You may ask yourself, “Why should I have goals?” In my lifetime I have started and operated several small businesses. The first one I started was a home day care business when my children were young and I wanted to work at home.
During this time I took a course on how to grow my business and the first thing the instructor asked us was, “Is your business really a hobby or is it really a business?” He made us stop and think about how we were operating. We discussed the differences between the two.
The bottom line was if you are going to operate like a business we need two things: a business plan and goals. Goals keep you on track with operating your mystery shopping business, increasing your profit margin, increasing your skills, and increasing your business.
The method of using SMART goals can be very enlightening. Not only does this method help you set goals – it makes those goals far more likely to be achieved.
Your goals should be posted front and center so you see them on a daily basis. This helps to keep them in the forefront of your mind so you can work on them daily. It is so easy to set goals and then forget about them. By placing putting them on a physical object that you see every single day, they will automatically become part of your daily thought process.
Specific/Simple: Who is going to do the goal? What is the timeframe for it to be completed? What is to be accomplished? How is it going to be accomplished? Use the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Silly!
Measurable: It should include the end result and benchmarks along the way. Numbers are measurable. Dates are measurable. How many shops will it take to reach your goal for the year? If the benchmark is monthly, how many shops do you have to complete to stay on track?
Attainable/Achievable: Can you attain the goal? Do you have the ability or skills to complete the goal? Or, do you need to obtain special skills, like video shopping? If you set the goal too high, then it won’t happen, no matter how much work you put into it. Goals should make you stretch, not get overwhelmed.
Realistic/Results: Is it realistic? How much time do you have to get it done? Know thyself! What is realistic for you? Do you work full time and do mystery shopping on the side? Are you mystery shopping full time? Are you able to work during the weekend as well as during the week? Results are the measuring of outcomes, not measuring activities.
Timely/Time Bound: Is it the right time for this goal? As people, we may think we can do everything at once, but in reality it is next to impossible. Especially if you have a full time job, kids, husband, household, etc. Don’t overextend. What is the time frame to complete your goal?
Below are some examples of poorly written goals and changing them into SMART goals:
Poor Goal: I want to earn some money doing mystery shopping.
- SMART goal: By 12/31/15 I will earn $200 per week conducting mystery shops; not including expenses, 50 weeks out of the year.
Poor Goal: I want to learn more about mystery shopping.
- SMART goal: By 12/31/15, I will attend one mystery shopping conference and learn 5 new things about mystery shopping and implement these ideas into my business within one month of obtaining the new information.
Poor Goal: I want to gain more business.
- SMART Goal: By 12/31/15, I will apply for and obtain mystery shopper status with 20 new Mystery Shopping companies by contacting, applying for mystery shopper status 4 times per month or 1 per week.
Your goals should answer the who, what, when, how and where of your business venture. By spending the time to create SMART Goals, you will give yourself a huge boost. You’ll be far more likely to achieve your goals, and you’ll be far less likely to waste time on activities that might not be right for you.
Take a minute to think about what you really want to achieve. What will it be like? Once you’ve built a strong image of what you want in your head, spend the time to filter it through each of the elements of a SMART Goal. Once you’ve done this, you will have made a huge step toward forward.