Have you heard of SMART goals? It’s no secret that goal-setting is a tried and true method of making sure stuff gets done. But if you’ve set goals before without success, you might have missed some key steps.
Setting goals for your ATM business is a good way to make sure you are successful. You might need to set goals to help get your business started to begin with. Or maybe you need to set some goals to increase profits. Or maybe you want to set some goals to help you balance your ATM business better among your other jobs and your personal life.
Whatever the case may be, SMART goals are a good place to start. We’ll show you how.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are specifically designed to help you actually achieve what you set out to do. Rather than just jotting down some items on a to-do list without any accountability, SMART goals allow you to monitor your progress toward a big-picture goal.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By making sure your business goals fit these categories, you set yourself up for success by ensuring that you have a plan to actually accomplish them. Let’s take a look at some examples of SMART goals you can set for your ATM business.
How to Set SMART Goals
How to set SMART goals is already outlined in the acronym. Think of a goal and make sure it fits all five categories. If it doesn’t, then tweak it until it does. We’ll start with a basic example—increase profit—and see how it can be turned into a SMART goal.
First, your goal needs to be specific. “Increase profit” is a good start, but it would be even better to assign a number to it. If you make just one penny more, technically you will meet this goal. But is that really what you mean when you say you want to increase profit?
Take a look at how much you have already been making. Then, decide how much more you’d like to make. Give yourself a specific number to reach. Track it along the way to make sure you are on track to meeting this milestone.
Once you make your goal more specific—increase profit by X% or increase profit to $X—you need to make sure it is measurable. Because, like we mentioned before, you want to be able to track your progress toward reaching your goal. And you want it to be clear at the end whether or not you succeeded.
Assigning a dollar amount or percent to the “increase profit” example not only makes the goal more specific, but it also ensures that your goal is measurable. Percents and dollars can be calculated. You can do some accounting at the end of the quarter or the end of the year to see if you have increased profit from last quarter.
By setting a measurable goal, you are able to keep it on the forefront of your mind. You can create a chart or graph to visibly display your progress toward your goal. Don’t blindly wait around until accounting time to see if you magically made more money.
Measuring and tracking progress makes working to achieve your goal a constant activity and therefore increases the chances that you will actually succeed. If you are actively measuring and tracking your progress toward your goal, you can make adjustments along the way if the numbers start going the wrong direction or plateau.
This one is tricky because you have to find a balance between shooting for the stars and grounding yourself in reality. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure by setting a goal that is completely out of reach, unrealistic, or unachievable. On the other hand, we want to encourage you to set high goals for yourself and to believe that you can and will achieve them.
So let’s look at our example. Increasing your profit by 10% or by $1,000 are examples of achievable goals. These numbers are realistic, and reaching them will have an obvious effect on your business, your income, your lifestyle, etc.
Earning a million dollars, for example, is not realistic. If you’re in the ATM business, you know you aren’t doing it to get rich. So you aren’t selling yourself short by lowering your goal from a million dollars because this business isn’t designed to earn you that much. It has nothing to do with your abilities, passion, drive. Just keep that balance in mind as you set your SMART goals.
Next, you want to make sure your goal is relevant. This means that whatever goals you set for your business should align with the goals you set for yourself, your family, and your personal life. If your goal is to increase profit by $1,000, but to do so means placing an additional ATM machine, then you have to consider whether the time it will take you to maintain that ATM machine will cut into other important obligations.
Say you want to increase profits. So you place an additional ATM machine. But now you have to add a few hours a week to your route. Normally you would be spending that time at home with your family. Is that business goal still relevant?
If not, adjust it! Maybe lower the profit goal to a number that could be reached by adjusting the surcharge or advertising the machine. That way you can still reach your goal, make more profit, and stay on track with the other areas of your life.
Finally, you want to set a time frame. Without it, you could be working blindly day in and day out without ever knowing for sure if you were making good progress toward your goal.
A time frame holds you accountable. And if you’re measuring or tracking your progress, you can see how what you are doing in your business now is affecting the trajectory of your business toward reaching your goal.
This also plays a part in making sure your goal is achievable. Increasing your profit by next year is an example of an achievable time frame. Increasing your profit by 10% by next week is a little unreasonable. It doesn’t give you enough time to measure the actions you are taking and the changes you are making to ensure that your efforts continue to move you forward.
But the bottom line is to make sure you set a goal that can realistically be achieved in the amount of time you determine.
Why SMART Goals?
You can make a list of goals all day long. And if you’re really focused and motivated, you can accomplish them. But the best way to make sure you are productive is to set SMART goals.
SMART goals are ideal because they are designed to be achieved. They clearly state what it is you’d like to do and force you to create a plan to get it done. For example, your goals should be measurable, but then you have to assume the task of measuring your progress. Your goals should be timely, so you need to pick a timeframe and stick to it. If you are ready to step up your ATM game, try setting SMART goals to see just how successful you can be. Need help? Contact us today to see how ATMDepot can help you reach your goals!