Entrepreneurship is all about being that special apple which wants to be out of the basket and expand their horizons beyond the accepted confinements. An entrepreneur is not happy with a nice safe job and a nice monthly income. Entrepreneurs think ahead, dream, innovate and bring change in every industry.
One of the special skills entrepreneurs have is goal setting. They are aware of the big picture, know where they want to get and they start building steps towards that final goal. The way these steps, or intermediary goals, are set determines the difference between success and failure.
As a corollary, the way you set your goals makes the difference between being a successful or a less successful entrepreneur. Looking at the way the most successful entrepreneurs set their goals, we have compiled 5 actionable tips which you can use to build your own master plan:
1. Be Firm in Your Decision
The first enemy against your entrepreneurial success is your own self doubt. After you set your goals, your inner voice starts raising counter-arguments and reasons why you cannot do this or that. It is not easy to silence that voice, but you must do it. And the best way to do that is to write down your goals and the steps you plan to take in order to reach them.
The more actionable steps you write down, the closer you get to completely silencing your self doubts and starting on the path to success. Firmness and determination are the key factors to getting over the natural sense of doubting yourself before you start out on an unknown path.
2. Use the SMART Method
Your goals have to be SMART – literally. SMART stands for:
Specific – your goals cannot be ambiguous and without a clear finality, or they are not goals at all. You have to be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve, how you want to grow your business and what actions you will take in order to get there.
Measurable – this means that you must be able to appreciate whether you have succeeded or failed in reaching your goal. Measurable goals are quantifiable goals, such as the number of clients you should have after 6 months of running your business, or number of units of your product sold.
Attainable – do not shoot for the moon, because you will never reach it. Do not set impossible and unrealistic goals, because they will only undermine your chances of success.
Realistic – this one goes hand in hand with the above item. If your goals are not realistic, they are not goals, but pipe dreams.
Time – prepare a timeline for your goals. Create milestones. Make sure that you strive to comply with them. If you do not set yourself time boundaries, you will never actually reach your goals.
3. Share Your Goals
Sharing your goals with other people makes you accountable to them. They can ask you whether you have reached your goals, they can observe your progress or lack thereof and give you reminders that you have to get back on track.
4. Set Both Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
The secret to success is to plan it carefully, taking each day at a time. However, you should not get lost in the short-term goals and forget about the bigger picture. This is why you should set both short-term and long-term goals.
5. Include Self Improvement Among Your Goals
Set aside goals that are strictly connected to your own personal development: learning new skills, and educating yourself in the core elements of running a business (such as management, marketing and logistics). Grow together with your business – this is what makes a successful entrepreneur after all.