There is no shortage on advice on Goal Setting, and it’s one of the “basics” of business planning. But how do you set goals when sales are down and all you hear on the news is bad news. What is the alternative? Participate in the recession? Just sit back and let things happen to you? Good economy or bad, goal setting is pivotal. From professional athletes to motivational speakers to CEOs to Real Estate Agents to Super Small Business Owners to Stay-at-Home-Moms, Goal Setting is undeniably the key to success.

If you don’t know where you want to go, how can you create a plan? It is like jumping in the car with your family in it ready to go on vacation and you have no idea where the family is going. You don’t know if you are going across the county, across the state, or across the country. You can’t plan how long it is going to take, or the best way to get there, because you are not sure where you are going. You just get in the car and drive, hoping that something will come up that will give you direction, will give you hope. If your days seem like you are just hoping in the car and driving around without a plan, maybe it is time to do some goal setting.

• First, THINK LARGE. Don’t start with tomorrow, or even next year. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN FIVE YEARS? TEN YEARS? If you concentrate on how BAD things are, you will not be able to think big. Consider personal, financial, and business goals all on this wide open canvas of possibility. Don’t think in terms of How Will I? Think in terms of I WILL.

• Second, VERBALIZE your goals. WRITE them down in specific detail. POST them on your wall for a daily morning review.

• Next, VISUALIZE them. Create the picture of that success, or that vacation, or that volunteer activity. POST it.

• As a final step, ANALYZE your goals. Are they SMART? (Specific and Measurable?) Are they PURE? (Positive and Relevant?) Are they CLEAR? (Challenging and Appropriate.)

• And as a postscript, LEGITIMIZE them. REVISE and REWRITE them so that they fit both your dream and the “test” above. Confirm them with yourself and put them into action.

Remember that when Goal Setting, where you have been isn’t necessarily relevant. Now the course to set is where you want to be. It may be helpful to think of goals in terms of PERFORMANCE as much as in imagery. So when thinking of your goals, for example: an increase in the number of referrals you receive over the next five years, think not only of the physical number: say, 30%, but of the performance or action which needs to accompany that goal. Let’s take this example through the steps:

• I will increase our referral business by 30% in the next five years.

• I see a client appreciation picnic of 500 people catered by my favorite deli.

• Smart= I will measure the increase in the number of referrals year by year.

  • Pure=I will reward clients and my team members with a company picnic to show our appreciation.

 

  • Clear=I will rise to the challenge by increasing referrals incrementally each year from our current 20%.

• In terms of Performance/Action: I will hand write a thank you after each business transaction. I will observe birthdays and anniversaries through my email databank. I will strive for a 5 on every evaluation that is returned to me through my attention to detail and positive service plan.

• Make the goals FUN and MOTIVATING. If a new car or piece of jewelry or house motivates you, put that in your goal. Put little goals in along the way as well. Buy yourself that new designer purse when you hit a certain number of sales. Reward yourself along the way to hitting your BIG Goals.

Suddenly the goal is not just a dream, but a in specific direction toward your definition of success. Goal Setting should put a smile on your face! It’s the future you see in your dreams—achieved through your efforts and passion.