Most entrepreneurs are careful about making sure they know where their companies are going and how what they're doing today in the business will have apayoff tomorrow. But how many people can say the same thing about their life? Every businessperson, contends Sheila West, should write a "businessplan" for his or her personal life.

West, CEO of ACI Consolidated, a Monroe, Mich., distributor of archery equipment and an Inc. 500 company, uses a different phrase to describe what she means: she calls the personal business plan a "purpose statement." Sheoutlines a statement for each of the roles she plays: mother, wife, community leader, company CEO, and more. For each role, West has considered andarticulated how she hopes to grow and where she wants to be, and she sets tangible goals and lists steps toward attaining them--just as she does when she setsgoals for her business. Periodically she rereads what she's written to gauge her progress.

"Vision gives us hope that our needs can be met and inspires us to make our dreams become reality," says West in her book Beyond Chaos (NavPress,1991).