Once you have a vision for your company, giving you a long term view into the future, it’s time to set some goals, milestones and next action steps.
 
Let’s start by looking at how these all fit together. Think of your vision as the view of Earth from space. You see the whole thing, but without any details. Next, your goals, are like flying in a commercial airplane at 35,000 feet. You see the general lay of the land and still see the horizon, but still not many details. Your milestones are like flying in a two-seater plane at 10,000 feet. You just see the horizon, but most of your sight is filled with the features on the land. Your next action steps are at ground level. You’re very focused on the details, on what’s right in front of you.
 

the view from the airplane window to the ground dotted with rivers

 
So set goals with the vision in mind, set milestones with the goal in mind and set action steps with the milestone in mind.
 

Your goals will likely take 1-3 years to implement, your milestones will likely take a timeframe measured in months to implement and your next actions should be able to be completed in a timeframe measured in hours.
 
It is helpful for businesses to set goals in each of the following areas:
 
Financial
Human Resources
Marketing
Operations
Sales
Technology
 
Once you have set SMART goals, set SMART milestones and identify the next step you need to take for the first milestone.
 
Let’s look at an example. A small design firm has a goal to use project management software to help manage their growing project load. They want to have fully implemented the software by the end of the year. Their milestones might be: 1. Identify best software in
1. Identify best software in first month.
2. 1-2 staff members trial software and customize as necessary in second to fourth months.
3. Roll out basic version of software to whole team in fifth month.
4. Incorporate advanced features into operations in months 6-12.
Now we identify the first steps the team needs to complete to fulfill milestone  Perhaps 1.”Perform google search.”
 
Review next steps daily, milestones weekly and goals monthly.