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5-Step Process to Jumpstart Goal-Setting for Your Business

goal setting for your business

We all have turning points in our lives, after which nothing is ever the same. When I was in my twenties, I stumbled across the subject of goals. Within thirty days my life had changed forever.

Over the years, I studied goals and learned how important they were for both business and personal success. One of the discoveries that astonished me was finding that less than 3 percent of people at all levels of business and industry have clear, specific, written, time-bounded goals for their lives that they are working toward on a daily basis.

As I began to implement goal setting in my own life and experience the remarkable changes that working toward clearly defined goals can bring about, I became interested in the subject of strategy, especially business strategy, which is really business goal setting. For many years, I have studied the leading military generals of history and how they used strategic thinking to achieve extraordinary victories, sometimes against overwhelming odds.

Over the last three decades, I have worked with more than 1,000 of the world’s largest corporations, and over 10,000 small and medium-size businesses. I became fascinated by the subject of strategic planning and the impact it can have on an organization of any size.

What I discovered was that most companies have no strategic plan at all. What they have is a budget. They have sales projections. They have operational plans. They have hopes, dreams, and aspirations, but in terms of crystallizing the future of the organization and deciding how they are going to get from where they are to where they want to go, very few companies have a genuine strategic plan.

Five Questions in Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is not a passive activity. Strategic planning is the process of thinking through the action steps that you are going to take to achieve your goals and objectives.

There are five key questions that you can ask and answer over and over in strategic planning. Follow this process:

  1. Assess your current situation - Where am I now?

    Question number one is to ask yourself: Where am I now? Identify your business, your customers, your markets, your competitors, and your financial strengths and weaknesses. An accurate analysis of your current situation is the starting point of all strategy.

  2. Reexamine your past - How did you get to where you are today?

    Question number two is about your past. Look at your history. How did you get to where you are today? What were the critical steps that you took, going back a few years or even
    to the beginning of your business? What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What lessons did you learn? What has changed since you began in this business (recognizing
    that everything changes)? What were the events that got you where you are now, for better or worse?

  3. Create your perfect future - Where do you want to be in the future?

    Question number three in setting strategy is to define your ideal future. Where do you want to be in the future? Where do you want to be one year from now, and in two, three, five, or even ten years? Where do you want to be personally, and where do you want to be as a corporation? Clearly defining your ideal future on the basis of where you are today and how you got here is critical.

  4. Prepare the next steps to take - How are you going to get there?

    Question number four is: How are you going to get there? How are you going to get from where you are today to where you want to be in the future, with the people you have, the
    resources you have, and the market you are working in? My favorite exercises to answer this question are either brainstorming or mindstorming. In brainstorming, you go around the table and challenge each other to come up with at least twenty answers to the question, “What can we do to create a perfect future for this company?” In mindstorming, you write your question at the top of a sheet of paper and then challenge yourself to generate twenty answers to that question. This is an amazing exercise for developing ideas and answers you can use to achieve any goal.

  5. Make a checklist - What do you need?

    Question number five is: What do you need? What additional skills, resources, or money will you require to achieve yourstrategic objectives sometime in the future? One of the most powerful tools that you can use is the simple checklist. Begin to make a list of all the things that you would have to do and all the steps you would have to take to get from where you are today to where you want to be at some time in the future.

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Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. He has written 55 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success.

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