Every small business owner starts their venture with a goal. Some may have a problem they are trying to solve. Others open their own business to have the freedom of being their own boss. And of course, there are many business owners that are in it for riches.

The fact that we, as human beings, can imagine any of these scenarios and make it happen—in reality—is truly incredible. This is the power of setting goals. You can take your business anywhere if you know where you want to go.

However, as time goes on, we often lose sight of our initial goals. It may reside deep down as a hope, but the burden of day-to-day responsibilities takes priority and after a while, we’re no closer to achieving the dream that got us started in the first place.

If you find yourself working hard and yet, never really going anywhere, it might be time to change course by reaching back to that goal you started with or even set some new ones. Here are four tips for setting goals that will drive your business forward.

1. Set a very specific goal

Just like driving a car from point A to point B, you need to have a clear idea of where you want to go. Imagine hopping into the driver’s seat, turning on the engine and not having a destination in mind. Or maybe you know you want to go to New York City, but never quite decided which part.

What route will you take? How long will you be on the road? And if you’re “there” driving around and around, never sure when you have reached your destination, do you ultimately just turn around and go home?

When you set a goal, be specific. Be as specific as you can be. When you set a specific goal, you can plan the most efficient route there and you will know when you have arrived.

2. Speak in positive present terms

After you have set a specific goal, make sure you internalize it in positive present terms. Your subconscious mind is quite literal.

Let’s say your goal is to increase your revenue from $325,000 to $375,000 by the end of the year. If you think of your goal as “I hope we earn $50,000 more than last quarter” you are framing it in terms of last quarter and only the $50,000 difference.

However, if you think “We are earning $375,000 this quarter,” your mind will make room for this to happen.

So not only does your goal have to be specific, but it also has to apply to your current situation. Think of this like putting the car into the right gear. You want to drive, not be in neutral or reverse.

3. Put your goals in writing

It’s not enough just to have a goal, you need to write it down. More than that, you need to keep it somewhere you will see it every day. This is going to keep you on course. Each and every day, you will come into the office, see your goal, and let it be the focus.

Writing down your goal is like using navigation to reach your destination.

If you are driving to the same grocery store you have shopped at every week for the last ten years, you probably don’t need to pull out your phone and set up navigation. You already know how to get there.

But if you are going somewhere you have never been before, it’s going to be a lot easier to find it if you have specific directions in front of you at every turn.

Having your goals written down and visible makes it simple to remember what you are working for and what you should prioritize.

4. Tell everyone what your goal is

Most likely, you are going to need some people to help you achieve your goal. Maybe you have a staff, maybe you’re working with partners, contractors or outside organizations, or maybe it’s just the support you get from your friends and family.

No matter who helps you along the way, let them know what your goal is. This way, they can be part of the journey too.

You may be thinking that you don’t need a backseat driver, sure. But you may need someone to look up weather conditions, change the music, or tell you a shortcut they know about. Whatever the case, telling your community about your goals will keep you accountable in getting there. 

Dr. John Chuback, M.D. is a Personal Development and Success Training Expert, Board-Certified Cardiovascular Surgeon, and Author

Goals stock photo by Tiko Aramyan/Shutterstock