Business goals can help you drive yourself and your business further. With well-defined goals, everyone on your team will know what to shoot for and how to get there. With poorly defined goals, your business will struggle to maintain equilibrium. Not to mention drive your OBM or VA nuts!

It’s like riding a bicycle: When you’re pedaling fast, it’s easy to stay up. But once you slow down in business, that’s when things start to collapse.

Here’s how to set your goals.

Start with Your Emotional Core Goal

When Michael Dell was asked what goals he set for himself, he began by answering from core metrics and market inefficiencies – then he stopped. He realized what really drove him wasn’t any of that.

It was the flagpole he saw at the top of a skyscraper when he was young. He decided then that he wanted a flagpole of his own. He wanted to have that kind of presence in the world.

He now has three.

Knowing your metric goals is important, but knowing your emotional core goal is what’s really going to push you to do what you need to do to succeed.

Many of us have our pet projects, charities, or financial goals, but I like to dream really big!  Yes, I love to travel and love to be able to provide for my kids, but what would be really cool is to go to a Barrett-Jackson auction and be able to pay cash for a really cool ’69 convertible Mustang.

What drives you? (No pun intended lol)

Setting Business Goals

Start from your business’s ultimate goals, say in 10 years. For some it might be to secure retirement. For others it might be to go public.

Work backwards to the goals you need to hit today to make that happen. Set 5-year goals, 2-year goals, 1-year goals as well as quarterly goals.

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely

Every goal (except the emotional ones) should match these five criteria. They should be specific and measurable, meaning they’re metric-based. They should be attainable and realistic, but still ambitious enough that you’re excited about them.

For example, saying you want to have more Twitter followers is not enough. Saying “I want to add 100 Twitter followers and increase Facebook likes to 500 within 6 months” is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Finally there should be a time deadline attached to achieving those goals. That’s what really lights a fire under your chair to get you up and moving.

Write What You’re Willing to Sacrifice

Write down what you’re willing to sacrifice to hit those goals. Often times growing a business means sacrificing things you enjoy about running the business.

If you’re launching a second business, that could mean less time with your family as you launch. If you’re hiring more team members, you may have to delegate that to an online business manager. Yes, that may mean letting go 🙂

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, was a big fan of programming. But there came a time when he had to step away from writing code so he could actually run the company. It was a tough choice, but a sacrifice he had to make to grow the company. You’ll have to make similar choices.

If you really think about it, many people could make a million dollars a year if they wanted to. But oh the sacrifices that go with it! So think really hard about what you are willing to give up, whether that’s time, control, or money and how much are you willing to stake?

Doing this process every year will help you set goals that personally excite you, which you can use to rally your whole business around.