When working with Clients, I often find there's a bit of confusion about Goal Setting and Action Planning. There are differences between the two, even though the aim for both types of strategies is the same – to get you where you want to be.

Lets start with Goal Setting. When you look up the word ‘goal' in the dictionary, the first things that jumps out at you is the sports definition. I'm not a sporting person, but I understand that the aim of a soccer match is for a player to get the ball into the goal at the other end of the pitch. The goal is the end point, the desitination, the place you want the ball to be.

When thinking about Goal Setting for Business, we want to do the same thing; focus on where you want the business to be at some point in the future.

It's great to have a Goal. It gives you focus. But when do you want to achieve it by? Without getting clear on how soon or far in the future you want to reach the destination, it makes it really difficult to create a meaningful plan.

What is Action Planning? It's the process of determining the steps you need to take to achieve your Goals or destination. Going back to the Soccer analogy, it's the strategies the Coach shares with the Players during training to get the ball into the goal.

Most businesses have short-term, medium-term, amd long-term Goals. Action Planning breaks down these Goals into steps or tasks you need to take to achieve these Goals. The Action Plan depends on when the you want to achieve the Goal. For short-term Goals, the steps are usually small and detailed. For long-term Goals, they are usually a rough idea of what you need to be doing.

If you own a business and haven't set your Goals or developed an Action Plan – you could be missing out. A business without direction will be firefighting and potentially missing opportunities to grow. If this is you or your business, do this one thing today …

Find a quiet spot, sit down with a blank sheet of paper, and get clear on your Goals. Where do you want to be in 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 3 years?

Quick tip: work your way back from your 3 year goal – it's a great way to kick-start action planning.

Happy Goal Setting & Action Planning!

Definition of a GOAL:
the end toward which effort is directed

Definition of a PLAN:
a method for achieving an end


Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell

Founder, Exploring Solutions

Need help with Goal Setting and  / or Action Planning for your business?