With the 4th quarter of 2021 coming up, now is a great time to focus on setting some goals that can take your business through to the end of the year. Goal setting is a great way to make sure your business is on track and hitting developmental milestones. SMART goals are probably the best way to go about this for many businesses, as they provide quantifiable measurements of progress and success.
Why is the 4th Quarter Important?
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on year-long goals. While year-long goals can also be fruitful, breaking up your goal setting into smaller parts can be extremely beneficial.
An easy way to organize goals is quarterly, as it provides enough time to obtain medium to large scale goals while still remaining manageable. From here, you can also further break up your planning into monthly and even weekly goals.
But why is the 4th quarter such an important quarter to focus on? The 4th quarter is typically known to be the quarter that determines your final yearly statistics and gives you insight into where your business is going in the coming year. Unfortunately, the 4th quarter can also be the slowest for many businesses. It can be easy to lose sight of hard goals during the 4th quarter, and many businesses make the mistake of getting distracted, wasting valuable time on activities that will not drive growth or sales.
That being said, the 4th quarter does not have to be, and should not, go wasted. It can be an extremely influential period for your business, and it can foster a lot of positive change when you properly implement SMART goal setting.
What are SMART Goals?
SMART Goals are utilized especially by small and medium-sized businesses as a way to efficiently and effectively achieve goals and drive growth.
In this case, the word SMART functions as an acronym, which stands for:
- Specific - goals that are specific are clear and not vague, with a straightforward definition of what they aim to accomplish.
- Measurable - goals that are measurable can be tracked in some way, also meaning that you have a way of defining when a goal is complete.
- Attainable - goals that are attainable are realistic, achievable, and manageable.
- Relevant - goals that are relevant pertain to your business in a reasonable, productive way. They should align with your business values and long-term objectives.
- Time-bound - goals that are time-bound have set end dates, helping you to stay focused and motivated.
It’s clear to see why so many businesses use SMART goal setting. SMART goals are quantifiable in multiple aspects; from their time frame to their measurable success to their ability to remain clear, concise, and relevant.
So, in what way can you utilize SMART goal setting in the coming months?
Here are some goals worth considering for this 4th quarter:
Increase Your SEO and Traffic with Blogs and Landing Pages
Driving web traffic to your website’s blog or landing pages is one of the best ways to increase the visibility of your business and get more customers. With well-developed content, this can also increase your SEO and help your site rank higher in search engines.
To be clear about how this works as a SMART goal, let’s take a look at how the goal aligns with the acronym:
- Specific - clear emphasis on increasing SEO and site traffic.
- Measurable - quantifying traffic is easy to see through data and numbers analysis.
- Attainable - when following the right steps, it is never difficult to increase traffic, especially if you set realistic numbers for how much traffic increase you expect. Similarly, SEO building typically follows formulaic rules.
- Relevant - blogs and landing pages are relevant to nearly any business, as online presence is crucial in every industry.
- Time-bound - Setting a weekly date for blog postings is one way to make this goal time-bound, along with checking in on traffic numbers at the end of the quarter.
The first step in this effort is to make sure your site content is comprehensive and effective. Effective content means content that is relevant to your business and that will make a positive impression on customers in some way. It does not have to be preachy or even sound sales-driven. Instead, the focus should be on piquing the interest of visitors and potential customers, building a rapport through content.
If this SMART goal sounds right for your Q4, you should start by building up your content at the beginning of the quarter. In the case of blogs, you then want to remain consistent with your posting, as frequency and timeliness will improve blog traffic.
Up Your Social Media Game
Another huge way of increasing engagement and reeling in customers is through social media. Setting a goal to invest more time in social media marketing is not only easy, but it’s likely to reap amazing results.
Similarly to blog content, developing your social media content is best achieved by building up a well of content to draw from, and then remaining consistent with posting.
Of course, post tone, the time of day you post, and the type of graphics you use will all vary depending on which platform you are posting to. It never hurts to be on as many platforms as possible.
With most social media accounts being free and easy to post on, passing up the opportunity to grow your social media campaigning is a major mistake.
Practice Team Building
If you want to focus more on the internal aspects of your business, team building is a great goal to focus on.
The notion of team building can easily turn vague or overly organic, but there are simple ways to turn team building into a measurable SMART goal.
One idea is to set a goal for a certain number of team meetings per month. You can have fun with it by incorporating team exercises. You might want to set a goal of having one employee presentation per meeting, highlight an employee of the week, or think even more outside the box with quirky events like a show and tell.
After implementing team-building efforts, get results back on how these exercises are received by employees by sending out questionnaires. This will give you a way to measure how your efforts are impacting your business as a strong, unified whole.
Overall, team building can have amazing impacts on your business. It not only fosters happier employees but can create a more productive, collaborative work environment. In the long run, it can also increase employee retention and build trust amongst your team.
Foster an Increase in Productivity
If you're looking at more angles to improve internal operations, productivity is another good aspect to explore.
Increasing productivity can easily be set as a SMART goal with periodic performance reviews and other tools. Performance reviews will allow you to track individual productivity, project productivity, and team productivity.
Additionally, you can increase accountability for productivity in a more face-to-face manner by having managers host more frequent performance check-ins. Building up a rapport amongst team members to stay on track and efficient with projects can be a great way to improve overall productivity.
Streamline Business Expenses
It’s never a bad idea to evaluate your business expenses. If you’ve gone too long without doing so, it’s likely that you’re covering some unnecessary costs.
Streamlining your expenses can be as easy as cutting down on unnecessary subscription services. You might find that you’re paying for a regular subscription to a service or platform that you have not utilized to full capacity in months.
Or, maybe you’re spending time and money on projects that are not reaping the benefits of increased customer retention or sales. Again, seeking to cut out these sorts of expenses behind with a comprehensive evaluation of daily business operations and costs.
Happy Q4 Goal Setting!
Whatever your goals for Q4 may be, InboundAV wishes you luck and inspiration for the coming months! SMART goals are a great way to stay on track and pursue a variety of business ventures.
If you have more questions about developing SMART goals, or how you can incorporate inbound marketing planning into your goal setting, please do not hesitate to reach out! We would love to hear from you and help develop a plan for your customized business growth.