Beyond making up your mind to start a business, you need to understand what it takes to start that business. More so, you need to find out that there is market for your idea. Startup Nation believes you need to have a goal and test it.

Can you spell out how to reach it with specific business strategies, tactics and action priorities that have your confidence? If that’s a total mystery, maybe you need to get real.

Again, setting unrealistic goals not only is a useless exercise, it does damage. It can point everyone’s expectations, emotions and spending at a false target that simply can’t be hit, and unnecessary failure will infect your company.

If you’ve been in business for a year, look back and use your performance as a measure of what it should be in this one. Maybe it will hold steady, perhaps improve.

When you create those strategies, tactics and actions, they should tell you what new achievement is possible and help you come up with the defined, achievable and measurable goals to get you there.

Create business goals that have near-term, mid-term and long-term positions on your timeline. Near-term might be in the next quarter, mid-term may be a year off, long-term might be measured in years. You set the intervals, then need to visit the goals regularly to make necessary adjustments along the way.

Goals are there to serve you and keep your business on track, but they’re not cast in titanium. Erase them, change them, make them fit your needs. And remember, whether you’re the leader of one or 100, you should consistently invoke the goals at regular intervals.

You can lose your way, miss opportunities and stray far from what will make your business thrive. Stay focused, set goals and remember they’re not for your eyes only. Communicate them, share your vision and above all, keep the passion.

It’s your venture, and your year to succeed. Expect nothing but the best.

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