In What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack refers to a study conducted on students of the 1979 Harvard MBA program. In the study, students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only 3 percent of the graduates had written down their goals and plans. Thirteen percent had goals that were not in writing, while 84 percent had no specific goals at all.
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings were truly shocking. The 13 percent of the class who had had goals were earning on average twice as much as the 84 percent who had had no goals at all. And what about the 3 percent who had had clear, written goals? They were earning on average 10 times as much as the other 97 percent.
Setting goals and developing strategies for bringing in new business in 2014 may not sound like a lot of fun or even all that productive. Most people believe they can survive just fine without devoting time to planning. But one thing is for sure: Planning will never lower your sales or profits. So pick up a pencil and write down your goals for the New Year. You and your 2014 sales results have nothing to lose!
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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com.