Importance of Setting Goals Towards Success

Business growth

Setting Goals – Really? Boring and it’s Crap, Isn’t It? – Or is it?

I can hear you moaning already. I get it all the time. I know you have heard this before and are sick to death with it.

The thing is, every consistent success business or business owner I have been involved in not only has goals but have them WRITTEN DOWN.

Ever heard about the Yale Survey?

There was a study done at Yale in 1953. Graduates of the MBA program were asked “Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The results of that question were:

  • Only 3% had written goals and plans
  • 13% had goals, but not in writing
  • 84% had no specific goals at all

20 years later, Yale interviewed the members of that class again and found:

1. The 13% who had goals, but not in writing were earning on average twice as much as the 84% of those who had no goals at all.

2. The 3% who had clear, written goals were earning on average 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups is the clarity of the goals they had for themselves.

There is a dispute as to whether the above survey actually ever occurred. What I do know is that over the last 20 years, every single success business or business owner I have had the privilege to work with has written goals. So whether you like it or not it simply works. Period.

So how should you set your goals?

Well for starters, differentiate between personal goals and business goals. I find personal goals are a lot more fun because they mean more emotionally. Many people keeps lists or bucket lists and that is fine. I started a bucket list over 20 years ago and it had 52 items. Over the years, items have been removed, because they were achieved and more added on.

I do not have dates or reality checks against them. It is simply a list that I review often so that I am reminded what is in the list.

Business goals are different. I try to keep these to only a few so not to lose focus. All business goals should be categorised as 12 month, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. I try not to have more than 5 items in each list.

Goals need to follow the SMART formula

S – Specific

Your goals must be specific – e.g. make a profit of $300,000 or sales growth in the next 12 months of 10%

M – Measurable

It must be measurable which means you can check to see if you achieved the goal. Eg if your profit is $350,000 you can measure it against your goal of $300,000 and conclude that you did better than your target

A – Attainable

This can be different depending on how your brain is wired. If you are one of those people who need to be realistic, then your goal has to be realistic. Otherwise, you will ignore the goal.

So for a realistic person an attainable goal might be 10% growth. If they had a goal of 3,000% -- they would ignore it, as they do not think they could achieve it.

Most entrepreneurs think differently though. I have found they come up with an idea and have no idea if it is attainable. They just keep working at it until they get there.

When Sir Richard Branson came up with the idea of Virgin Galactic, he actually had no idea how he was going to do it. After all he was not an engineer or astronaut. At the time, it was not attainable but somehow they work out how it will become attainable.

So how is your brain wired? If like Sir Richard your goal does not need to be attainable – you will just work out how to do it.

R – Relevant

This means they have to be relevant to what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you want business growth as a goal, then a sales target is relevant. Another example is that you want sales growth but your goal is to buy a new TV. There is no clear relevance.

T – Timely

The goal you set must be timely. For example, you want to buy a new sports car – a Jaguar. On its own, it is not good enough. You would need to change that goals to say "my goal is a Jaguar sports car and I will buy this in exactly three year’s time. It will be black in colour with white leather interior."

I cannot stress enough the power of goal setting.

I now want you think about this. Have you set goals and are they written down? If you have not done this yet, pick up a pen, grab some paper and start writing!


Hitesh Mohanlal

Hitesh Mohanlal

Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants

I am known as Australia’s Number 1 Business Growth Strategist (profit increase and owner lifestyle improvement specialty), and have been recognised on CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC. I am also a Chartered Accountant in the UK and Australia and have been practicing for the last 22 years. I run three businesses. I have worked with over 3,500 businesses in Australia, America, UK, Japan and Europe. I work with small to medium enterprises to improve their profits by up to a staggering 2000%


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Ling Lee

Ling Lee , at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Great article Hitesh! I see that the SMART methodology is popular among Savvies :D

Hitesh Mohanlal

Hitesh Mohanlal , Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants

Hi Ling. Thank you for your comments. Yes the methodology works. Thing is most people know about it but do not really apply it!

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