SMART Goals vs. Tasks: The Ultimate Guide to Effective Planning


As an entrepreneur, you likely have a long list of goals and objectives you want to achieve for your business. However, turning those goals into actionable and achievable plans can be challenging. Establishing goals and developing the corresponding tasks is one of the most essential components of planning for overall business growth — and probably the most daunting. Without it, however, measuring success, setting deadlines, prioritizing objectives, or even starting a project is challenging.

At Synnovatia, we see first-hand the importance of effective goal-setting is critical to achieving success.

Key Difference: Smart Goals Vs. Tasks

When it comes to goal-setting, using SMART goals and tasks are two common approaches most entrepreneurs use to stay focused. Both are effective methods of planning and executing your objectives but have different purposes and structures. Knowing when to use which tool can make the difference in getting the results you want faster.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They help you identify your priorities and create a detailed plan to achieve them. SMART goals typically define long-term objectives, such as business growth, revenue increase, or percentage of market share. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 20% this year, having a detailed implementation plan supports its achievement.

A pivotal point to remember when establishing SMART goals is to stay within achievability. You and your team will remain motivated and committed to completing them successfully. In fact, some of Synnovatia’s clients will often set three tiers of target goals. A red target indicates achievements are less than the previous measuring period. A yellow target goal meets the achievements of the previous measuring period. And, a green target goal exceeds the achievements of the previous period. Most have found this method advantageous following the post-COVID boom era when their industry still finds its legs for normality.

On the other hand, tasks are minor, specific, and detailed activities created to support the achievement of your SMART goals. Think of them as building blocks for your more extensive goal-setting process. Tasks are usually shorter and completed in hours or days. The greater the detail, the easier it is to find the clarity and focus that makes tasks effortless (almost) to implement. For instance, if your SMART goal is to increase sales by 20%, then weekly tasks may include designing new marketing materials or scheduling outbound emails.

Detailed tasks usually don’t stop there, although most of us get-er-done entrepreneurs do. The lack of detail often derails the best of intentions. To illustrate, designing new marketing materials likely requires 4-5 finer tasks before checking it off our list as complete.  Additional tasks such as contacting the marketing department, outlining the desired outcome, or determining the budget may be required, along with an estimated completion time.

When broken down into smaller tangible steps with clear deadlines, it’s much easier to manage your tasks proactively rather than reactively to ensure progress.

Plan Smarter: Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly Planning Tips

Weekly, monthly, and quarterly planning are critical to effective goal achievement. It’s not enough to be good at goal setting…you and your team must become masters of implementation as well.

Weekly planning allows you to set tasks and goals for the upcoming week, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives. Communication of objectives, desired outcomes, and timelines is essential.

Monthly planning allows you to assess progress towards larger goals and adjust tasks accordingly. And, here’s the good news — if you and your team gain full command of the weekly planning process, the degree to which adjustments in monthly planning are required is significantly reduced.

Quarterly planning helps you evaluate progress toward longer-term goals and identify areas where adjustments may be necessary. Additionally, it’s the ideal time to reflect on accomplishments for the quarter and learning that can be carried forward into the next quarter.

Tracking progress along the continuum of weekly, monthly, and quarterly planning progress is vital to identify areas where intervention may be needed quickly. Corrective measures taken sooner rather than later save precious resources! Regularly reviewing and adjusting tasks based on progress keeps everyone on track and ensures that progress is steady toward achieving your ultimate objective.


If you’re struggling to set smart goals and tasks for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. We’ll partner with you to share our expertise and knowledge specific to your planning needs. We’ll help you identify areas for improvement, set realistic goals, and stay on track to achieve them. Don’t let hurdles to planning hold you back from reaching your goals. 

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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