GOAL SETTING

Goal setting is an important exercise for small business as well as large business owners; without goals, we would just drift along. Goal setting allows us to be proactive, instead of just being reactive. We've all had days where we just seem to leap from one crisis to another, but we know that it's not a preferred mode of operation!

Your Goals Should Be

VIPIN Kumar

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Goal Setting: The First Step to Achievement
Goals Need Action
You shouldn't be. While you started out well, by setting a specific goal to achieve, you didn't perform any action to help you achieve the goal. What's missing from this scenario is a goal setting strategy to help you accomplish the goal you have set. Without a goal setting strategy, or series of actions, that you are going to use to work towards the goal, whether or not you achieve the goal you have set is just a matter of blind chance. And blind chance is no way to run a successful business! To be successful, you need to make things happen, not just let things happen.

The Winnning Goal Setting Formula
So when you're setting business goals (or any other goals!), use a goal setting formula that incorporates a strategy or strategies for accomplishing the goal. For example, suppose that you want to increase sales. When you're setting this goal, don't just write, "I will increase sales." This goal is too general. First, specify the goal. "I will increase sales this month by 25 percent". Setting a specific goal builds in the criteria you will use to evaluate your success; in this case, at the end of the month, you'll either have increased sales by 25 percent compared to the previous month, or you won't. Then, specify the strategy that you will use to work towards accomplishing the goal. "I will increase sales this month by 25 percent by offering a 10 percent off sale on all inventory and advertising this sale in local media."

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Goal + Action = Success
What happens when you go beyond the basic step of goal setting? Evaluating your success or failure is easy, because your goal is specific rather than general. And suddenly, instead of just having a goal that you may or may not achieve, depending on chance, you have a specific battle plan to follow to achieve the goal you've set. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, you've set yourself up for success.

Objectives of Goals Setting
1) Choose goals that are worthwhile.
You would think it would go without saying but lots of people set meaningless goals - and then wonder why they don't feel any sense of achievement. Remember that the purpose of goal setting is to move us forward and spur positive change. If a goal doesn't have this motivating, transformational quality, don’t bother with it. You'll just be disappointed.

2)

Choose goals stretches.

that

are

achievable

The fact that goals have to be achievable is standard goal setting advice. Pretty well everyone knows that there's no point in setting a goal that you will never be able to accomplish. All you'll do is get frustrated and abandon it. Less well known is the fact that goals need to stretch you in some fashion. If a goal isn't engaging, you'll get bored and abandon it.

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3) Make your goals specific.
The big problem with the sample goals I've used to open this article is that they're vague. To decide that you're going to lose twenty pounds, for instance, is nice, but provides you with no guidance for doing that. Think how much easier it would be to accomplish this goal if you knew exactly what you were going to do to lose the weight. So when you're goal setting, use a goal setting formula that gives your goal a built-in action plan. You'll start accomplishing more than you thought possible

.

4) Commit to your goals.
You need to dedicate yourself to accomplish the goal you have chosen. That's why writing your goals down is a common goal setting tip; it's the first step to committing to achieving your goals. But you also have to realize that accomplishing a goal is not an overnight process and that you are going to have to work regularly at transforming your goal into an accomplishment. And you have to set aside the time you will need to work on your goal.

5) Make your goal public.
Making your goal public is a goal setting technique that is really effective for many people. Think of organizations such as TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and their weekly weigh ins. Knowing that others are going to be monitoring your results ensures commitment to the goal and is extremely motivating. You don't have to join an organization or broadcast your goal on a Facebook page to make your goal public; having a goal buddy, a single person interested in your efforts, can be just as effective.
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6) Prioritize your goals.
Goals don't have to be huge projects that take months or even years to attain, but because they require commitment and need to be worked on regularly, every single goal that you set will be demanding. So don't sabotage yourself by taking on a bunch of goals at a time. Assuming that you are following all the other goal setting tips presented here and setting goals that are worthwhile, I would recommend working on no more than three at a time, and even then you should choose one goal as your top priority.

7) Make your goals real to you.
Goal setting is basically a way to approach the process of accomplishment. It's a very successful way, if done right, but like all such processes, it's a bit abstract. Using techniques such as visualization to focus on what actually accomplishing your goal will be like and what it will do for you can be very powerful - and a great help in staying motivated. Choosing and posting pictures that represent successfully accomplishing your goal is another way of doing this.

8) Set deadlines to accomplish your goals.
A goal without a deadline is a goal that you have not fully committed to and a goal you will not achieve. For one thing, if working on achieving a goal is something you can do whenever, you won't. For another, having a deadline will shape your plan of action. To return to the weight loss example, it makes a great difference whether your goal is to lose twenty pounds in four months or in ten. You will have to do a lot more exercising and cutting down of your food portions if you want to lose the weight more quickly.

9) Evaluate your goals.
Remember that goal setting is a process - and evaluation is an important part of that process. Don’t just settle for a 'good' or 'bad' assessment;
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think about what you did, how you did it and what you got out of it. Whether you successfully accomplished your goal or not, there's always something to be learned; what works or doesn't work for you, whether achieving your goal lived up to your expectations, why you failed. Extracting these lessons will increase your accomplishments even more as you apply them to your future goal setting experience.

10) Reward yourself for accomplishment.
Internal satisfaction is a great thing, but external rewards can be immensely satisfying, too. When you accomplish a goal, you've devoted time and effort to your success, so take the time to celebrate your success, too. One caveat; don't undermine your efforts by choosing an inappropriate reward. Eating a huge slab of cheesecake is not an appropriate reward for losing twenty pounds; for example, a new outfit would be a more suitable choice.

11) Set the Stage for Your Goal Setting Success
So don't defeat your goal setting efforts before you even start to work on accomplishing your desired goals. Set yourself up for success rather than failure by applying these ten goal setting tips and start achieving what you want to achieve.

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Importance of Goal Setting As a Time Mangement Tool

What's This?
A time management system needs milestones and goals in order to be effective. Without deadlines to meet, then it just becomes a system of watching the clock and waiting for the day to end. There are many ways to incorporate your goals into your time management process, and if your day becomes goal oriented, then you will find yourself accomplishing much more in the course of a day.

Function
Developing a goal-oriented approach to time management can help you achieve success in two ways. The first is that you are no longer watching the clock and waiting for the day to end so you can go home. When you set goals for yourself, you are driven by those goals and the clock becomes an instrument you use to ensure that you meet your deadlines. The other advantage to using goals to manage time is that you are able to accomplish more in a day than you could when you were watching the clock. When we base our performance on reaching
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goals during the day, we can eliminate the things that waste time such as extended phone conversations and Internet surfing.

Features
When you set goals as part of your time management system, it is important to set specific goals with defined criteria. Setting generic goals can make your goals seem unattainable, while using specific and definable goals can help you to complete tasks on time. For example, if the goal you set is to finish all invoicing by the end of the day, then that goal is too vague and encompasses too many tasks. Break down that vague goal into specific goals that involve generating invoices based on various ranges of dates and you can then attack those goals in order and complete the task on time

Identification
Taking on too much can help derail your attempts at creating a time management system based on goals. You need to determine which goals are the right ones to achieve, and avoid being distracted by tasks that are not going to be productive. For example, if you are trying to include tasks such as cleaning your desk as part of the goals you hope to accomplish then you may find yourself getting sidetracked by unimportant tasks. There is a difference between goals and activities. Goals are tasks that are important to your job and your career, while activities can make doing your job a bit easier but are not essential to your success. Schedule activities after you have achieved your goals.

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SMART
The SMART process is an excellent way to quantify and prioritize goals so that they can become a regular part of your time management routine. The "S" stands for choosing specific goals. Outline exactly what you want your goals to be, and how you intend to reach them. The "M" is to remind you to make your goals measurable. Give them a time limit and develop a system that will allow you to know when the goal is satisfied. This is critical to making your goals a part of time management. The "A" reminds us to make sure the goal is attainable. If you determine a goal is not attainable, then you may need to break it down into smaller goals to make sure the job gets done. The "R" means that you need to keep the goal realistic. The "T" stands for the time frame needed to get the job done. If you pay attention to your

SMART system, then you have a better chance of making your goals a integral part of your time management system.

Considerations
It is easier to set a series of smaller goals if you can identify your main goal or goals. A series of goals should look like an organizational chart. You have your main goals that you need to accomplish, and then you have the series of smaller goals you will use to achieve those main goals. You prioritize the main goals based on importance, and then get to the job of achieving your smaller goals to get the job done. The process of making goals part of your time management program is made easier when you write your goals down, and then check things off as you complete them.
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Setting Goals
The strategic planning, after gathering all necessary information, is the setting of goals for the organization based on its vision and mission statement. A goal is a long-range aim for a specific period. It must be specific and realistic. Long-range goals set through strategic planning are translated into activities that will ensure reaching the goal through operational planning.

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An objective is a specific step, a milestone, which enables you to accomplish a goal. Setting objectives involves a continuous process of research and decision-making. Knowledge of yourself and your unit is a vital starting point in setting objectives. Strategic planning takes place at the highest levels; other managers are involved with operational planning. The first step in operational planning is defining objectives - the result expected by the end of the budget (or other designated) cycle. Setting right objectives is critical for effective performance management. Such objectives as higher profits, shareholder value, customer satisfaction may be admirable, but they don't tell managers what to do. "They fail to specify priorities and focus. Such objectives
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don't map the journey ahead - the discovery of better value and solutions for the customer."6 The objectives must be: • be focused on a result, not an activity • be consistent • be specific • be measurable • be related to time • be attainable

Goals and Objectives
Goals and objectives are statements that describe what the project will accomplish, or the business value the project will achieve. Goals are high level statements that provide overall context for what the project is trying to achieve, and should align to business goals. Objectives are lower level statements that describe the specific, tangible products and deliverables that the project will deliver. The definition of goals and objectives is more of an art than a science, and it can be difficult to define them and align them correctly.

Goals
Goals are high-level statements that provide the overall context for what the project is trying to accomplish. Let's look at an example and some of the characteristics of a goal statement. One of the goals of a project might be to "increase the overall satisfaction levels for clients calling to the company helpdesk with support needs".

Because the goal is at a high-level, it may take more than one project to achieve. In the above example, for instance, there may be a technology component to increasing client satisfaction. There may also be new procedures, new training classes, reorganization
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of the helpdesk department and modification of the company rewards system. It may take many projects over a long period of time to achieve the goal. The goal should reference the business benefit in terms of cost, speed and / or quality. In this example, the focus is on quality of service. Even if the project is not directly in support of the business, there should be an indirect tie. For instance, an IT infrastructure project to install new web servers may ultimately allow faster client response, better price performance, or other business benefit. If there is no business value to the project, the project should not be started. Generally, non-measurable: If you can measure the achievement of your goal, it is probably at too low a level and is probably more of an objective. If your goal is not achievable through any combination of projects, it is probably written at too high a level. In the above example, you could envision one or more projects that could end up achieving a higher level of client satisfaction. A goal statement that says you are trying to achieve a perfect client experience is not possible with any combination of projects. It may instead be a vision statement, which is a higher level statement showing direction and aspiration, but which may never actually be achieved. It is important to understand business and project goal statements, even though goals are not a part of the TenStep Project Definition. Goals are most important from a business perspective. The project manager needs to understand the business goals that the project is trying to contribute to. However, you do not need to define specific project goals. On the other hand, objectives definitely are important.

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How to Write Business Goals

Instructions
1. Choose a medium for writing down your business goals and objectives. You should base this decision on how you intend to use your stated goals. You can use a simple piece of paper and a pen if you are creating a rudimentary plan for your own use. If you plan to include your stated goals and objectives as part of a formal business plan, they should be typed in paragraph form under the heading "Goals and Objectives" using word processing software. Additionally, you should create a new paragraph for each goal. Your stated objectives will create the body of each new "Goal" paragraph. 2. Create a list of goals. Goals differ from objectives in that they encompass a broader vision of what you wish to accomplish, whereas objectives operate as a means to an end. It is best if you define your goals in
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terms of one year, five-year, 10-year and 20-year goals. For example, if you plan to operate a clothing company, your one-year goal may be to make $50,000 retailers. Your five-year goal might be to make $1 million in revenue and start a franchise for your business. You should think in terms of where you want your business to be, regardless of your perceived ability to actually get there. 3. Create a list of objectives for each goal. Objectives are specific points or details that will allow you to reach your broader goals. For example, if your goal is to make $50,000 in your first year, your objectives would include ideas and details on how you will make that happen such as, "Sell 1,000 t-shirts," "Advertise clothing line in X magazine" or "Host a community fashion show." 4. Break your objectives down into specific actions with time lines. You can't complete all of your objectives at one time. You will need to prioritize them and decide when you will execute each objective. If you have 12 objectives that are necessary to complete your one-year goals, you will probably need to complete at least one objective each month. You can allow for some overlap here, and some objectives may lend themselves to multitasking. Once a time line is assigned, break each objective down into specific steps. For instance, to break down your objective of hosting a community fashion show, you would list the steps necessary to complete the task such as reserving the location, sending out invites and press releases, choosing clothing items for the show, etc. Pencil each specific action item into your calendar to ensure that all tasks, objectives and goals are completed. 5. Go back and review your list of goals and objectives every few months to make sure that you are on
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track. Don't be afraid to add new goals and objectives to your list on a periodic basis. Similarly, if a previously stated goal is not feasible or is no longer desirable, don't be afraid to remove it from your list. After all, businesses evolve in a positive way by consistently creating, evaluating and changing their goals and objectives.

The importance of setting goals for your business.
One of the most important things you can do when setting up your s business is to define objectives and set smaller goals to achieve them. Before you can really set realistic goals and objectives, it is important to first define them. Goals are set with the idea of achieving a specific thing. Maybe you want to increase sales by 30%. Or maybe your goal is to lower turnover. Goals are set with the purpose of achieving an overall objective. The end goal is referred to as your objective, and goals are the smaller accomplishments you make along the way that will help you to reach your objective. In order for your goals and objectives to be useful for your small business, you will need to make sure they cover some key points.

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Process of goal setting
Define the "Want"  Define what you want to achieve, change or obtain. At this stage, focus on the want and be as specific as possible. For example, do you want to achieve a promotion, change your weight or obtain a new car. Determine if the Goal is Actionable  Decide if the "want" is actionable. For example, you may "want" to buy a car, but the goal may not be actionable in the near future. Write down possible actions that can be taken to achieve the goal and be as specific as possible. Conflict With Other Goals?  Verify that other areas of your life do not conflict with the goal you want to set. For example, you may "want" to save a certain percentage of your earned income, but doing so would conflict with a goal to buy a new car, as spending conflicts with saving.
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Write the Goal as an Affirmative Statement  Write the end result that you want to achieve. For example, "I will buy a new car in six weeks paying in cash for the full amount." Write How the Goal Will Be Achieved  Write a step-by-step actionable plan for how the goal will be achieved. For example, "I will work 60 hours each week for the next four weeks to earn the $11,000 needed to buy a Brand X car."

Setting and Achieving Your Business Goals

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1. Brainstorm - Start writing a list of things you'd like to accomplish. At first, you might think you don't have any ideas, but soon they will come pouring out. You may even end up with too many goals that you could realistically accomplish. Prioritize and decide which are most important. 2. Write your goals down in one central place and record any changes you make to your goals - This way you can track your progress and will be become even better at setting goals for yourself in the future. 3. Make sure your goals are challenging, yet attainable - In other words, don't make them all too easy, but then again, don't list a bunch that you will never achieve. If you make them too easy, you will feel like you haven't accomplished much and if you make them too difficult, you'll feel defeated.
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4. Set a realistic timeframe for your goals - Remember, you can't do everything at once. If you have short and simple goals, set short timeframes. For your more involved goals, analyze the steps needed to complete them and be realistic about how much time you will need to accomplish your goals. 5. As you write down your goals, ask why is this my goal? - If your goal is to set up an affiliate program for your site, you will motivate yourself better if you understand and remind yourself why you are doing this. It may be to increase your website traffic, to earn more income or to create brand recognition for your product. It could be any number of things, but make sure you know what they are. 6. Make your goals measurable - Don't just say, you want to learn about graphics. Make a specific plan. Perhaps, you want to learn about Flash graphics and you want to be able to make your own Flash movie. Or perhaps, you're happy just being able to design your own animated gif. You need to be able to see when you've achieved your goals.

7. Identify what "tools" you will use and how will obtain the

"tools" to achieve your goals - Perhaps, your goal is to build your own web page for the first time. You need to think about what you need to do that. Two of the many things you might need are software and a tutorial or the help of knowledgeable friend. You'll need to purchase the software or find the freeware. You'll also need to look around for the tutorial or see when your friend might have time to help you. 8. Don't overload yourself - We all want to get everything done and to be as perfect as possible, but don't give yourself too much. Remember, time with family is why you have a home business. It's okay to have a larger number of small, easily attainable goals, but do limit the number of major goals that require a number of resources and significant time to achieve. Remember, as in a previous step, you can always revisit and revise your goals if need be. 9. Divide your goals into short term and long term goals - If you keep this list separate, you can better organize yourself to complete them. Short term goals usually can be completed at anytime
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with not much time commitment. Your long term goals will require more involvement and you don't likely want to take on too many long term goals at one time. 10. Revisit and revise your goals when necessary - This doesn't mean that if you're a procrastinator, you can just come back and push all your dates back. This exercise is to see if you are on track with your goals. Perhaps, you're a little ahead of schedule and you can add a goal or two.

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