Unbelievably, I run into all kinds of owners who have new and existing businesses who have no tangible goals. Success and failure are completely undefined. Monthly, quarterly, any metrics, any goals near or distant, are completely non-existent.

As a result of this, I often ask myself how do they know that whatever it is they are doing is actually working or not? How will they know if they are making progress or not? How can they be excited about the success or disappointed in the failure? How do they align their work toward what they want if they don’t know what they want?

The measure of how badly you want something, in my opinion, starts with actually identifying what it is you want. Why did you start your business? To make a money? How much? When? Defined by what? A salary? Profits? Sales? Work for yourself? Be independent? Control your future? Have more time off?

Until you define what you want, you are incredibly unlikely to actually get it, which will leave you feeling like you are struggling. If you don’t define winning, you will always be losing?

Whenever possible, I always prefer to have lots of defined wants (goals), like a dashboard. Total active accounts. Number of sales people. Monthly/quarterly revenues. Quarterly operating margin. Products in development. Conversations with non-US distributors. Active conversations with prospects on my target list. Visits to the website. Personal income. Vacations. I want to create lots of ways to look at the progress I am making.

The more things you set goals to achieve, the more ways you can succeed. Of course, you might fail too, but, I would far rather be accountable to myself for both the successes and the failures than wandering around with no idea how I am doing against what I want out of life through my business. The calendar keeps turning. I don’t want to look back at time I squandered wandering around aimlessly making progress toward nothing because I chose not to define.

In my experience, those that define the future they want to achieve are far more likely to achieve that future than those who do not.