Learn Exactly How to Set Targets for Your Startup

November 13, 2019

Goal Example #1: This November, increase client retention by X percent compared to last November

Client retention is an important metric for many companies and one that needs to be regularly measured and revisited to see what can be done to improve services and procedures.

  • Specific: This goal is about client retention and will focus on only client retention; no other issues or factors will come into the equation.
  • Measurable: This goal will be measured year-over-year. For example, if last November, you had 80 percent client retention as an employee, you might be expected to increase this by 5 percent, meaning client retention should be at 85 percent by the end of November.
  • Attainable: This goal should be attainable and realistic for the employee. If their client retention was 40 percent, you can’t expect them to improve their retention rate to 80 percent. If, on the other hand, your retention rate was 90 percent, you can’t expect an increase of 10 percent.
  • Relevant: Client retention is important to a business, enabling them to survive and compete in a difficult market.
  • Time-Bound: This goal is set to be measured in November. Using this information, an employee can track their progress over time.

Goal Example #2: Establish monthly employee feedback reviews to replace annual ones

This is a SMART goal for managers. The idea is to transition away from annual performance reviews (companies that implement regular performance conversations are proven to have lower turnover rates and higher levels of engagement than those that adhere to an old-fashioned yearly appraisal).

  • Specific: This goal is specifically concerned with one-on-one catchups between manager and employee. While there will likely be training on what to discuss and how to conduct these reviews, this goal is simply about ensuring they take place once a month.
  • Measurable: The fact that this goal specifies a monthly meeting makes it highly measurable and trackable.
  • Attainable: There’s a belief among many that regular monthly catchups with employees are too time-consuming. As such, they don’t believe it’s a sensible option for their business. However, when considering the management hours spent on annual appraisals (which have shown to be ineffective, anyway) and the time spent filling out forms before carrying out long and formal meetings, you will begin to see how monthly informal (yet informative) catchups are not only attainable, but will also save your company time in the long run.
  • Relevant: This SMART goal is relevant for managers of almost any organization, as monthly catchups keep everyone updated on pressing concerns, areas for improvement and recent successes. Ultimately, this will serve to improve productivity and the bottom line.
  • Time-Bound: This goal has allowed time for the manager to set up meetings and prepare their employees for the change in their performance management system. This tells the manager that the transition needs to be put in place soon, rather than being something that can wait until next quarter.

Goal Example #3: This quarter, develop a website platform to increase weekly lead generation to 100 per week

Whether you offer a product or service, we all share a common goal: we want to make more sales. Overhauling a website and tackling glaring Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and user experience issues could seriously revolutionize your lead generation results.

  • Specific: This goal is specifically about creating a better website to increase lead generation. It is also specific as to how many leads are desired as a result.
  • Measurable: A very clear number (100) is given in this goal. Let’s say the website is currently generating 80 leads per week — now you know you need to take steps to increase this by 20.
  • Attainable: Given the right approach, this goal is entirely attainable. Of course, the goal in question needs to be considered in context — what is the industry? How niche is the service or product? Depending on the industry, this goal is entirely attainable, but, of course, it should be adjusted to be realistic if not.
  • Relevant: Increased lead generation results in increased business revenue, boosting long-term revenue over short-term investment.
  • Time-Bound: A three-month target has been given for this goal.

Goal Example #4: Decrease voluntary employee turnover rate by X percent this year

Employee retention is a concern for those startups with employees, particularly when you take into account the record-low levels of unemployment and the current war for talent.

  • Specific: This goal is specifically about voluntary turnover within a business.
  • Measurable: This goal will be measured in the reduction of voluntary turnover by a specific percentage. For example, a business could aim to reduce their voluntary turnover from 15 percent to 10 percent.
  • Attainable: This goal can be entirely attainable, given the right figure. Several steps can be put in place to retain quality employees. As a first measure, companies can proactively survey employees to determine the largest attrition factors and see how the employee experience can be improved. The performance management process can also be improved and companies can offer flexibility and other sought-after perks.
  • Relevant: This goal is relevant because by reducing turnover rates, the business can retain talent and reduce expenditure on hiring.
  • Time-Bound: This target is long term and will be evaluated in a years’ time. This gives managers enough time to put measures in place and determine what retention methods are most effective.


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