A business plan is a road map, in writing, that serves as the foundation of the business and sets forth the goals and objectives that are projected to be achieved over a five-year period.
If a company does a good job at creating and carrying out the plan, the business has a better chance in succeeding as compared to those that don’t.
Setting goals is very much like creating a business plan isn’t it?
It is a plan that defines who you are, your marketing strategies, customer analysis, identifying your competition, an action plan, and what income you will generate from the fruits of your labor.
But are your goals in your head or are they goals, in writing, that will keep you on a path toward achieving those goals every day, week, month, quarter, and year?
In the book, “What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School”, Mark McCormack tells about a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and 84 percent had no specific goals at all.
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals?
They were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
Now that we understand the importance of setting goals let us look at the components that comprise goal setting.
- Set goals that motivate you - Motivation is key to achieving your goals.
- Set realistic goals - It’s important to set goals that you can achieve and a manageable number of goals that you can achieve within a specified time period.
- Prioritize your goals - When you have several goals, prioritize them. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals and helps to focus your attention on the most important ones.
- Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times, and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
- Share your plan - It is helpful when you share your plan with family, associates or friends. This will keep you in check with yourself because you have told someone else that you are going to do something.
- Display your goals- Display your goals or goal statements in a prominent spot at your desk or carry them with you so that you will be continually reminded of your goals and timelines.
Here are five steps to help you get your thoughts on paper.
- Find a quiet place where you can give serious thought to what you are about to commit to. Bring only yourself, a pad of paper, a couple of pens, and leave your cell phone behind. Block out ample time that will allow you to get your thoughts on paper without being distracted.
- Once you are settled in ask yourself what do you really want to achieve over the next five years? In addition to your career goals, consider your physical, financial, relationships, family, spiritual, social, and any other goals that you want to achieve. Write down every goal that comes to mind no matter what the goal may be.
- After you have compiled your master list of goals, schedule a revisit in one week to make sure that the goals that you have identified are the ones that motivate you and are achievable.
- Create a one-year, six-month, and a one-month plan with which to achieve your goals. Then create a daily to-do list of the things that you should do today in order to achieve your goal.
- Once you have a plan in place start working on it to achieve your goals. Periodically re-evaluate your plan and tweak it if and when necessary.
The Importance of Setting Goals is just one of the areas addressed in my new workshop for hotel Sales Managers – ‘Mapping the Course‘.
Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement firm, that helps hotels grow their business and generate more revenue.