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Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs: Working Towards More Than a Job Title

Entrepreneurs pride themselves on their independence. In many cases, it is hard to distinguish between their personal and professional lives, particularly when ‘office hours’ may vary based on the activity of the day. They don’t need to worry about climbing a corporate ladder – they’re building their own ladder. How can an entrepreneur effectively use goal setting when their career is so loosely defined?

Is it possible to use goals when you are just starting the path to entrepreneurship? How can goal setting help you in later stages of your career?

Avoid career specific goals

Individuals who work in a career often set goals such as, “Become vice-president of sales’ or “Be the head of XYZ department’. These career specific goals don’t work for the entrepreneur, mainly because they create their own department and don’t need to worry about how quickly they progress through leadership – they’re in charge of everything day one. How’s that for a promotion!

Instead of focusing on career specific goals, the entrepreneur should set goals that are relevant to their business.

Set lifestyle goals

Due to the nature of entrepreneurship, the professional and personal aspects of life get blurred. Instead of fighting this tendency, embrace it by setting goals that correspond to the lifestyle that is desired. Include goals about potential travelling opportunities, a flexible work schedule or other milestones that are important for you to reach.

Use SMART goal setting

Regardless of what specific goal you set, one of the most effective ways of ensuring your success is to use SMART goals. By crafting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely, you help build a blueprint towards your success. The SMART system of goals can give you incremental milestones to help build your business, one small step at a time.

Use growth related goals

Setting goals that help your business develop in multiple areas gives your company both size and scope. Entrepreneurs who set goals for growth, ‘Selling X number of items per month’, as well as depth, ‘Cultivate relationships with 3 potential customers per week’ are giving themselves multiple areas to develop. More importantly, these types of goals are easily transferred to multiple businesses. Once the entrepreneur has developed the habit of effective goal setting, the principles can be applied to whatever business they are establishing, and any new ones they create down the road.

Tie goals to skills

Many professionals set goals for achievement. Reaching a specific career level, attaining a specific corporate position or reaching a specific sales quota are all relevant and useful. However, for the entrepreneur, setting strategic goals tied to skills is more effective. Skills are translatable, and can be useful regardless of the company or idea the entrepreneur may be working on currently. ‘Mastering two new elements of pitching” is specific and relevant, and can be used in a variety of fields.

Goal setting is an effective tool for individuals wishing to improve their professional or personal lives. To maximize the use of goal setting, entrepreneurs should prioritize their goals differently than the individuals who work in a traditional career. By setting growth-driven goals and by focusing on skills and strategies that will help position the entrepreneur for future success, the same principles of goal setting can be used.

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