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Peter has suffered from a severe dose of wishful thinking recently. He set up a new business aiming to produce portable X-Ray machines for the burgeoning international airport market and was wowed by the figures involved: it’s a multimillion pound industry with growth prospects in every conceivable corner of the earth. The demand for security in general and portable X-Ray machines in particular has never been higher.

Peter looked at the figures and worked out that if he secured just 0.0001% of the market, then he could grow his business exponentially and retire to the Maldives within five years. The maths are seductive and before long, this imagined 0.0001% of the market has become a target – rather than the concoction he has just conjured up between him and the safety of a spreadsheet on his laptop.

One year on and instead of flying from exotic location to bewildering airport brown field site, replete with catalogues of portable X-Ray machines (strap line: One Born Every Minute), Peter is now unhappily trudging up and down the M6 flogging photocopiers to unsuspecting micro businesses who won’t read the small print and who will, through the power of Peter’s persuasiveness, commit themselves to a 10 year contract for a 3D printer they have had no need for, have no need for, and will never have a need for (strap line: One Born Every Minute).

He will reflect ruefully as he sips a cappuccino at Sandbach Service Station that if he had constructed real targets for X-Ray machines sales, based on the evidence of what he could realistically sell on a month by month basis, that he may not have seen his business idea flop so bewilderingly quickly.

When you’re starting a business, you have to learn sooner rather than later that in order to inject some energy into your enterprise, you need to set yourself some goals which direct your energy to produce something tangible: sales, prototypes, patents, profits, customers to name but five.

But whatever that something is, it has to be constructed upon something resembling evidence, rather than conjured up out of the ether and a saucerful of wishful thinking. Otherwise, you may find yourself achieving some else’s sales targets rather than experiencing the joy of hitting your own.