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Set Business Goals - how you can achieve smart goals and objectives

Updated on June 23, 2011

Setting business goals provides you with clear direction and keeps you motivated while being on track.

Well-defined business goals force you to clarify your thought process as well as assist you to remain focused and consistent. They channel you to consider integrating marketing strategies by continued analyzing of your business and target market. Setting business goals is at the core of your business success or failure.

The question is how do we know if the business goals we are setting are the ones we should be setting? How do we know if we are on the right path?

Like with setting your personal goals and career goals, the right business goals should follow these four goal setting rules.

1) Smart business goals have to be Specific.
Identify your goals.Take time to focus on the direction of your business and where you see it heading in the next, say, three years. It is only by identifying where you see the business moving in the near future that you can be specific with your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a large corporation and believe you have the knowledge, abilities and mindset to do it, that should be clearly stated in your business goals. Having said that, you will also need to develop your goals from general statements like the mentioned example (build a large corporation), to specific actions that you can perform and evaluate.

2) Smart business goals have to be Measurable.
Another common mistake when setting business goals is to choose business goals and objectives that have been set blindly without consideration of what is required, the resources or support you have. You need to measure what is to be achieved against what you realistically can produce with what you have. Setting goals such as "Complete a 150-page magazine artwork within 2 weeks" sound nice - but if in reality you require 3 weeks based on the resources that are available to you, how do you suppose you can achieve that? You need to ensure that you have allotted sufficient resources and support in order that your goal can be met.

3) Smart business goals have to be Achievable.
The purpose of setting business goals is to propel your business forward and preferably, ahead of your competition. However, do not stretch yourself beyond your capabilities. Your objective should be a motivator for you, challenging but attainable. If you set the bar too high, you are just setting yourself up for failure and major disappointment. This eventually leads to disillusionment and is a sure demotivator.
A business goal, like all goals, has to stretch us to be worth doing. To ensure that you accomplish your business goal, set yourself short term targets, building up to long term goals. Work on them in bite-size chunks. This will automatically see you achieve more and not wasting time in trying to achieve your one big goal.

4) Smart business goals have to be Relevant.
While you have a vision of where you want to head with your business, you have to be clear as to what actions you will take to help you get there. Some business owners make the mistake of selecting business goals that are irrelevant or meaningless to their business. For instance, one person I know at one point dropped some leaflets into residential letterboxes that promoted his business. So what? If his general intention was to increase his business, he had needed to identify his specific market first up, then create a desire with his market to want his product. The letterbox exercise was unfortunately a pure waste of his time.
To be relevant, a business goal does have to present a clear advantage or benefit to your business.

5) Smart business goals have to be Time-Based.
I am a huge advocate for working towards deadlines and within a time frame. Like with rule no 3 of setting business goals that are achievable, you must not set your time frames too tight. Set short and simple goals, set short time frames. For goals that are more involved, examine the steps required to complete them. You need to be realistic about the amount of time required to accomplish your goals. You need to set realistic time-based goals.

Zig Ziglar Video: Setting Goals

The following videos by Zig Ziglar, an inspirational personal development guru, demonstrates the importance of setting goals and objectives with a plan of action in order to achieve the success, business or personal, you are looking for. Zig has one simple rule: You do it now. You do it now. Zig points out that we all have 24 hours, it is not that we lack time but it is probably more so that we lack direction.

I have listed his Plan of Action as per below but it is defintely worth your while to view the video. Watch these videos. Act on these videos. And watch your business or personal life change! The below is the first of three parts.


  1. Write your goals down
  2. Set a date or time frame
  3. Identify the obstacles you might face
  4. Identify the people you need to work with
  5. Identify what you need to know
  6. Design a plan of action from here to there
  7. Write down your benefits of achieving this goal

Zig Ziglar Setting Goals Part 1 of 3 (Plan of Action)

Zig Ziglar Video: Setting Goals Part 2 of 3

Zig Ziglar Video: Setting Goals Part 3 of 3

If you gained something from this article then I highly encourage you to forward this page on to a business associate, friend or family member whom you think might benefit from it. I look foward to hearing from you should you have any comments or thoughts.

I strongly urge you to start work on setting Business Goals. In the words of Zig Ziglar: Do it now. Do it now!

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    • May PL profile image

      May PL 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Thanks Kstroud33 for your feedback. It is great to know the hub gets read! Your input about the survey has encouraged me to put more in into my other hubs. I do appreciate your comments.

    • profile image

      Kstroud33 6 years ago

      Great blog! Wonderful content, and videos were a nice touch. I bookmarked this for it's value. I took the survey (nice touch as well) and scored 100% Yay!

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      Business Weekly reader of OZ 6 years ago

      Nice, simple, practical and easy to follow.