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A Foolproof Method to Achieving Targets By investing a small amount of time in planning, we can all guarantee success for ourselves and for our ideas.

By Sarah Haselkorn Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As entrepreneurs, we're all goal-oriented maniacs but at times, even the most driven and motivated of us hit roadblocks on the path to success. By investing a small amount of time in planning, we can all guarantee success for ourselves and for our ideas. The strategy I've developed during the launch of my startup, Unfettered Socks, is what I believe to be a foolproof method to achieving targets.

Take time to visualize and document targets.

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of being an entrepreneur and running a business. Even though it's important to stay nimble and move on the fly, investing a small amount of time to plan and to dream will go a long way. For us, these goals might be as lofty as "sell the business for x dollars" or as small as "launch a new style of sock." No matter the complexity of the target, without planning, it's easy to shift priorities too often, become distracted and end up wandering aimlessly. A solid plan keeps targets top of mind and achievable, and prevents you from failing before even realizing you're on the path to failure.

Once your targets are planned, whether you're a visually-, aurally-, or mentally-driven person, find a way to document your results. For me, that meant turning my glass closet door into a temporary white board, full of notes, questions, metrics and other information. Documentation ensures that you stay accountable and acts as a constant reminder of where you're headed and what you're working towards, which is a recipe for success.

Stack them high and let them fly.

Does it ever seem like no matter how many items are on your to-do list, there are always one or two left undone at the end of a day? Entrepreneurs are dreamers, so don't be afraid to dream. The higher you plan to achieve, the higher you will achieve: It's just math.

If you want to sell 1,500 widgets next year, aim for 2,000. If you want to launch in seven countries, aim for 10. The worst that can happen is that you exceed your target, and I can't remember the last time I heard someone complain about that.

Create a method to your madness.

Even the best of us have trouble visualizing extreme achievement. How can you imagine climbing Everest if you haven't hiked any mountain? Document the exact steps you need to take to reach your target -- down to the very last detail. Ask yourself how many phone calls, data points and minor achievements you need in order to reach success.

When it came time to launch our website to start selling Unfettered Socks, I knew I had a lofty challenge ahead of me. I'd built small websites but had never worked with an ecommerce CMS. By making a step-by-step launch plan for myself, I was able to avoid needlessly flipping between development sections leaving everything half finished. As I made progress, I felt rewarded and accomplished along the way.

This plan, coupled with a burning passion for success, is what I believe to be a foolproof method for achieving targets and a sure fire method for success in the entrepreneurial world. Plan accordingly, document your methodology and never stop dreaming.

Sarah Haselkorn

Entrepreneur and Investor; CTO, Unfettered Socks

Sarah is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where she studied systems engineering and entrepreneurship. During her junior year she opened Green Bean, an eco-healthy salad restaurant. She is now in the midst of launching her second business, a line of performance-focused men's business socks: Unfettered Socks. She was a finalist in the Entrepreneurs' Organization's Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in 2012. Find more about her on her website.

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