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Do YOU Have a Master Plan?

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Business and Finance
There is so much written on planning these days that it's hard for nearly anyone to argue against the value of planning.

Some people like to live by the "seat of their pants," and no one would argue that a little spontaneity is great to have in your life. But you do need to plan something at some point, or your life will simply be one reaction after another. The non-planner will end up taking no proactive action to improve his or her life. The most successful people plan their goals and are motivated to accomplish them.

Everyone needs a master plan. Do you have one? A master plan should include long term goals, short term goals, and objectives. You may want to build in some rewards to motivate you to accomplish them as well. Let's look at each item that should appear in your master plan:

Lifetime goals: The first things you should include in your master plan are your lifetime, or dream goals. These are goals that you want to do at some point in your life and they shouldn't be dependent on money, time, or skill. If you're afraid of heights but have the goal of someday being a professional pilot, write it down! Create a long list by finishing this sentence: "If I had unlimited money, time and skill, I would want to..."

Short term and Long term goals: Once you have your lifetime goals list, you should break it down into things that you can realistically do in the short term and in the long term. Short term goals might be anywhere from the present to the next five or ten years. Long term goals are likely anything five or ten years and beyond. (Don't worry yet about how you'll accomplish them; we'll get to that in a moment). Put them in order from the things you want to do sooner to the things you want to do later.

Objectives: Once you have developed your goals, now you need to create objectives for each one. Objectives are the steps that you need to take to reach your goals. If you're afraid of heights but want to be a professional pilot some day, your objectives might be to...

1. Overcome your fear of heights,
2. Ride in an airplane,
3. Take flying lessons,
4. Get your commercial pilot's license, and
5. Buy an airplane.

You might look at this list and say "easier said than done!" but by breaking down all of your goals into smaller objectives; it does become easier to do. You now have some small steps to work on to get you to the next level.

What does all this have to do with e-business? Simple: For many entrepreneurs, a long term goal might be financial freedom. Building your e-business might be one of the objectives to reach that goal.

And within that "main" objective of building your business will be the smaller objectives that must be reached to do the building. The more you break down the steps that need to be taken, the easier it will be to reach your goal.