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Setting goals? “After you think big, think bigger”

BOB on goal setting

Tom Sawyer, left, president of the RSW Partners marketing firm, and John Lind, owner of the Resource Optimization consulting firm, discuss the benefits of setting business goals. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

Tom Sawyer envisions a time early next year when his Grand Junction-based marketing firm will enjoy a national presence. He sees account managers communicating with clients across the country and feels what it’s like to work at such an operation.

But that’s not all. Sawyer also plans to write a second business book in part to promote his firm. And he fully expects that book to make the lists of New York Times and Amazon.com best-sellers.

Sawyer, president of RSW Partners, considers setting goals a crucial step in achieving business success — and not just small, incremental goals, but great big audacious goals.

“Think big. And after you think big, think bigger,” Sawyer recommended during a breakfast presentation on goal setting at the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction.

John Lind, an entrepreneur who’s owned several businesses, including Resource Optimization Consultants, agreed. “The power of goals is amazing.”

Sawyer outlined the steps he goes through in setting goals, starting with visualizing not only what achieving a goal looks like, but also feels like. The next step is to analyze the gap between current conditions and preferred conditions to determine what’s needed and which steps to take first. That will establish a framework for how to go about achieving the goal, he said.

Lind said it’s important to put goals in writing.

He suggested that business owners and managers write down five goals for their operations each year in addition to four goals related to their health and personal lives.

It’s important, too, to set goals that are specific, measurable and achievable over a set period of time, he said. “A goal’s not worth a hoot unless you have the ability to implement.”

In addition to writing down goals, Lind said business owners and managers must share their goals with others.
By sharing his goals at the presentation, Sawyer said he’s more committed to achieving them. “That puts myself a little bit out there, doesn’t it?”

“Don’t keep them to yourself,” he said. “Bring them out in the open.”

Employees need to know not only what the goals are, but why they’re important, Sawyer added. “All visions have to have a huge component of why.”

As business owners and managers go about the process of setting and achieving goals, they should remain flexible as well as avoid becoming discouraged if at first they don’t succeed, Lind said. “When you start beating yourself up, you start giving up. And don’t do that.”

Sawyer said it could become necessary to “pivot” — that is, move in a different direction, but from a fixed position that takes into account core business responsibilities.

Even as business owners and managers strive to take their ventures to the next level, they must continue to “feed the bear,” he said, by making payroll and keeping the operation running.

It’s not an either-or proposition, though, he added. “I can always find a way to do both.”

Lind encouraged business owners and managers to do something every day that moves them closer to achieving their goals and to continue in their endeavors. “Persist until you succeed. Don’t give up.”

Sawyer acknowledged it could be difficult to realize such big goals for his business, but said that’s preferable to setting and even achieving only small goals. “I’d rather fall short of that big goal.”

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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