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Dec 11, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

GUEST COLUMN: Research a critical component to goal-setting

City Centre Mirror

Each month, Toronto Business Times solicits expert opinions on a question of relevance to the small business community. This month’s question is about goal-setting.


By Brian Epstein

Whether in business or conducting a well-organized work search, having well-thought-out goals is part of the key to growing one’s business and ensuring continued success.

Frequently, I tell my clients who are job seekers to set SMART goals for themselves. Business people and entrepreneurs need to do the same.

SMART is the acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Entrepreneurs must be willing to establish their SMART goals and then be flexible enough to make changes as required.

Just like a job seeker must assess his position in the marketplace by conducting research about his career and how he/she can fit appropriately in the workplace, a small business person must also determine where and when his skills, experience, products and services will be demanded. Only by conducting thorough research will an entrepreneur know what business goals to develop and how to market his products and services.

So the question becomes, how can an entrepreneur secure key information that will be required to launch and/or grow his business and reach specific goals that are measurable, achievable, and realistic – while being delivered in a timely manner?

Research is key for any business to grow revenue and develop goals. The size of the business, and the owners’ financial capabilities will determine the amount of investment.  

Although research can potentially cost a lot of money, neither job seekers nor entrepreneurs have to have “deep pockets” to compile necessary information, make valuable decisions and prepare a list of goals to follow. You can network with other business professionals and like-minded entrepreneurs. Networking with Subject Matter Experts and can be very critical for re-developing, revising and implementing goals.

It is always advisable to continue one’s research and explore online, at libraries, at trade shows, fairs  and professional associations, as well as governmental and other business publications

After goals are set, they need to be monitored. Ongoing evaluation determines if in fact, goals have been reached, as well as what new strategies, if any, need to be adopted.

After a goal’s timeline has passed, it is a necessity that the goals be reviewed. If the original goals have not been met, all factors should be considered and new strategies need to be developed to ensure success.  

As new information is compiled, all goal setters must be willing to make changes and update the goals so that a new plan of action is taken to ensure that the goals are successfully implemented. For a job seeker or an entrepreneur to reach one’s goals, it is similarly important that a business person demonstrate the flexibility to change and update his/her goals according to new circumstances that present themselves.


Brian Epstein provides employment consulting and coaching services to clients in career transition. As a coach facilitator for ICTC’s Coaching to Career program, he supports IT professionals who have been in Canada less than three years. Brian is a former instructor at George Brown College.

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