If you have been in the business world in the last several decades, you have probably heard about the SMART acronym. It means specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Initially, this acronym was used for personal goal setting, but it has been adapted to many new areas of business recently. For example, today’s investors and lenders want SMART business plans so they can quickly and efficiently review your company’s prospects and project its future success. These are tips for helping you create a SMART plan.

Work on Your Financials

Most business plans are rejected due to inaccurate or unproven financials. It is easy to misrepresent or miscalculate your forecasts, and it is often not done intentionally. However, you can create excellent financials using the SMART tools. First, set specific income, expense and profit goals. Identify your specific revenue streams as well as how they can be measured. What in the plan makes these forecasts achievable? Make sure all your income streams are relevant to your core business. Finally, set deadlines for achieving all your specific income goals.

You can expand this to your costs as well. Just make sure your numbers are reasonable and that research and evidence are presented to back them up.

Conduct Market Research

Your market research should only take two or three pages to discuss. It needs to be clear, succinct and relevant to your company and income. Do not include information that does not impact your company directly. Your research should also be summarized, not regurgitated. Then, identify how this research will guide your marketing efforts, decision making, pricing and operations. Set SMART goals at the conclusion of your marketing section.

Develop a Launch Schedule

It can be tempting to discuss the specific dates that every action will occur during your launch period. However, your investors and financiers just want an overview. Therefore, consider writing your major launch events by quarter. For example, what do you hope to achieve in the first quarter? Will you get your website created, start working on your digital footprint and social media campaigns and pursue pay-per-click advertising? Each quarter should have specific goals that are relevant to your income. In the previous example, your overarching goal may be implementing your digital marketing campaign that creates 10,000 unique visits to your website and $250,000 in new customer sales during the quarter. Continue for at least 12 months.  

Put yourself in the best position possible by creating a SMART business plan. Not only will your investors and financiers appreciate your concision, but you will have a specific plan to follow as you pursue your business goals.