"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."  So goes the famous adage by Benjamin Franklin.  Goal setting is an intricate part of business success.  Any business that lacks a goal is almost always guaranteed a lack of direction and is doomed for mediocrity.  The power of goal setting is vindicated by its fruits.

Where to Start?

Always put it down on paper.  According to a Harvard Business Study, people who write down their goals are 42 percent more likely to achieve those goals.  According to the study, 3 percent of their MBA graduates who'd written down their goals ended up earning up to ten times as much as the other 97 percent combined.  Physically writing down your goals brings a sense of reality to what you hope to achieve and makes it easier to work towards that.

Think SMART

The acronym SMART was first coined by Peter Drucker in his concept of management by objectives. Expounding on the SMART acronym, ensure that each of your set goals is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here's a further breakdown of each parameter.

Specific

Ensure specificity of your goals.  Ask yourself the five "Ws": what do you want to accomplish, why your goal matters, who should be involved, where will everything be located, and which resources will be involved?

Measurable

Having measurable goals helps you track your progress and remain motivated.  Measurable goals create a sense of realism on what is doable within a given time frame.

Achievable

Don't aim for the stars when you can barely reach the moon.  Sure, it's great to have high hopes and expectations, but let them be within reach.  Assess how and if your current resources can help you achieve your target.

Relevant

Set out goals that align with what matters to your business.  Ask yourself whether the goal is worthwhile, and whether it is the right time to pursue it?  Also, is the goal applicable to the market's current socio-economic situation?

Time-bound

Goals need a deadline.  Ensure your goals are achievable within the specified time frame to avoid less important things from taking over.

Conclusion

Planning is paramount for success.  As you plan, the SMART approach provides clarity and motivation to see your goals through to fruition.  Many businesses soon find themselves in a pickle after failing to plan adequately.  Don't let your business fall into that fold.  There is proven power in proper planning.