So you identify a stock that you want to trade and then come up with a specific point of entry. This is the easy part. But how do you determine when is the optimal time and price(s) to exit your trade? This is effectively referred to as trade management and it is a very important part of every successful traders trading plan. Without having this framework laid out ahead of time for every single trade that you place, I can assure that your emotions will almost always get in the way and cloud your judgement regarding when to exit your trade. 

Some people will go as far as to say that your entry really doesn't matter because if you manage your trade correctly you should be fine entering at any time. I don't completely agreed with this because I feel if you aren't careful choosing the proper time to enter, while your trade may ultimately still result in a profit, it could take a lot longer for this to occur. This is normally what happens when a person
enters a trade for a day trade and then ends up turning it into a multi-day hold rather than sticking to their initial plan and cutting their loss or taking profits during the same trading day. This is one of the main reasons a lot of traders fail because they deviate from their plan or even worse go into the trade without any idea about what to expect. There is nothing wrong with swing trading but you have to look at the chart and determine that the potential upside to your target is most likely not going to occur in a single trading day and therefore you can size your position to account for the increased risk that is the result of holding a stock overnight.

Since I like to redeploy my trading capital into the next trade as soon as possible (rather than sit in an idle stock position for days, weeks, or months) I prefer to be more choosy about my entries. None the less, I still feel that managing your trade is incredibly important. For this reason I always have between two and four projected targets in mind for every trade that I take. That is not to say I wouldn't deviate from my plan if an expected positive event occurred such as a sudden move in the stock which blew through multiple price targets. In this case I would probably immediately take off 3/4th's or even my entire position right then and there because large unexpected gains do not
usually last for very long in the stock market. 

Through years of a experience I found out for me personally I like to lock in profits along the way as the stock goes in my favor. Even though I usually end up with a smaller over profit than if I were to try to hold the entire position to my final target, more often than not I found these trades would turn into losers. There's nothing worse than having a $5k-10k profit and then a couple minutes later seeing it turns into a loss. This is why I created this rule. Not everyone may feel the same as me and this is the reason why I say you have to tailor your trading plan so that it will complement your own personality.

There is no one size fits all trading plan. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another but the good news is when you have a template like the one I have created here you can easily find what is suitable for you.