Use the Rule of 3 Things

Recently I came across an article by Steve Tobak at and also posted in Money today. Mr. Tobak effectiviely comunicates the need for annual plan and goals, while not overburdening the business owner.

“Most resolutions are hard to keep and leave us feeling guilty we couldn’t achieve them. Try the Rule of 3 in setting your goals.”

“There’s a simple reason why every successful company, big or small, has something akin to an annual planning cycle. Because, if you don’t put a stake in the ground and force yourself to look in the mirror and see where you are, determine where you want to go, and plot a course from one to the other, it never happens.”

It is extremely challenging, if not impossible to convince the small to mid-sized business owner to develop an annual plan and commit goals to writing.  Try simplifying the process and limiting the details.

“That said, I’ve seen plenty of individuals and companies go overboard by setting one big crazy goal that’s simply unachievable or coming up with laundry lists that are too long and not impactful enough. That’s why I use the Rule of 3 Things. It’s great for small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals because it’s simple, easy and flexible.”

“The simplest way to use the Rule of 3 Things is to set three goals for the upcoming year. Not two, not five – three. Not crazy, ridiculous, over-the-top goals where the odds are slim-to-none that they’ll happen and definitely not easy no-brainers, either. Just the three most important things you need to do to have a successful year.”

If you run a small business your goals might include: 1) retain and strengthen relationship with top 20 accounts 2) increase revenue by adding $10,000 in new business each month 3) increase cash flow by reducing accounts receivable $25,000 per quarter.

Key is to limit your goals, keep theme simple and straight forward.


photo credit: Start by marking 6 1/2 inches (165mm) via photopin (license)

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