It is crucial to make sure you are setting and achieving goals. This is as true in business as it is in any endeavor.
The most common and most costly mistake is choosing the wrong business. Choosing the wrong business most often comes from failing to set goals. This page gives you a framework for setting and achieving goals–both personal and business goals.
Read the entire page to learn how to set and achieve your goals; then determine what your personal and business goals will be (try the goal sheet here)and whether a business that you may be considering will achieve those goals.
The Correct Decisions in the Correct Order
Whether or not you already have your business idea, go through this page to determine whether the business you are getting ready to start is a good business for you.
Whose Advice to Take
It’s also important to determine whose advice to take in evaluating the potential of your business idea to achieve your personal and business goals. There will be people with your best interest in mind who just aren’t in a position to give you good advice. Others will have their own agenda. Still others will be in a good position to give you good advice and will not have their own agenda. Watch the short video below to determine how to distinguish among the different advice givers. This advice is true for any industry. And remember, you are setting and achieving your goals.
Make the Most Important Decisions First
Now that you’ve made the critical first decision of taking your future into your hands and starting your own business, you need to make decisions on the basis of the answers to three more questions, each in its correct order. They are:
- What are my personal and business goals?
- What are the correct strategies to achieve my goals?
- How can I execute the strategies I have set to achieve my goals?
The first question you need to answer is this:
I. What are my personal and business goals?
You will have both personal and business goals. Make sure you’ve got those goals clearly in your mind.
It is critical that you go through this process now. These are going to be the factors you will use to evaluate your business ideas.
Setting Personal Goals
For a list of my personal goals, a list that will give you ideas for listing your personal goals, look at the Goal Setting Forms. You can download and copy the list of goals in pdf format and use the list to evaluate your business ideas.
In considering your personal goals remember the following:
- People who go into business for the money only will be paying for it the rest of their lives. Will I ENJOY doing this business? Am I following my PASSION
The biggest mistake people make in life is NOT making a living at doing what they most enjoy. – Malcolm S. Forbes
- Start your business with the end in mind. Will this business give me the LIFESTYLE I want?
- When deciding on the financing of a business, take into account your living expenses for the first year. Do I have ENOUGH MONEY to start this business and enough income from other sources to live before I start making money?
Whatever personal goals you have remember this about business:
…Business is not about tricks, win-lose deals, and dishonesty. It’s about action, persistence, patience, honesty, faith and hard work. Business is about creating long-term relationships; it’s about making those relationships WIN-WIN. Business is about creating value in the world and being compensated because you have made people’s lives better. Business is about getting what you want by giving people what they want or need.
Setting Business Goals
Once you have decided your idea achieves your personal goals consider whether your idea achieves your business goals. Consider each of the following factors when thinking about your business goals.
- Business is ultimately about giving people what they need or want. Are you making people’s lives better by giving them what they NEED or WANT?
- Be a specialist, offer something others don’t. Don’t rely on a lower price as your only advantage. Do you have a CLEAR ADVANTAGE over others in giving people what they need or want?
- Follow your passion but make sure you will make money. On the one hand, you should do what you love; on the other hand most hobbies will not make you money. Make sure it’s a good business vehicle.
- Follow the money. Make sure your product or service is not a commodity. A commodity is characterized by there being no (or little) difference between different suppliers. If you are in a commodity business you compete on price alone. Chances are that you will not be able to survive if you cannot show a unique value proposition.
- If you market an invention, be sure you have a patent which you can get at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- Look for a unique and consumable product or service. If it unique, customers must come to you. If it is consumable, you are not dependent on continually finding new customers.
- Don’t try to fight big business unless you know you are going to win. Many long-standing small businesses have closed when large competitors have entered their market. Make sure you have an advantage that large businesses can never overcome. You will never be able to compete against the likes of Wal-Mart or Home Depot unless you offer something unique they cannot offer. Any business model that puts you in direct competition with Wal-Mart, Amazon, Dell, or eBay should be a non-starter for you. These larger companies can do it better, they can buy products cheaper, they have deeper pockets, and can sell at a loss longer than you can. The only way to win – don’t compete with them.
- Follow the rule of good business timing. Look for trends. Consider the demographics. As an example, there are 78 million baby boomers. When they were born, the baby food business boomed; as they grew to school age schools were built; when they bought their first houses the real estate industry exploded. Today, as they start turning 60, the wellness industry is in great demand. Look for a large and expanding market. For more on business timing, look at the video accessed at the bottom of the page on starting a recession proof business.
- Look to establish a business system. Figure out what will be successful, perfect it and then be able to do it again and again. This is the essence of a successful business. You can follow the link at the bottom of the Goal Setting forms to see how my business model does this.
Now that you have set your personal and business goals, you are ready to start evaluating your answers to the second critical question:
II. What are the correct strategies to achieve my goals?
Determine whether you Want to be Completely Independent, a Franchisee or Whether you Want to be Associated with a Large Company
To determine the correct strategies to achieve your goals determine at this point whether you want to be completely independent, a franchisee, or associated with a large company.
Now that you have your Business Idea, How do you get the Knowledge you Need to Set the Correct Strategies?
Take the idea or ideas you have come up with and do your research. The more research you do, the more you realize how little you know. However, if you do enough research you will get to the point where things start to become clearer again. When that happens, you know you are on the right path. There are four techniques for skill acquisition, which is the ability to know what you are doing:
- Work for somebody else in the industry and learn on their dime. Just be sure not to compete with them while you are still employed.
- Get a mentor, but be sure it’s a win/win situation. The most stable relationships are win/win situations. You will ultimately gain the most both in the short run and in the long run if you can make sure that both parties gain. Give the mentor an incentive to help you; ideally you will not have to pay that incentive from your profits. Consider three types of relationships:
- Employer/employee—the more the employer has to pay, the smaller his profits. If he pays the employee everything the employee is worth to him, he will not benefit from having hired the employee.
- Broker/agent—in this relationship the broker will train the agent and provide a business within which the agent can work. Each sale results in a commission which is split between the broker and the agent. If the agent is good and ambitious, he will leave the agency arrangement and become a broker. The broker will then have trained his competition.
- Mentor/mentee—in this relationship, as in the others, the mentor trains the mentee and helps him reach his goals. The mentor and the mentee both make money from the mentee’s work. The mentor will have earned his money by training the mentee. A unique characteristic of this relationship, however, is that the money the mentor makes does not come from the mentee’s profits. There are many ways to set up a mentor/mentee relationship, depending on the industry.
- Learn from experts/consultants—this is a great way because this is what they know how to do. While the win/win isn’t as exact as mentor/mentee, there are many good business coaches and consultants both online and offline who can help get your business started right.
- Take business classes and specialized classes in your industry, research and talk to a lot of people in the industry—people like to talk about themselves. They will give you lots of information. One note, talk to the people who have been successful in your industry and be careful whom you believe. The video below gives a great lesson on this. It starts with one industry and then gives examples taken from other industries.
Where to Go from Here – If You Still Haven’t Decided on a Business
If you still don’t have an idea for your business, the following may help you:
- Go to the principles of a recession proof business page. After reading the page fill out the information requested and watch a 25 minute video which gives a business model that may speak to you.
- Go through the working from home step, paying particular attention to the section on starting your website and the section written for stay at home moms. Working from home can be advantageous in accomplishing many of the goals found in the Goal Setting forms.
- Go through Step 5 and determine whether a franchise is right for you. This page will take you through the process of choosing and evaluating a good franchise for you.
- Go through Step 6, ideas for a small business, which contains other resources to help you.
The rest of this website is dedicated to answering the third critical question:
III. How can I execute the strategies I have set to achieve my goals?
You Now Know…
You have determined what goals to take into consideration, both personal and business, in coming up with and evaluating your personal and business ideas. You have taken your ideas and determined what is really right for you. You now know:
- The most common and costly mistake is choosing the wrong business
- How to take into consideration your personal and business goals when coming up with or evaluating a business idea
- The advantages and disadvantages of starting a business where you are completely independent, where you are a franchisee, and where you are associated with a large company
- The benefits of mentor/mentee relationships
- How to get the knowledge you will need to be successful in your business
- Whom to believe when looking for information