How to set your goals as an entrepreneur

Deciding to take the leap of becoming an entrepreneur is no simple task. As a rule of thumb in business, whether it is a first business or the opening of a multiple location, getting organized and setting a to-do list is top priority. Before getting started, set a list of short and long term goals for the business and never be afraid to follow the path to business ownership. As a first time business owner, here are suggestions of how to get started.

When it comes to setting a goal list, do not expect to come up with a great, organized list in an hour. It may take a week, a month or even longer to create a good list of obtainable and reasonable goals. Once the list of goals is set, it will be easier to break down those goals.

After the main goals are set, go back and break them down into short and long term. Long term should be anywhere from five-years to retirement and short term should be up to one year. It is important to be flexible and do not compare one business to another. Goals are set for each individual business for a reason, not to try and match what another company does.

A good way to start setting goals, long and short term goals is to remember the acronym SMART, it is easy to remember and understand.

S: Shared — Show someone the goals that have been set and ask them to keep you accountable

M: Measured — Use your measurable goals to keep track of progress and help you set higher goals for the next month, business quarter or year.

A: Attainable — Know personal and staff capabilities within the time allotted to achieve your goals and set them accordingly.

R: Realistic — Be honest with yourself, set goals that are reasonable to achieve. Be sure to push yourself but do not set a goal that is beyond the scope of accomplishment.

T: Time Phased — Know what has to be done each month to attain all the goals that have been set.

As the business progresses, write down notes as the days go by to help track what can be ticked off the to-do list that has been set. With the help of smart phones and portable technologies, tracking the business progress is easier than ever. Also, keep notes that will help generate new goals as the business grows, tweak existing ones and take away what may now seem unreasonable. The most important thing is to be honest about what is possible.

Many people aspire to be a business owner but are too afraid to follow that path. Do not be afraid, just do it! As cliché as it may sound, it is a good rule of thumb. Be sure to do as much research, data collection, interviewing, etc. as possible before taking the plunge to ensure that all the facts are there. Overload the brain until it may explode, if it feels like too much information it is probably just enough. This is a highly important process every business owner must go through. If opening a business is something you wish to pursue and the gut feeling says that it is right, just take the leap of faith.

Mike Rothschiller has been the owner of Pillar To Post of Cleveland since 1998. Prior to owning his own business, Rothschiller served in the U.S Air Force as an air traffic controller for 20 years. For information visit  www.pillartopost.com/westcleveland