In our last article, ‘Can you succeed in business without really trying?’, one of the tips we mentioned was goal setting. But how important is goal setting when it comes to planning your start-up business? Can you just wing it, or is business success easier to achieve with quality and easily measurable goals? This article will tackle those very questions.
How entrepreneurs can use business goal planning wisely for quality growth
We often hear that business goal setting and planning is a very important step in the growth process of an individual company, and rightly so. However, the fact is that many entrepreneurs avoid detailed planning. And unfortunately, research has shown that entrepreneurs who don’t plan much, often achieve significantly worse business results than entrepreneurs with clear and detailed goals.
So, if you want to accelerate and consolidate business growth of your start-up, planning and setting goals is extremely important.
Unlike established businesses, start-ups have a unique growth at an exponential rate over a short period of time. If significant business growth in the first couple of years of business is not your goal, then your business idea and philosophy is not going in the direction of a start-up. This is also the reason why start-ups have greater scalability and exposure, which gives them the opportunity to enter larger foreign markets.
So while start-up companies offer a quick path to business success and allow you to enter with your own product or service in any market in the world in a relatively short period of time, the likelihood of a start-up company succeeding is much less than its business failure.
Companies with clearly defined goals achieve greater success
If you don’t know what your final destination is, how do you know which way to travel towards that destination?
So when it comes to your start-up, if you don’t have a set of clearly defined goals; short, medium and long term, how do you know what you need to do to achieve your dream and what you have imagined in your head?
Research has shown, time and time again, that companies with clearly defined business goals achieve much greater success over the same time period than companies that don’t, which are more prone to rapid decline.
So, how do you create a set of goal that will help your start-up achieve the growth you want? The following tips will help:
1. Business goals need to be ambitious
Running a business is a very complex process. Undoubtedly, you will come across a new problem almost every day, which you will need to out your thinking cap on to solve. And the truth of the matter is, that even planned goals may not turn out as you imagined, and you will need more time to re-tweak plans to achieve those goals in the end.
That’s why, when planning a business and setting goals, you have to be very ambitious.
Visualize in your head where you see yourself and the company over a period from one to five years. Based on this visualization, you can create you short, medium and long term goals, e.g., 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years. These goals should reflect what business and financial results you want to achieve and will be satisfied with.
The goals you plan to achieve must be ambitious and must exceed your current abilities and knowledge. Why? Because by moving outside your comfort zone, you will be able to push yourself to achieve more, and ultimately help your start-up grow.
2. Goals must be easily measurable
You’ve heard of SMART goals, right?
Every goal you set for your business should be SMART.
Writing down and measuring your goals is the only way to know that you are where you want to be and that you are actually successfully following your plans. Goals must be measurable in some way or another. A goal that cannot be measured is practically impossible to achieve.
Long-term goals should be divided into smaller goals. These smaller goals are tasks whose execution you can monitor on a weekly or monthly basis.
A big goal is much easier to keep track of when it is divided into smaller tasks because the path to success consists of a multitude of steps.
The key is to be flexible in your pursuit of goals and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Without clear guidelines and constraints, you could end up wasting time and resources that would otherwise be better spent elsewhere. To maximize your business’s efficiency, set testable goals for each process.
3. Regular monitoring of results is important
We live in a time when the success of each step is very easy to measure using a variety of digital devices and services.
For example, if you sell goods through a web store, there should be data available on the store’s back-end (technical term for the admin side of the website). You should be able to find how many goods you have sold each day and statistically show whether your sales are growing or falling. This information is extremely important to your business because by analysing the data you can increase or decrease investments in the development of further business.
The process of monitoring results and analytics is important in every type of business. Whether in the start-up phase, more established, or even a freelance consultant, it’s important to use simple methods to measure how well you are performing against your planned results.
In a perfect world, your results will be very close to the plan. If you find your results are slightly worse than anticipated, you will have to make an extra effort to raise the results to the desired level.
Regular monitoring of the success of achieving goals is extremely important for business growth.
4. Business optimization at all levels
No matter what you do and how you do it, your business can always function better, faster and more efficiently. The process of achieving better and better results at the same time is called business optimization.
Business planning, defining goals and monitoring results, all inevitably lead to business optimization.
Your optimization process should also take into account the impact the process has on your time and/or your employees, if you have them. Your goal should be to build employee buy-in and alleviate their fears. The best optimization processes start with the easy, low-hanging fruit that is easy to achieve and boost your confidence. Then you’ll need to move on to the more difficult, time-consuming challenges that require deep analysis.
Another side to business optimisation is to automate certain processes, managing your email sales funnel is a good example of something that can easily be automated with email marketing software. Once again, a plan will help you identify which tasks are most critical, and which ones aren’t. You’ll also need to make sure you have all the resources necessary to implement it. When you’re done, you’ll be able to implement the changes in your business.
Business optimisation requires that you fully understand your business and your customers. If you don’t know where to start, you may find it difficult to choose the right approach. This is where a project manager can be helpful. They can ensure that everyone is on the same page and help you create overall strategy to help you see the areas for improvement and implement the changes that are necessary to ensure business success.
Goals are not enough if you are prone to giving up
To achieve your goals, you will need a tremendous amount of energy, perseverance, sweat and willingness to sacrifice.
The Stanford Marshmallow Study of 1972 was an experiment in delayed gratification, using a group of children between the ages of three and five. Rewards (marshmallows) were placed on a table and the children were told that they could eat the treat right away, but if they waited 15 minutes for him to return, they would get another treat. Some children immediately ate treat whilst some did everything they could to resist. In the end, only a small number of children managed not to give in to temptation, and as a reward received a second treat.
Research has shown that patient children, willing to endure waiting and resist temptation, achieve far better results than others later in school and in life, and it stems primarily from the power of the goal.
So, if we want to be successful bosses, we must be willing to sacrifice, be patient and persistent, motivated by the expectation of greater effects in the future.
Setting goals is not easy
It is not easy to set the right goals. But in everything we do, business, and life in general, they are important. They need to be thought about, enough energy and time should be spent on determining them. If we define the right goal, we can only make a mistake in the level of achievement quality. But if we choose the wrong goal, we will do the completely wrong thing, and solve the wrong problem.
So, what is the goal of your company, your department, you as a boss, you as a person, you as a parent or spouse, you as a manager, you as a friend, or you as a human being? Can we state most of these goals quickly, without being confused, because we know them and have thought about them a lot?
Although goals are obviously the most important thing in any endeavour, no one has ever systematically taught us how to think about them well so that we can more easily define them and be happy and satisfied when we manage to realize them.
Determine your vision! Be persistent and ready to sacrifice at work! Always have a list of main personal and business goals in front of you and make an effort to achieve them every day!
A business plan should be one of the fundamental postulates of any new business. Namely, a business plan in one place aggregates all your plans and ideas – and the metrics you want to achieve in business. If you want a successful business that will grow well – you need to have a clear vision of where you want to get in the coming month or year.
A clear business vision leads you to create ambitious and achievable goals. When defining the goals you want to achieve in your future business, be sure to specify the period in which you want to achieve something and clear metrics with which you will monitor the progress of your goals. Research has shown that start-up entrepreneurs with well-defined goals are much more successful than those who do not have defined business goals in the future.
Further Reading from Kook Content
Can you succeed in business without really trying? Find out here.
How to break free of your holding pattern sometimes means discovering your true purpose, you can read our article on purpose here.
Kook is a copywriting and content creation agency. They work with SME businesses and large start-ups managing projects, creating copy and social content, and occasionally providing voice overs!