Setting up shop? Put your plans in order!

Setting goals is an integral part of choosing the business that's right foryou. After all, if your business doesn't meet your personal goals, you probablywon't be happy waking up each morning and trying to make the business asuccess. Sooner or later, you'll stop putting in the effort to make the conceptwork.

When setting goals, aim for the following qualities:

1. Specificity. You stand a better chance of achieving a goal if it'sspecific. "Raising capital" isn't a specific goal; "raising $10,000 by July 1"is.

2. Optimism. Be positive when you set goals. "Being able to pay thebills" is not exactly an inspirational goal. "Achieving financial security"phrases your goal in a more positive manner, thus firing up your energy toattain it.

3. Realism. If you set a goal to earn $100,000 a month when you've neverearned that much in a year, that goal is unrealistic. Begin with small steps,such as increasing your monthly income by 25 percent. Once your first goal ismet, you can reach for larger ones.

4. Thinking short and long term. Short-term goals are attainable in aperiod of weeks to a year. Long-term goals can be for five, 10 or even 20 yearsfrom now; they should be substantially greater than short-term goals but shouldstill be realistic.

There are several factors to consider when setting goals:

1. Income. Many entrepreneurs go into business to achieve financialsecurity. Consider how much money you want to make during your first year ofoperation and each year thereafter, up to five years.

2. Lifestyle. This includes travel, work hours, investment of personalassets and geographic location. Are you willing to travel extensively or tomove? How many hours are you willing to work? Which assets are you willing torisk?

3. Type of work. When setting goals for type of work, you need todetermine whether you like working outdoors, in an office, with computers, onthe phone, with lots of people, with children and so on.

4. Ego gratification. Many people go into business to satisfy theiregos. Owning a business can be very ego-gratifying, especially if you're in abusiness that's considered glamorous or exciting. You need to decide howimportant ego gratification is to you and what area best fills that need.

The most important rule of self-evaluation and goal-setting is honesty. Goinginto business with your eyes wide open about your strengths and weaknesses,your likes and dislikes, and your ultimate goals lets you confront thedecisions you'll face with greater confidence and a greater chance.