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It's Goal Time

You didn't think you'd make it through January without us nagging you to set goals, did you? Of course not.

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This story appears in the January 2003 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

The year was 1966, and I had just completed my enlistment in the Marine Corps and was looking for a job, any job. A friend recommended a company that might be hiring part-time employees, so I applied. The application has all faded from memory, except for one question: How much money do you want to be earning in five years? Even though the starting pay for this job was only $1.60 an hour, I wrote down $50,000 a year as my goal. Now that was, I was certain at the time, more money than anyone in my family earned in a lifetime; I figured it was an amount I could live with.

It took a lot longer than five years for me to earn $50,000 a year, but I've been setting goals for myself ever since. And I've encouraged many others to do the same. Certainly I work with my own employees to help them set goals that are meaningful to them and to our company. But many young people I know ask me about starting their own businesses, and pretty soon the conversation turns to goals. Why set them, and how to set them?

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