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If there is one thing that sets the difference between high performers and low performers in business it is setting written goals.

Working out your business goals is the single most important thing you can do when you run a business.

Now just to be clear, what are we really talking about here? We are talking about setting specific, measurable, achievable, results oriented, time bound targets and objectives.

Not fluffy statements like “be more profitable” but something that an independent observer could check and verify. For example: “Return 45% Net Profit by June 2011.”

You need specific goals that will act as your business’ scorecard for the year, a scorecard that allows you to make plans. Think of this as the blueprint to get results this year.

A lot of people resist setting goals, because it’s so much easier to go with the flow and hope that your year turns out better than the last. But the truth is, setting goals is hard because if we don’t reach our goals, we fear the blow to our reputation, in front of our team or more importantly in front of ourselves. That could look bad, so often people feel that it’s better not to say anything at all, and see what fate brings.

But whether you want to step up or not, you are still leading your business. It’s not a question of the whether you lead or not – just how well you are willing to do it.

Effective goals help you:

  • Stay focused
  • Direct your plans
  • Focus your team’s efforts
  • Allow you to ditch what isn’t important

The best way to get started is to simply get away. Lock yourself up in your office or go offsite for an hour and write down what you want to achieve in those areas that are important for your business. Examples include profit, turnover, team building, location and your customer and product mix.

First set your long-term goals. Here we are talking about a minimum of five years out. Then bring it down to your two year goals. Then think of where you want to be in one year. The next step is to work at your milestones for the year and set nine, six and three months goals.

Now you can base your 90 day plan on your three month goals. It really is that simple.

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Steve Smit

Steve Smit

Steve Smit is a Business Coach with Reality Consulting. In 2003, he began working with small businesses, helping them improve their sales, marketing, business growth and management. His clients consider him an important sounding board for challenges, ideas and future plans. His passion is helping business owners take home more money and work less hours so they get back their lives back in balance.

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