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Goal Setting for entrepreneurs

Effective goal setting is a challenging exercise. It requires self-knowledge and courage. Remember, whatever goals you write down you can have, provided you believe it, you are prepared to set it as a goal, and you are prepared to pay the necessary price in advance. Unfortunately, you always have to pay the price for success in advance. You have to make the necessary efforts to learn the skills, be positive and take the necessary action. Collecting information is important, making decisions is important, but only action gets results. A manager's job is to get results.

How do I get started on goal setting? There are 4 steps that can be used by almost anyone for the effective setting of goals. Keep in mind that there are many formulas for goal setting. It is up t the person who sets the goals to make them become reality.

Step 1
Realise the importance of setting effective goals

You are the master/mistress of your own destiny. You can be, have, or do more or less anything you want in life provided you are prepared to:
set it as a goal;
focus and concentrate on the goal on a day-to-day basis;
resolve to pay the necessary price in advance. (Unfortunately, you always have to pay the price in advance.)

It is generally recognized that fewer than 5 per cent of people set goals. It is also generally recognized that fewer than 5 per cent of people consider their lives to be successful. It should come as no surprise that the people who do become successful are the same people who do set goals. The vast majority of people do not realize that goals are important. The vast majority of people do not know how to set goals. Remember that you cannot set goals for other people and that they cannot set goals for you. You are responsible for setting your own goals.

We know that success is derived from both knowledge and positive mental attitude. We also know that failure is strongly associated with lack of knowledge and negative attitudes. Focusing on desired goals stimulates excitement and enthusiasm, which are in turn strongly associated with positive mental attitude. Very few people are prepared to set goals. Most people are not prepared to learn more or make the necessary efforts to be more positive. Millions of people think that "education" is something that you get at school, or perhaps university. In fact, very few people ever recover from the damage done to their education by going to school. Real learning is a continuous change of behavior. Winners are happy to change to accommodate the world. Losers wish the world would change to accommodate them.

Clear goals are the essential ingredient to success and happiness. Clear goals make decision making very easy. With clear goals we tend to collect the relevant information, make sensible decisions, and take the necessary actions which achieve the desired result or goal. We tend to avoid time-wasting opportunities. Procrastination is not the thief of time, it is the thief of life. When you are killing time, you are killing life. When you indulge yourself in pastimes, you are passing life. Be wise in the ways in which you use your time for time is the stuff of which life is made.

Step 2
Be clear of what you want from the future The vast majority of people simply do not know what they want. Goals should always be set in line with your values and vision of the future. This can be in the form of a personal or business vision statement. Some questions to ask yourself during this process are:

In a perfect world, where would you be three years from now?
What are your career goals, stated in terms of sales, profits, or salary?
What are the skills you will need to learn?
If you were successful, what would you be, have or do?
What do you daydream about?
Answering this question should help you to identify your personal goals.

What are the three-to-five aspects of life which you value most?
Is it health, is it the quality of your relationships, is it money, is it some worthy goal, self-knowledge or self-fulfilment?

What would you do if you knew you had ten years to live?
This question can help you identify what you really want.

What is it that holds your attention?
This could help you to identify your area of excellence.

What were you doing in your career when you were happiest?
This also can help you to identify your area of excellence.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievements?
This should help you to identify those activities which raise your self-esteem.

What do you consider to be your areas of excellence?
Again, this could help you identify your specialization.

If there were only one achievement you could effect in life, what would that achievement be?
Answering this question could help you to identify your most worthy goal.

What would you do if you won '10 million on the National Lottery?
Answering this question can help you to establish your self-concept level of income. In fact, most people start giving the money away as quickly as possible.

If you have not already created a personal or business vision, then perhaps this may be be a good time. I would like to reiterate, It is very difficult to get anywhere if you do not know where you are going. The clearer your vision of destination is, the easier it will be to get there.

Step 3
Determine what you really want the outcome of your goal/s to be

Communicating without an outcome is like taking a trip without a destination. With a specific outcome, direction is set and you are provided with the opportunity to evaluate whether or not you are reaching the goal. We will call this step the outcome frame. Framing or describing exactly what you want the outcome to be. NECESSARY CONDITIONS:
Stated in positives.
Within individual's control.
Sensory based description (testable). Aim for a specific measurable result. Appropriately conceptualized and appropriately timed.
Ecological. Examine all consequences of achieving the outcome. It needs to fit into the overall plan (both short and long term goals) of the individual (or group). OUTCOME FRAME QUESTIONS:
Stated in positives.
What do you want instead of what do you not want? Within individual's control.
Evidence Procedure: How might you get it? How would you know if you were getting your outcome? What would you be doing to get it? Specify the present situation and view the path from present state to desired state.

Relevancy Challenge: Is what you are doing relevant to what you want?
Use to check relevancy of information in terms of your statement of outcome. This keeps the planner on target. Makes distinctions between need to know and need not to know. Too much information can in fact distract you from a targeted action. Sensory based description (testable). Aim for a specific measurable result.
What do you need to get outcome? (resources) What is first step you can take now?

Evidence Procedure: How will you know if...
As If Frame: As if you could...or Just suppose..
Go into future as though person already has their outcome. Use this viewpoint as the larger frame within which to gather information and test for a well-formed outcome, looking backward.

Appropriately contextualized.
Context: When, where, with whom do you want it? By when do you want it? Ecological. Examine all consequences of achieving the outcome. It needs to fit into the overall plan (both short and long term goals) of the individual (or group).
Ecology: How will this affect your life? Does not having this outcome benefit you in any way? (Positive by-products?) (As If Frame?) Is there a dovetail with the ecology of others? How do your outcomes and another person's fit best together?To summarize, these are the questions to ask yourself when determining a specific outcome for your goals:

What do you want?

How might you get it?

How might you stop yourself?

How would you know if you got it?

Step 4
Set your goals

If you are unsure of this step, go back to step 2. One tip for this step is to be honest with yourself.

Goals should be in writing, in measurable terms and have specific timelines. This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people miss this. Phrasing is important, and defining the measurables can be quite exciting. For example, a goal might be that "we're going to type letters that are 97% error-free within 30 days."
Consider setting a "minimum" goal and a "realistic" goal for each goal you write down.

In conclusion, people who do not have clear goals tend to take whatever comes along. People who do not set goals are usually destined to spend the rest of their lives working for people who do set goals. If you don't know where you are going, just about any road will take you there!

About the Author
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Ben Botes MSc. MBA, is an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Writer, Coach and academic. He is the founder of, South African Business Hubs
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