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Goal Planning Strategies to Create Your Best Year Yet
by Stephanie Chandler

Successful entrepreneurs share something in common: they set goals. A goal is like a target. You can have all the ammunition in the world, but without a clear target to aim for, you can end up shooting blanks.

I am a firm believer in goal setting. Each year I write a detailed Goal Plan and post it next to my desk. Having clear intentions and specific goals keeps me focused. Some people do this at the start of a new year, while others use their birthday as the annual launching board. It doesn't really matter when you create your plan, as long as you get it done.

When you take a goal out of your head and commit it to paper, something magical happens. Not only does it solidify your commitment to achieving the goal, but it is the first step in moving closer to the target. Better yet, set goals that feel a little bit out of reach. These are the best kind because they push you beyond your limits. And while some goals may take longer to achieve than planned, with persistence you have no choice but to move closer to them, bit by bit.

Each year I review my progress and inevitably find that I achieved and even surpassed many of the items on my list. Throughout the year I keep a list of accomplishments as an additional way to measure progress and stay on track. Sometimes goals change along the way, and that's okay. They are almost always replaced by something bigger and better.

To get started, write a bulleted list of goals you plan to achieve in the coming year. Following are some items to include in your Goal Plan as you embark on creating your best year yet.

Overall Revenue I don't know of any business owner who wants to earn less money year over year. The point of a revenue goal is to reach for greatness-to pick a number that seems slightly unrealistic as incentive to find ways to reach that number.

Detailed Revenue Streams Most businesses have multiple revenue streams based on products, services, internet income and other factors. Consider setting goals for each of your revenue streams. Some may be shifting with the economy and some may show more promise than others. Detailing specific revenue goals can be a fantastic way to prioritize where your attention should be spent in the coming year.

New Products and Services You Will Launch As you detail your revenue streams, factor in new products or services you plan to launch. Companies don't grow by staying idle. They innovate and launch bigger, better products and services that lead to business growth.

Time Management Most entrepreneurs struggle with time management. Identify ways that you can get a better grasp on time by cutting back on commitments that no longer make sense, minimizing the amount of time you spend on e-mail or delegating more of your workload to an employee or virtual assistant.

Family Time Achieving success in business won't matter if your personal life is failing-and at the end of the day you can't hug your business! Commit to spending more time with your family whether that means being home for dinner six nights per week, carving out one-on-one time with your spouse or kids, or refusing to work weekends. This commitment pays huge dividends.

Personal Time Can you remember the last time you took a day off to do something you love? We all need to recharge our batteries; this is essential to high performance at work. Commit to taking several long weekends during the year, take that vacation you have been thinking about, read several books each month, participate in golf outings, visit the spa, or schedule a monthly lunch with a friend. Figure out what best fills your personal tank and make it a priority.

Health Commitments You've heard it before-without your health, you risk losing everything that matters. Decide what a healthy lifestyle means for you, whether it is visiting the gym four mornings per week, taking walks mid-day, dropping a bad habit, getting your insomnia under control or cutting out sugar. When you commit to taking care of yourself, everything else in your life will benefit.

Material Goals Setting goals to acquire material possessions, especially things that you frequently daydream about, can provide tremendous motivation. Items might include a new car, major home improvements, or an indulgent vacation to an exotic destination. Identify items from your ultimate wish list and figure out what it will take to acquire them.

Charitable Giving One of the most rewarding ways to enjoy success is by giving back to others. Pick a favorite cause or two and donate your time or money. You might even decide to sponsor fundraising events or include your children in related activities. Charitable giving comes back to you in some unexpected and powerful ways and deserves to be part of your vision.

Strategic Business Goals This is the category for everything else business-related that you want to achieve. Maybe that includes hiring more help, forming new strategic alliances, launching a new blog, getting major media exposure, or stepping up your internet marketing activities. From small changes to big shifts and everything in between, take the step to making your strategic goals a reality by adding them to your list.

Review, Achieve, Repeat! Once your Goal Plan is complete, post it next to your desk or somewhere that you can review it regularly. Be sure to track your progress. You might create a spreadsheet to list your accomplishments or start a journal where you jot down successes and develop strategies for meeting the goals on your list.

Make a habit of recreating your list each year and keep your previous lists in a folder where you can review them. As the years pass by, it can be tremendously rewarding to have a record of your journey. You will inevitably see the progress you have made in all aspects of your life and over time, this exercise will become one you look forward to each year.

About the Author

Stephanie Chandler is an author of several business and marketing books including "LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business" and "From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, eBooks and Information Products." She is also founder and CEO of, which provides custom book publishing and internet marketing services. For hundreds of resources for entrepreneurs, visit



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