How to set SMART goals

SMART goals make vague wishes clear and measurable. This will increase your chances of achieving your goals and making your business a success. Learn how to formulate your SMART goals.

SMART goals keep you sharp and focused, whether for individual assignments or an overall communication plan. The SMART method also helps you achieve your goals within a certain period of time.

What are SMART goals?

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. The SMART method will help you set clear and concrete goals. This can also be helpful for defining your goals with a business partner. And if you are working on a freelance basis, SMART goals will help you to stay sharp while working towards your goals.

Formulating SMART goals


Make you goals specific. Mention details and make clear what you have in mind. You can do so by describing what you want to achieve in concrete terms. Do not use words that can be interpreted in multiple ways. This will avoid confusion.

Example: "I want to achieve a turnover of €50,000 in the first year of my shea butter webshop."


Link numbers to your goals. For example, think of how much turnover you want to make, the number of transactions, delivery time, or how satisfied your customers are. Express these numbers in percentages or in fixed numbers. Also make sure you can measure these numbers.

Example: "For an annual turnover of €50,000, I need to sell an average of €4,167 per month. That means I need to sell an average of 208 €20 jars of shea butter per month."


That your goal is acceptable is especially important when working with others. Everyone involved in the goal must agree to it. If you work alone, you are the only one who has to stand behind the goal.

Example: "To keep more of the turnover of €50,000, I want to reduce the cost of purchasing by 10%. To this end, I am negotiating with my main supplier."


Your goals have to be achievable. The trick is to set goals that are not too easy, but not unachievable. If the goal is too easy, extra effort is unnecessary. But knowing that you have no way of achieving your goal can be demotivating. A realistic goal is an ambitious challenge, that you are happy to work hard for.

Example: "I have done market research. There are few competitors and the demand for shea butter is rising. I can source my product cheaply. This makes it realistic to offer it at a lower price than the competitor does."


Write down when the activities start and end. A deadline makes planning easier. Then it's time to examine what went well and what could be better. This will help you set new SMART goals.

Example: "I started my webshop this year on 1 July, so by 30 June next year, I want to have achieved my goal."

Stay flexible

The SMART method works for all types of goals. From work to health, and from study to sport. Just be careful that these frameworks do not limit your creativity and freedom. If you are too focused on your SMART goal, you may overlook other opportunities. So consider your goals regularly and adjust them as needed.