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Really… What is a goal?

I’m writing this blog after meeting with a few people with great experience at the NCAE networking group in Roseville.

I have been in business for quite some time now and I have read many things about goals. But what is a goal? How do you set a goal? How do you make sure that you reach your goals?

So, let’s start by setting a goal.

“I want a home worth $1.2 million dollars”

Ah! Is that really a goal?

The truth is that this is so blurry that it cannot be a realistic goal, at least not for most people. This does not mean you won’t be able to get the home of your dream, to the contrary. But if you expect it to simply happen, it won’t.

So? How do you make it happen?

Write your goal down, including a date; then all the steps to reach that goal. As you go, feel free to change the date as required. And the more detailed, the better. But again, make sure you limit yourself in time, otherwise you won’t get done!

One step might be to finally create your own company, make the company profitable within 2 years and sell a large chunk to make the $1.2 million dollars you need to purchase your home.

So. If getting your home is your ultimate goal, we can write that down:

Goal 1. Pay cash for my $1.2 million home in 2012.

Notice that I put a date (and I’m writing this in 2008 so it gives me 4 years.) This is one of the most important part of a goal. A goal without a definite date is not a goal, it’s 100% a dream.

Goal 2. Create my own company this year, in September 2008 the latest.

Again, I wrote the time when the second goal has to happen. Now, “Create my own company,” how will that happen? (Note: I will assume that you have terrific idea that will sell.)

What you must write down is your exit. How do you want to make your money out of that company? Through your salary? An IPO? A private sale to another company? Licensing of your ideas?

The exit is the most important step since that’s where you get the $1.2 million dollars.

Goal 3. Write the business plan for the company by the end of April 2008.

Anyone who has a larger than 1 person business knows that without a business plan, you do not go anywhere. You may be happy fixing plumbing problems for your customers. Some plumbers, however, would be even happier having employees who go fix the plumbing for them. They know how to do it themselves so if a problem arise that none of his employees can fix, they can go on site and fix it themselves. But most of the time, they will work on the business side of things. And the business plan will help greatly in determining the costs of having employees and thus how many sales need to happen every month.

Goal 4. Write down all the steps necessary to create the product(s). (this is actually part of the business plan)

This is an often overlooked step for small companies. The technical aspect may already be satisfied. You may even have a prototype that already works.

But you need a product you can sell. For this to happen, you must write down all the necessary steps to complete the product and put it on the market. And don’t forget that this includes the marketing, your sale scheme and process, etc. If you are an engineer, you may want to hire someone who knows better than you how to take care of all of these aspects.

All of these steps are goals too. Goals that you can control pretty well with good management.

And if a goal looks too blurry, look at it as too large. In other words, refine the details of that goal even more. Each detail itself becoming a goal.

Goal 5. Get the financing, $85,000/mo for 24 months (about $2 million), by September 2008.

Now that you have the business plan, it will be a hell of a lot easier to get financing from other people. Present your business plan to as many people as you can. Talk to them about the product, your ideas, why it’s better than the existing products, etc.

Here, again, you cannot know how much money you will get nor exactly when you will get it. Thus, this goal should be rewritten with details on how to achieve the goal. For instance, you do want to meet as many people as possible. Go to places where there are people with a lot of money. If you enjoy Golf, that can be a good start. However, I’d suggest Angels Associations. Look for places where they go to meet with the public (conferences, mixers, etc.)

Set your goal to see at least 1 person with tons of money a week and it will happen. Need to have it happen faster? Meet with 1 person a day. Spend most of your time looking for the places where they meet and go there prepared. Have several copies of your business plan ready (but do NOT start by handing it to anyone, wait for them to ask for it. That way you won’t waste copies.)

Goal 6. Get it rolling by October 2008.

Now that you’ve got your plan and the money, you can just make it happen. This is easy: you wrote all the steps down. And in 4 years, you will buy your home.

And by the way… if you really want to buy that home, write down all the steps necessary to purchase a home! That’s time consuming if that’s not your business and it involves many steps. Many that you may just end up not taking and then you will end up with the wrong home. Think about it!