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Setting Achievable Goals

Need help setting goals? Learn tips and follow a goal setting framework for business success.

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Goal Setting

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

– Vincent van Gogh, artist

Goal setting is an important part of life, business and mentoring. There are some parameters to goal setting that everyone should know and follow. The easiest way to remember them is to think SMART.

Specific Just saying “I want to be successful” isn’t nearly specific enough. Goals need to be crystal clear and as detailed as possible.

Measurable Goals need to be tangible; results need to be measurable. Ask yourself questions like: “When?” and “How much?” Action-oriented Make sure you can identify the steps you need to take to reach each goal.

Attaining goals gives a real sense of satisfaction. Once you get where you were heading, you can always steer for a more distant shore.

Realistic You may have great difficulty setting up a business on the moon or growing your company by 1,000 per cent every year. Refrain from setting goals that are simply out of reach.

Timely Identify deadlines for both short-term and long-term goals. By assessing your progress with shorter-term milestones, you’ll be better able to keep on track to accomplishing your long-term objectives.

There are four types of goals to consider in business:

  • Financial. These goals cover Balance Sheet and Income Statement items, such as gross revenue, operating expenses, net earnings and financial ratios
    such as debt/equity and inventory turnover.
  • Marketing. These goals focus on customer acquisition and customer retention, and involve such activities as networking, presentations,
    advertising, direct customer contact and other promotional strategies and materials.
  • Operational. These goals relate directly to process improvements for the business, such as streamlining production, enhancing service levels or reducing inventory.
  • Developmental. These goals include staff recruitment, training, benefits and any other employee-related goals. They also relate to your own personal development as the owner of the business. For example, developmental goals could include training courses, workshops, conferences, networking events and trade publications for you or your employees.

“There are three ingredients to the good life: learning, earning and yearning.”

– Christopher Morley, poet and novelist

The Goal Setting Framework can help you work through the process of goal setting. You will likely use the goal setting resources more than once. Goals
have to be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Here are some tips on the process of goal setting:

  • Your goals have to come from you so you will be motivated to reach them. The first step then is to define your values and priorities. Is it more important for you to generate earnings or to be recognized? Are you willing to work days, evenings and weekends, or do you have personal commitments beyond your business? Determining your unique parameters will give you a solid framework for goal setting.
  • Now use that information to answer the following questions:
  1. What are my short-term and long-term goals and deadlines?
  2. What do I need to learn to reach these goals?
  3. What tasks do I need to complete and when will each task have to be done?
  4. How might my mentor help?
  5. What other resources will I need?

Use this goal setting checklist to make sure your goals are SMART.

  • Do my goals fit with my values?
  • Am I personally motivated to work towards these goals?
  • Are my goals written clearly enough to be understood a year from now?
  • Are my goals specific enough to be measured?
  • Can my goals be measured with reasonable effort?
  • Can I set milestones for these goals so I know if I am still on track?
  • Are my goals realistic and attainable?
  • Can I outline specific tasks or actions that will lead directly to my goals?
  • Do my short-term goals lead to my long-term goals?
  • When viewed in relation to each other, do my goals make sense?
  • Am I thinking of my goals when I make business decisions?
  • Do my employees understand and believe in my goals?
  • Have I built in a reward system for reaching individual goals?
  • Am I revising or updating my goals as necessary?
  • Am I sharing my goals with others?

Download the tool for the full worksheet.

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