As a small business owner, it’s important to consider and respect the vital need for goal setting. Yes, if you originate mortgage loans you are a self-employed small business owner. If you hang your hat at a company with 5,000 employees or five employees, it won’t make a difference to your title. The success of your small business is only determined by the person you see in the mirror every morning and the team you work with daily. Setting and documenting your own tangible career goals is a necessity. The first plan in developing goals is to understand the two primary factors for success: ►Self-motivation: The ability to motivate yourself internally and work hard without requiring constant external assistance or someone else to push you. This is the single most important quality any person can hold to be successful. To have a successful business and to be the best employee possible, you must be consistently self-motivated regardless of the circumstances you face. ►Vision: The ability to see the future and actually visualize meeting your goal is vital. If you cannot see yourself reaching your goals or lack the determination, than there is no point in setting goals. You must have a vision in sight at all times to support your self-motivation, as well as planning accordingly and preparing for any changes in the future. Once your goals are established, make sure you remove any outside pressures if possible. In a transactional-based commissioned business, make sure you control your balance sheet more than your balance sheet controls you. Save more than you spend and don’t borrow money unless secured to real estate for housing or responsible investment. Limiting your liabilities will reduce stress and allow you to focus more on business and on your asset column. There are numerous benefits for those who establish and actually write down their goals. The number one reason people don’t document goals is that they don’t want to be held accountable if they fail to reach their own goals. How ridiculous is that? If this has crossed your mind, really think about what this means. It truly means that you’ve already planned to fail. Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431 or e-mail [email protected] or visit VantageMortgageGroup.com.