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4 Key Elements of Setting Goals that Can Assist Small Business Start-Ups to be Successful

Updated on November 15, 2012

The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu (The Way of Lao-Tsu) said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Another translation says, even the longest journey must begin where you stand.

Starting a small business with little capital can be likened to a journey of a thousand miles. It can be hard to gather up the motivation to make that initial step. Sometimes, it can be like how you feel on a rainy Monday morning when you just don’t want to get out of bed and set out to work if you don’t have that focus, determination and commitment to what you want to achieve. Fear of the unknown can also be paralyzing.

So how can you boldly and confidently take that initial first step?

There are thousands of resources that will tell you about setting effective goals. In this hub, we shall look at the four key elements of setting goals that can boost the success of a small business. Just setting goals in the mind is not enough, even though it may be motivating to set goals.

Goals = A Road Map

Setting effective goals to guide us in what we want to achieve is like a traveler's map that directs us to where we want to go and what we want to accomplish at the end of the journey. Without a map, we can either get lost along the way or may not reach the destination.

Goal is used interchangably with objectives but there is a difference. The objectives are the means to achieving the end goals and are very specific and short-term. Goals are long-term.

Having goals assists realize the following:

1.Goals provide focus.

Without clearly defined goals, vision or plan, we may wander off into the wrong direction, away from the path that leads to the desired destination or end result. Goals provide a measuring rod for progress and keep us focused on what we want to achieve. Before starting a small business with little capital, your purpose, vision and goals must be clearly written down in your business plan. This will help you to remain focused on your desired outcome.

2.Goals enhance productivity

Setting goals and achieving them enhances productivity and motivates us to achieve more. It is human nature that if we see results of what we want, it increases that urge to do more to achieve more.

3.Goals bolster self-esteem and motivates

People are happier and confident when they have goals, the desired end results, to guide them. Research has shown that achieving goals we've set produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure. Reciprocally, dopamine activates neural circuitry that makes us eager to pursue new challenges.

4.Goals increase commitment

Setting goals for a small business, especially when you are starting up, increases commitment to what you want to achieve. It makes us feel responsible so we’re more likely to achieve whatever you set out to finally achieve.

Putting our goals in writing prevents us from leaving the goals vague and helps us to stay focused. The goals we set for ourselves must be specific, have measurable outcomes, achievable, and have specific completion dates.

Visualize achieving your goals. Visualizing that desired outcome you want to achieve creates that mental condition where nothing can stop you from reaching your goal. Find a quiet place, visualize and write down what your mind sees. Get pictures that represent your goal and put them around your house and provide constant reminders to yourself about what you’re working towards.

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