Your objectives and strategies create your vision for the future. The biggest struggle here is the difference between an objective (goal), a strategy, and a tactic; so let’s start with the definitions. Bruce Kelly of the Advertising Educational Foundation did a fabulous job doing this, so I won’t reinvent the wheel:
Objective ‘The ends toward which effort and action are directed or coordinated.” This is what you will try to accomplish to achieve a defined end, could be the mission, could be something smaller.
Strategy “How to achieve an objective, goal (or even a mission). It is a thoughtfully constructed plan or method or action that will be employed to achieve the result.”
Tactic “Smaller moves, gestures and acts that achieve a strategy.” These are the individual tasks you will undertake to achieve a strategy.
We’ll talk about writing strategies and tactics tomorrow, so today we’ll focus on writing SMART goals. SMART is a handy-dandy acronym that will help you write effective goals every time.
Specific Writing vague objectives will do you no good. You will have no better idea of where you’re going if you write a vague goal than if you write no goal at all.
Measurable At the end of a project or launch phase, you will want to measure your results. If you create a goal that is not measurable, how will you know if you succeeded?
Actionable It’s great to have a pretty goal on paper, but how useful is it if you can’t do something about achieving it?
Realistic Don’t be pie-in-the-sky. Make sure that you will realistically be able to achieve your goal. This doesn’t mean create an easily achievable goal, just so you’re successful. Challenge yourself, within realistic bounds.
Time-Bound You should be able to achieve an objective in your business plan within one to five years. Build this verbiage into the objective so you have a clear constraint for completion.