Define Your Goals to Start Off Right

You’ve spent hours burning the midnight oil researching different business opportunities and you’ve finally found the perfect business for you. You’re so excited you want to quit your job tomorrow and get started. But wait, finding the right business is only half the battle. Before you run out and spend any money or quit your job, increase your chances of success by first considering these key issues:

Define Your Short-Term, Mid-Term and Long-Term Business Goals

Before starting any endeavor it is crucial that you understand exactly what it is you hope to achieve. How can you go from point “A” to point “B” or where you are today to where you want to be if you REALLY don’t know where you want to be? It sounds almost silly — of course I know where I want to go! But thinking things like: “I want to have my own successful business or I just want to be rich ” will get you no where fast.

You can not prepare a clear concise plan of action without first defining your goals in detail. Spend time writing out your goals with definite dates and numbers. For example: In six months I want to have two customers and my web site online. At my one-year anniversary I want to have 20 customers and generating a $1,500 monthly profit. Five years from now, I want to have 1,000 customers, my own business location and making $8,000 a month.

Now you can use these short-, mid- and long-term goals to prepare a solid business plan. These established guidelines become the foundation to your business and like a house the more solid the foundation, the sturdier the house and the longer it will last.

Will You Keep Working Your Job While You Start Your Own Business?

This is a tough question to answer. Working a job while starting a new business is very hard to do. But sometimes you need to keep working for financial reasons or even when you don’t need the money, you need the job as a “security blanket” until you gain the confidence to be off on your own.

Carefully evaluate how keeping your current job will affect your business. Will you lose customers because you are not available during business hours? Will you have enough time and also energy at the end of a long workday to pursue your business? If you decide to keep working, remember to preset monetary and/or time guidelines for quitting your job. This way you don’t quit prematurely and run out of money or stay at you job too long and potentially slowdown the growth of your own business.

How Will the Business Affect Your Family?

If you don’t have your family’s support, you might as well forget about starting your own business. We only have so many hours in a day and whenever you start anything new it takes time away from your current commitments – family, social and career. This is where you must be brutally honest with yourself and your family.

First tell them why you want to have your own business, emphasizing the positive aspects, lay out a schedule of your proposed work hours and identify business commitments such as out of town meetings with potential clients. Discuss the foreseeable affects on your family and be open to discussing each person’s concerns. Be willing to work out compromises.

It is especially important to have your mate’s support because they can “pick up the slack” and fill in during your absence. In order to keep peace within the “ranks”, schedule follow-up meetings with your family, especially as your business grows, to make sure everything is working out as planned. Be open-minded and flexible, but remember this is YOUR business and you are entitled to your own success. Even though, at times it may be rough on the family, the personal satisfaction you gain from having your own successful business will also reflect on your family – giving your children the confidence to go out and pursue their own dreams and goals.

Starting your own business will surely have its ups and downs, but if you know where you’re going and your family is behind you all the way, success is only a matter of time.

(originally published 2/20/2000)

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