Starting a new business can be overwhelming, so it's important to have goal setting strategies,
to clarify what you want from your business and how you plan to get
there. This includes both short- and long-term personal and
1. Create Your Own Future
Where - and what - do you want to be in a year? Five? Ten? Write it
down. Then work backward. How do you get there? What are your stopgaps?
With whom do you need to network to make it happen? Update these lists
frequently. Brainstorm with friends and business associates. Revisit
your vision regularly. Try it on, like that blouse you wear for special
occasions, to make sure it still feels right. Don't be afraid to change
the planned future if it no longer fits where you are, but remember:
it's yours to create as you please.
2. Plot Your Baby Steps
On your way to that future you've designed, you have to reach stepping stones. Create a list of people, places, functions, research and resources that you can and will access to arrive at each point along the way. Realize that each step has multiple paths leading to it. Envision as many of these paths as possible, and be open and willing to take any one of them at any time. All roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes.
3. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Discouragement, disappointment and your own version of failure will happen. Don't let them stop you from getting where you want to be. When a construction crew works on a highway, they offer drivers a detour. Look at setbacks in your plan as simple detours, new and different ways to arrive at the destination you have set for yourself. For every lead that falls through, brainstorm five more. For every deadline missed, turn in projects three days early. Conversely, take time for yourself, too. For every contact made, every project completed on time, every lead generated, treat yourself somehow. It doesn't have to cost money or be extravagant, but it should be something that brings you joy.
4. Imagine a World without Failure
All the usual clichés work as mental exercises. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Dream big. Include those dreams in your plans. You'll never succeed at what you don't try. All those inspirational posters that middle management puts in cubicles to inspire office workers, as corny as they are, have something going for them. It's easy to become frustrated when you're your own boss - it's a strangely co-dependent relationship - and some outside encouragement, even if it's cheesy, can break the unhealthily critical hold so many people have on themselves.
5. Have Contingency Plans
Life changes on a dime. People get sick. They die. Finances crumble. Economies collapse. Relationships end. Make sure that your business plans stay protected from life's little practical jokes. When you own your own business, you are the one who defines success and failure. Sometimes, redefining those terms is all you need to see that you're still on that path to the future you designed for yourself.