Important?

SMART Goals Example

How Do You Write a SMART Goal?

What Does SMARTER Goals Stand For?

What Are the Five SMART Goals?

The five SMART goals are as follows:

Specific

What is the objective? Who are all the stakeholders involved?

Measurable

How do we measure success, specifically?

Assignable (sometimes listed as “Attainable” or “Achievable”)

Who will lead this initiative? Will this person have enough resources, including manpower, to make this project a success?

Realistic (sometimes listed as “Relevant”).

Is the goal realistic, with the time and resources available? Does the project outcome align with the business model of the company?

When do we expect the intended result by?

The SMART acronym was first presented in 1981 by George T. Doran in a magazine article entitled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write Management’s Goals and Objectives”.

Why Are SMART Goals Important?

SMART goals are important because they allow the management of a company to see if an objective can be obtained within a specific time period. This is before resources have been assigned or work has officially begun.

The act of writing goals down is also important. Studies have revealed that when goals are written down, they are more likely to be achieved.

How Do You Write a SMART Goal?

To write a SMART goal, write out each word of the acronym down the left side of a blank page. Start with the word “Specific” and place the subsequent words underneath each other, in order.

Leave space on the right to fill in information next to each word.

For more on this, see the next section for an example.

SMART Goals Example

Here is an example of SMART goals in action.

Cal’s Clothiers is a men’s clothing store in San Diego, California. Cal is attempting to increase the company’s email marketing open rate (open rate refers to the percentage of recipients who’ve opened an email they’ve received).

SMART

Cal’s Clothiers, Email Marketing Program

Specific

Goal is to increase email open rate by 20% in January.

Measurable

Trackable via current email marketing program.

Assignable/Attainable/Achievable

The following will happen:

  • Cal’s marketing manager, Mike, will oversee the project.
  • Project will be given top priority with the creative team, so that they can design a new email template with new style, font, and colours, in time.
  • Mike will reword the subject heading, to attract more people to open it. As an additional incentive, special discount will be offered.
  • Merchandising department will support the discount.

Realistic/Relevant

Please note:

  • Timeline is realistic and very doable.
  • Project aligns with the new year’s strategy of driving sales to reduce winter inventory.
  • Project aligns with strategy of getting more people into stores in January, a typically slow period for the company.

Time-Related

Please note:

  • 2 emails will be sent, on Jan 8th and Jan 21st, to customers.
  • Open rate increase of 20% expected with these emails.

 

What Does SMARTER Goals Stand For?

The SMART acronym has been expanded in some business circles, to include two more words on the end. SMARTER stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Assignable (“Attainable” or “Achievable”)

Realistic (or “Relevant”)

Time-Related

Evaluate

Management should evaluate periodically how the project is coming along, and if it still aligns with the original goal. These evaluations can and should be included in the project’s schedule. This will help to ensure the project’s success.

Readjust (also known as “Revisited”).

The stakeholders should be willing and able to readjust the plan, during the course of the project, in order to keep it on track. At the very minimum, stakeholders will learn what needs to be addressed earlier next time, should the project be repeated (this information should also be part of a post-mortem meeting).

 

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Save time Billing and Get Paid 2x Faster with FreshBooks

Try FreshBooks Free