What is SMART?

SMART goal setting is a methodology characterising goals as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, becomes invaluable. Originally conceived by George T. Doran in 1981, SMART goals have evolved into a fundamental tool in business strategy, helping organisations worldwide to navigate their aspirations with precision and practicality.

Consider a UK-based textile company aiming to expand its market presence. Rather than setting a vague goal like “increase sales,” a SMART goal would be: “Increase sales in the European market by 15% within the next fiscal year through enhanced digital marketing and distributor partnerships.”

SMART Goal Setting


The ‘S’ in SMART stands for Specific, urging goals to be clear and unambiguous. Specificity serves as a compass, directing efforts and resources towards a well-defined target.

For instance, a software development firm might set a goal to “improve software efficiency.” However, a more specific goal would be: “Enhance the processing speed of our flagship product by optimising code and reducing load time by 30% within six months.” This precision lays a clear path for the team.


Measurable goals allow for tracking progress and assessing achievement. They should include quantifiable criteria to gauge the extent to which a goal is accomplished.

An example could be an international consultancy firm aiming to boost client satisfaction. A measurable goal would be: “Achieve a 20% increase in client satisfaction scores as measured by our quarterly feedback surveys over the next year.”


Goals must be realistic and attainable. Setting an achievable goal entails evaluating resources, constraints, and external factors. It motivates teams by presenting a challenge that is tough yet possible.

Consider a retail chain aiming to reduce operational costs. An achievable goal might be: “Reduce operational costs by 10% over the next 12 months by optimising supply chain management and enhancing staff training programmes.”


Relevance ensures that the goal aligns with broader business objectives and values. It confirms the goal’s significance and appropriateness in the current business context.

A British pharmaceutical company might aspire to innovate. A relevant goal for them could be: “Develop three new patentable drug formulations in the next 18 months, focusing on cardiovascular and diabetic treatments, aligning with our mission to combat chronic diseases.”


Adding a time frame provides a sense of urgency and a deadline for achieving the goal. It helps in prioritising tasks and managing time effectively.

A hospitality business looking to expand could set a time-bound goal like: “Open five new boutique hotels in key European cities within the next three years, focusing first on Paris and Rome.”

SMART goal setting

SMART goal setting is more than a mere framework; it’s a strategic approach that transforms vision into actionable objectives. By incorporating these principles, businesses worldwide can navigate the complexities of the global market with clarity and purpose. Remember, a goal well set is halfway met. As you embark on your next business venture, let SMART goals be your guide to success.