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Want small business success? Learn effective goal setting

Every successful business venture starts with a goal -- or a set of goals. However, effective goal setting is a learned skill -- not something that comes automatically to everyone.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take that make setting effective goals a breeze. They include:

1. Break larger goals into micro-goals

You probably have at least a few long-term goals in mind. However, you need to think of each step in the process as a stepping stone that will eventually get you where you want to be. Each of those steps needs to be a unique goal.

2. Gather a supportive team

When you're in business, you need a team of supportive players to help you get to your goals. Find people who complement your own skills with unique skills of their own. Look for people who aren't afraid to point out flaws in your thinking or challenge you to do better.

3. Devise a tracking system.

You can't tell how well you're doing unless you have metrics in place that will allow you to track the progress you're making toward those goals. Look for ways to mark the journey from where you're at to where you're going. Create a chart that helps you visualize your progress.

4. Realize that you may fail

If running a business and reaching your goals were easy, everyone would do it. You are going to have setbacks and failures. Don't define yourself according to them -- define yourself by your response to those setbacks and failures instead. Resolve to make every mistake a learning experience. Then, refocus on your long-term goal once again.

5. Learn to revise your original plans

Flexibility is important. You may have made mistakes in your original plans that will make it necessary to revise some of your micro-goals. External influences, like market changes, can also drive changes to your goals.

If you can keep these things in mind, it won't be long before you are able to celebrate your success. An attorney can also help ease your burdens and advise you on the necessary legal measures you should take to protect your enterprise from its formation onward.

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