How SMART goals and clear business plans can put you on the road to success.
Practically every person or every business professional who’s ever accomplished something impressive – or something seemingly impossible – set a few goals to get there. Professionals who set goals are simply better prepared to do big things, like achieve an important certification or endorsement, save money for major repairs or investments, start a brand-new company, purchase the best equipment to keep drivers and roadways safe, deliver goods to areas hit by natural disaster and save lives. When we set goals, it helps us envision where we want to go and see the steps and direction we need to take toward success.
But achieving a major goal isn’t just about taking on something challenging or reaching for the stars—you also need a path and a reliable road map to get there. This is where SMART goals come in. With SMART goals, you can make sure every goal—from operational goals to financial goals—has the clarity and detail you need to achieve it. Here’s how.
What are SMART goals? Why use SMART goals? What are the benefits of SMART goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These are the main elements to consider when creating your business goals. By ensuring that your goals meet these conditions, you’ll no doubt boost your chances of success.
One major benefit to using SMART goals is that it makes the information easy to communicate and interpret so that everyone is on the same page with efforts pointed in the same direction. SMART goals provide clarity in terms of what is necessary to reach the end game. Working with purpose and working toward something provides the motivation needed to achieve the goal. SMART goals help you keep track of your progress and how much closer you are to achieving success.
What are the steps to SMART goal setting?
Start at the beginning.
A specific goal is clear and well-defined. It answers the questions of what you want to achieve, who is involved, and where it will happen. Improving the overall business is a bit ambiguous and not exactly well-defined. A more specific goal would be, “Increase revenue by 10% in the third quarter by targeting new customers who are seeking OTR services that we now offer.”
A measurable goal has clear criteria for success, which means it can be measured using readily available data (e.g., miles, hours, revenue, expenses). An increase or decrease in revenue is measurable. When you set specific and measurable goals, things become easier to break down into steps that you need to take to make progress.
Your goal should be possible to achieve given the resources you will likely have at the time. It’s essential to set goals that are challenging, but not impossible to reach. A 10% increase in revenue is far more achievable than a 100% increase.
Goals must remain focused on business results and be relevant to what you’re trying to achieve. Adding customers, adding miles, and adding drivers are far more relevant to a new trucking company than adding friends or followers on your personal social media. What’s relevant depends on your business objectives. Ultimately, every goal should relate to a long-term goal and every goal should lead to improving long-term profits.
A time-bound goal has a clear timeframe for completion, with a start and end date. This helps to provide motivation and a sense of urgency to meet the deadline and achieve the goal. Increasing revenue by 10% in the third quarter puts a time stamp on the goal and indicates the deadline for when it needs to happen.
If you’re defining your goals based on the conditions above, you’re well on your way to mastering SMART goals and building a solid business plan.
Goals that are vague or ambiguous, lofty or general, often don’t get done, even if they’re amazing or groundbreaking ideas. You need to turn every ambiguous goal into a clear actionable one. To do this, you want to make SMART goals. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Realize goals often change over time, so expect a few detours now and then. And when it comes to setting goals, you want to make sure that your short-term goals move you closer to your long-term goals. What’s most important is that you arrive at your destination – and that you deliver on your long-term plans and promises. Be smart about goal setting and follow it by putting a proper plan in place! And remember the saying that a goal without a plan is just a wish.
If you would like to read more about understanding different goal types, check out our other blog!
It should be clear by now that starting, growing, and accelerating your trucking business takes a definitive plan. If you feel drawn to the idea of starting your own trucking business, and if you feel you have the inner drive to drive, Soshaul can help! Please check out our free and for-purchase resources, templates, and in-depth courses available on our website.
Are you interested in learning more about topics such as IFTA or IRP, business plans or business structures, equipment or technology, or perhaps sales and marketing in transportation? Are you thinking about starting a trucking business, but not sure how to get started? Check out our course on How to START Your Trucking Business!
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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC - Copyright 2023 - does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.