Jim Collins wrote about what he calls “The Flywheel Effect” in his seminal tome, From Good to Great. He uses the concept to illustrate the fact that achieving critical momentum in a business requires many small things, not one big push. As anyone running an MSP company can appreciate, that mix of little inputs that gets the flywheel moving is a combination of basic business rules, creativity, and a certain amount of luck.
Having achieved that momentum, however, you don’t want to lose it. One powerful way to maintain momentum is to have SMART goals. We have expanded the SMART goal methodology slightly to highlight the importance of clear goals.
The Importance of Clear Goals
Everything from personal development to business growth benefits from clear goals. Having clear goals is to business planning, as destinations are to journey planning. If you don’t know where you’re going in your car, you can’t figure out what route to take. It’s the same in business: if you don’t know what your goals are, you can’t plan how to achieve them.
What are Clear Goals?
Goals are clear when there is little or no room for confusion or misinterpreting what they mean. The SMART goal-setting methodology helps in setting clear goals. You can tweak it slightly to help clarify goals.
The conventional SMART methodology uses the terms “specific” and “clear” interchangeably. We see clear as requiring both Specific and Measurable, the first two components of SMART.
Therefore, you can set Specific and Measurable apart slightly in order to underline the need for goals to be clear. By ensuring your goals meet the first two conditions of the SMART approach, you will also ensure they are clear.
- Specific – Your goal must be specific. This means the goal must be specified or described in such a way that it can meet the next condition.
- Measurable – A goal that is sufficiently specific should be measurable. Some things are hard to quantify. It is difficult, though not impossible, to measure happiness. It is easy to measure sales and, therefore, changes in sales.
In addition to being clear, the goals you set for your MSP company also need to meet other conditions, these provide the rest of SMART goal strategy.
- Achievable/Attainable – There is no point in setting goals that cannot be achieved. Failure to meet goals is dispiriting and will cost you momentum, so set goals that can be achieved, even if that requires an almighty push from your organization.
- Relevant – Achieving the goal you’ve set must have a relevant effect on your business.
- Timely – Your goal needs to have a deadline.
Here is an example of setting a SMART goal for maintaining momentum:
- Overall Goal: We will build on our existing business momentum.
- Specific: We will expand our sales revenue by 10%.
- Measurable: We will measure our new sales revenue and maintain revenue from existing sales/clients.
- Achievable: Our new partnership with a consultancy has opened three new valuable markets and we have just hired two proven sales leaders.
- Relevant: Expanding our sales revenue by 10% will allow us to drive further momentum.
- Timely: Our sales revenue by the end of this financial year will be 10% higher than it was in the previous financial year.
- SMART Goal: We will grow sales revenue by 10% within this financial year utilizing new sales leaders and our new partnership. This will allow us to drive further business momentum.
You can see how applying the SMART goal-setting methodology, underlining the importance of Specific and Measurable, helps to ensure your goals are clear. That clarity is what drives success and, in turn, should help your MSP company continue to grow. Now that you’ve set your SMART goals, you should find that setting the appropriate strategy should be much easier.