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Friday, Nov 22nd

African startup advice series: setting personal goals first

African startup advice series: setting personal goals first.

Before embarking on any new business venture or expansion project, you need to be very clear about the objectives, goals and purpose of the project.

But it is not just about developing a business plan with goals and targets. To ensure success, you have to take one step back and look at your personal dreams. Why? Because your business should be an enabler for your own personal goals.

What gets you up in the morning to face another day at work? What motivates you to take the plunge to expand your business into Africa? An objective to increase market share or improve profits is not motivation enough.

Before you determine your business goals, you need to invest time in identifying what you want for yourself. Once you know what you are aiming for, you can structure your business to help you achieve those personal goals.

I speak to many business owners who believe they can grow their businesses by expanding into Africa. That’s the business goal. But if your personal goal is to spend more time with your young children, you would either need to find another growth strategy or you would need to put business structures in place to limit your time away from home.

Successful people are intensely goal orientated. They think about what they want, and how to get it. In a study of MBA graduates at Harvard in 1979, 3% had written goals, 13% had goals that were not written down and 84% had no goals. 10 years later, in 1989, the 13% who had goals that were not written down were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals, and the 3% who had written goals were earning 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates. The moral of the story? Write down your goals.

Once you’ve identified your dreams and goals, and you’ve written them down, you need to think about them all the time. Why? Because you become what you think about most of the time. Unsuccessful people think and talk about their problems and worries. Successful people think about solutions, positive outcomes, what they want, and what they are doing to achieve it.

The best way to identify your goals and dreams is to create a “Bucket List”. If you haven’t seen the movie, a bucket list is a list of things you want to achieve, do, see, complete or experience before you “kick the bucket”.

We are often so busy with ‘how’ to do something, we overlook ‘why’. The bucket list defines ‘why’, our purpose and provides motivation to persist in spite of challenges along the way.

Reviewing your bucket list is a great way to re-energise, refresh your perspective, sharpen your focus and get back on track. It is a list that helps you reward yourself for achieving business goals and celebrate milestones. And it leverages the law of attraction. If you are specific about what you want to achieve, and have a positive attitude and discipline, you will find things fall into place over time.

As a business owner, perhaps it is time to take that step backwards and review your personal goals. What is your business doing to enable those dreams to become a reality?

Greg Mason is CEO and Business & Executive Coach at bizHQ. He writes columns for ITWeb Africa that provide advice for up-and-coming African technology businesses and startups. To find out more about Greg, be sure to visit his website: http://www.coachgregmason.co.za.

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