There are several versions of this quote floating around and finding an original source ended being a lesson in futility but I like this version best. A goal without a plan is just a wish. If you want something but don’t have a plan to get it you are just wishing you had it, which is fine, but rarely gets you what you want. If you truly want to go after something come up with a plan. As you set your goals and plans use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to help you along.
- Specific – Being too general with your goals makes them harder to achieve. Make sure you break giant goals up into more specific goals.
- Measurable – If it’s not measured it’s not managed. Measuring is the only way to be sure you are making progress.
- Achievable – Do you have the resources to do it? If not you need to rethink your goal.
- Relevant – Does it apply to you and your life? Is it part of your overall ambitions and needs?
- Timely – Can it be done in a reasonable time frame. Longer-term goals are harder to accomplish, consider breaking the timeline down into smaller time frame goals.
There you have it. Out with the easily breakable New Years Resolution and in with the S.M.A.R.T. goals for a better year.
I have never liked New Years Resolutions, mostly because of the negative baggage attached to them. I was told as I grew up the only purpose of a New Years Resolution was to see how long it took to break it so from an early age I made goals. Sometimes I achieved my goal, sometimes I didn’t but since I could keep going towards my stated goal I hadn’t broken a promise, it just took longer than a year to accomplish it. The last couple of Years I had heard Dr. Larry Hass talking about what he does for the new year and it seemed very affirmational and useful so I have adopted it to my practice of goal reviewing each year. Mind you I set goals all the time but the first of the years seems as good a place as any for a goal review. Here are the 3 questions Dr. Hass writes down.
- What are my Achievements from last year?
- What Commitments Should I make for this Year?
- What are my Goals for this year?
Make sure to write down your answers because an unwritten goal is just a wish. Make sure to use the S.M.A.R.T. method when writing your goals to make sure they are good ones. That is to make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Make sure to send me a note or give me a call if you need help with your business goals this year.
It’s never too late to get started on this. Which ones have you done?
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In the second part of how to write a business plan we write the Company Description. This part of the plan gives a high level overview of the company. The purpose of this section is to tell about the businesses unique position in the market place. Your unique position is what makes you “Different, better, special”. This gives readers and investors a better understanding of your business. Keep in mind, to remain sustainable you need a competitive advantage that no one else has or at least a very few have. The Company Description should contain four parts.
First, describe your business and the consumer needs it fills. This is not just a list of products and services; it is a list of the underlying needs your company fulfills.
Second, explain how your products and/or services meet the needs of your potential clients. Make sure to cover each of the items listed in the first section.
Third, list the consumers, companies and/or organizations your company serves and/or wants to serve. Be specific, name names and reasons why these clients are the targets for your business.
Last, tell the reader what competitive advantages your business has that will make it successful. What is it that your company has that brings value to the consumer? It could be special location, personnel, unique operations or anything else that set you apart from your competitors.
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