You’ve got a great idea you think might be viable. After some research, you conclude that it is, and bam! You’re up and running. Let me first of all congratulate you for choosing to toe the path of courage. After all, there are large numbers of people who are still stuck at idea base. They’ve got great ideas; they’re only afraid to implement them.

While you have taken the leap, there are other very important steps required to get you to where you’re going. One of them is setting realistic goals. Setting realistic goals will help you through the rough patches. Great entrepreneurs have all attested to certain points in their journeys they didn’t find quite interesting.

As Caitlin Uttley puts it in her How to Set Career Goals, “Operational goals are designed to be measured.” According to her, “they’re specific and concrete, so you know for certain when you’ve accomplished one of them.”

I agree.

Basically, when I mentioned setting realistic goals, I meant selecting the ones you can actually achieve. There’s no point wearing yourself out unnecessarily.

Are you goals realistic? Let’s find out!

Time: How much time do you have to commit to this particular goal?

Knowledge: How much knowledge to you have about the business you’re starting and the industry you’re about to operate in? If you already have some insights, what are the resources needed to update yourself? If you don’t, how do you get them?

Interests: Do your pursuits align with your personal interests? Richard Branson says to do business you’re passionate about. To be passionate about something, it has to be interesting to you.

Market: Is there a market for your product? That is one big question you need to ask and have answered.

In setting realistic goals, I find that the time tested route works well for me. S.M.A.R.T (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely).

Specific: Specific goal answers the five Ws and H questions. WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW.

Why is this product being developed? Who is this product for? Where is the market for this product? What is the estimated time for finishing this product? When is a product launch? How do I market this product?

Measurable: Concretely measuring your progress towards accomplishing your specific goals will help you stay on track and help you reach your target. Dare I add that meeting your target gives you a sense of accomplishment that spurs you to want to accomplish more.

Attainable: Setting attainable goals helps you figure out how best to accomplish them. This may mean tweaking your attitude to match your projected outcome or developing new skills. As you work on yourself, you begin to have expanded scope on achieving your goals.

Realistic: This means having an objective that has the capacity to work and you must  be willing to to put in efforts to making it work. Wisdom tells us that a high goal (not the so far out there high) is easier to reach as they exert motivational force from us. In other words, setting realistic goals doesn’t mean you can’t set some high ones too.

Tangible: Your goal is tangible when you can experience it. And it becomes tangible because it was grounded within a time frame.

A goal set without a time frame is more like a captain on a sea without a compass. It goes without saying that when setting your goals, it must have the element of time frame, so you don’t lose the sense of urgency.

An additional way to making sure your goals are realistic is sharing them with trusted friends and family members. They help rein you back in when you’re going off course.

Ruth Olurounbi is the Director of Entrepreneurship+ at the Nigerian Tribune and Founder, Squared Communication Solutions.

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