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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.

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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