Last updated November 16, 2020
Why Busy Housing Professionals Need to Set SMART Goals
Business is better than ever. You’re getting more homebuyers and remodeling customers than ever and you’re thrilled… but also slightly drowning trying to keep up with everything.
Right now it’s all about making sure daily operations are running smoothly and projects are getting done. But that means future projects and business direction might have been pushed to the side a bit and you’re stressed out because you feel like you’re neglecting parts of your business.
If you can relate:
First, take a deep breath.
Secondly, it’s time to set some SMART goals.
Control the crazy and keep track of the important things as you navigate the excitement and pressure during this busy time.
What are SMART goals?
SMART goals are clear, carefully formulated goals with five specific elements that function together to achieve an objective. SMART is an acronym for:
Let’s break down what each element means:
- Specific: A goal should be very clear and specific. The narrower the better. If a goal is too broad it’s more difficult to map out the required steps to achieve it.
- Measurable: A goal must be measurable, otherwise there’s no data to prove you’re progressing towards that goal and at what rate.
- Achievable: A goal should be realistic. It’s wonderful to think big, and you should, but every step along the way should be reasonable to accomplish.
- Relevant: A goal should align with your bigger, long-term objectives. If a goal does not help you get closer to a milestone in your business, it’s likely not the best target.
- Time-Based: A goal should have a time-frame. Without an end in sight, there’s little motivation to press forward. Time-frames also help you prioritize tasks and manage projects and teams effectively.
Ideally, every business goal should be a SMART goal, but using them when business is busy will help you prioritize and organize the chaos.
Why do SMART goals work?
SMART goals work because they are purposeful and planned out, increasing the chances of achieving them. Having a clear intention of what target you’re after and how it fits into your larger objectives makes it easier to map out how you’re going to measure your progress and the date you want to complete your goal. Here’s how:
They give you direction: Specific and achievable goals provide a clear vision of where you want your business to go. This makes it easy to keep moving forward with confidence because you know what steps need to be taken.
They make project management easier: Goals that are measurable and time-bound can easily be divided into smaller tasks with their own dates of completion. Depending on the size of the milestone, you may even be able to break those smaller tasks into more. With such a detailed plan of to-dos, you can manage your team more efficiently.
They help eliminate distractions: Relevant goals help you stay the course and ensure the resources you’re using are going towards projects that will benefit your business and help you achieve your ultimate milestones. This is really helpful during busy times when you need to prioritize areas of your business.
How to use SMART goals during busy times
There’s no better time to deploy SMART goals than when your business is booming and you need to prioritize projects and resources.
So where do you start?
First, take a look at your business as a whole and identify the broader areas of operation like sales and marketing, site operations, customer service, finances, partnerships with product manufacturers, and so on.
Then, identify particulars of each area that you already know need improvement, as well as areas of opportunity where you can further enhance existing processes and procedures that are working well for you. Doing this is not only great for busy seasons but for long-term goal building when things settle down a bit.
Lastly, considering the current workload you have, decide which projects or initiatives you can reasonably work on that will benefit your business, and which you can slow down or put on hold without hurting your business.
For example, if you’re up to your ears in leads, lead generation can likely be scaled down. Since you’re getting so much business you’d then want to use more resources in relevant areas like customer service and customer experience management, so all your new business turns into great ratings and reviews down the road.
How to create a SMART goal
If you’d like to start creating SMART goals for your homebuilding or remodeling business, here is a step by step process:
1. Use very specific words and phrases
“Improve customer satisfaction” is far too generic and doesn’t provide any detail. Instead, think about how much you need to improve it. “Improve our customer satisfaction rating by 10 points,” is a more specific statement that gives you and your team some direction. Some goals may need to be more open-ended, but vagueness should be completely avoided.
2. Choose a metric to measure your goal
Once you have your goal statement, you need to pick which business or customer metrics are needed to measure progress. If you’re looking to improve your overall customer satisfaction rating by 10 points, let’s say from 75 to 85, then you’ll need to track and monitor those scores systematically, ideally in a customer experience management platform.
3. Identify what your team needs to do to reach this goal
After you’ve picked your metric to measure, you also need to pinpoint how the goal will be achieved. Thinking about customer satisfaction again, to boost your overall score from 75 to 85, the average score for each customer would need to increase. So you would calculate what the average score needs to be for each customer and tell your team what to aim for.
4. Layout realistic steps to achieve the goal
Now that you have your statement, performance metrics to monitor, and specific benchmarks for your team, you’ll need to make sure you have realistic expectations and plans for achieving the goal. Let’s say the average customer satisfaction score needs to improve by 10 points on average to boost the overall score to 85. What is a realistic timeframe for this? A 2-point increase per month over 5 months is a more attainable goal for your team than a 10-point increase in one month.
Also, you need to take into account the steps needed to improve customer satisfaction. Looking at surveys, you’ll be able to recognize common areas with low scoring. Homebuyer satisfaction, for example, drops significantly after move-in, usually due to dwindling communication with the builder during the warranty period. If that’s the case for you, that’s a specific area to tend to. How quickly you can fix the issues your customers have, will determine your deadline.
Putting it all together
Using the SMART goals framework is an incredibly efficient way to organize, prioritize, and manage a business. With AvidCX, you can create goals that align directly with your business vision by analyzing customer survey data, receiving industry benchmarking insights, and monitoring ratings and reviews. With this information, you can identify what areas of business operations to set goals for, which metrics to measure, and determine realistic timelines. Everything you need in a single platform.