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Set a realistic goal. When reached, set another.

     There’s a big difference between your vision for your company, your mission and your goal. Your vision tells the world what you want to be as you contemplate in advance how you will change the world for the better. Your mission merely states who you are and what you do. It is used to limit and sift your opportunities to keep you from using resources for projects outside of your core, your mission.

     But your goal is a tangible aiming point, one that should be achievable within several years if you accomplish your progressive steps planned between now and then. You can express it in terms of money, market share, influence or other measure that reflects success. An example: “To be at a $25 million run rate by the end of our fifth year in business.” That is measurable and from this you’ll be able to look backward to develop a set of steps (strategies) to achieve that goal.

     [Email readers, continue here…] Once achieved, a goal is meant to be overwritten with a newer one, set to even higher standards. If achieved early, celebrate and set another goal earlier than planned.

     The good thing about a goal is that it is measurable, and progress toward it can be measured as well. Unlike a mission or even a vision, neither of which may be measured, there is a satisfaction in each step toward achievement. Better yet, your employees and investors will appreciate constant attention to the goal and reports of progress toward it. A goal serves as a rallying point for all associated with your vision.

     Make the goal realistic, achievable and public. You’ll find others buying into the objective and even creating better ways to achieve it because they are invested in the dream and the measure of that dream – the mutual goal.

  • Dave, I think you hit a homerun again. I totally agree a business plan need not look like the Manhattan telephone directory. A short concise plan that is revisited as conditons change is essential.

    A strategic plan (something that goes out a few years) should be treated in a similar fashion.

  • JJ Richa


    This truly resonates with me. I agree with your post and like the way you separated the goal as being tangible from the rest. Most importantly, and you hit it spot on, is being able to set realistic goals and keep on setting new ones when the old ones are reached.

    In my experience, most entrepreneurs make the mistake of setting un-realistic goals and compound that by setting new goals before reaching the goals already set (which are un-reachable).

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