Setting Effective Goals to Lead Your Startup to Success

Setting the Right Business Goals for Your Startup

One of the most important things you can do as a startup owner — if not the most important — is to set goals. Doing so may sound easy, but actually implementing goals into daily assignments can prove to be quite difficult. Therefore, the goals that startup owners must set need to be specific, concrete, and measurable ones that can truly keep the company moving forward. On the other hand, failure to meet them may be an opportunity to troubleshoot and learn for the future.

Only you can determine what the goals should be for your startup. While your ultimate goal may be “success,” it’s important to define what success means to you. For some startups, it can mean becoming profitable after five years. For others, it can mean launching an IPO. Not only will each company’s goals necessarily be different, but those goals will change at various stages of operation.

The Importance of Setting Goals

Setting goals is important because by doing so, you are essentially creating benchmarks for measuring your pathway to success. And if you get distracted or encounter any hiccups on the way, remember to look at your original mission statement. When things get tough, as they inevitably do in business, remembering your core vision can give you the push you’ll need to keep going.

Defining Your Vision

In order to set realistic goals for your business, you first must define your vision — both for your business itself and for your personal role within it. Putting these ideas on paper is important so that you can remember them even after your startup has been operating for several years. If your business eventually goes down a different path than the one you originally planned, this will help you either adjust your goals to suit the new reality or take the helm and redirect your company back to your original vision.

A Sober View of Long-Term Goals

The goals set forth in your vision statement can take a long time to achieve since they address the larger issues facing your company in the economic, social, and political spheres. The team often called upon to help achieve these goals is the business development department, which can find strategic partners, chart new market-penetration strategies, or adjust the company culture. However, in order to get that far, the rest of the teams within the company must make sure that they are hitting short-term and mid-term goals.

After actually setting goals, you may encounter two extremes — one is that they are being met too easily for the company’s own good and the other is that they aren’t being met at all and thus may reflect that they were totally unattainable from the start. Either of such outcomes may indicate that your business model must be revamped.

How to Actually Set Company Goals

So, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the importance of designating goals, but how should you actually go about doing so? Here are some tips for setting goals of all sizes and terms:

Be specific — “Making money” may be your overall goal, but you need to have a very specific business model in place in order to achieve that. Rather than having such a vague goal, set short-term ones of making x amount per year or even per quarter.

Make them quantifiable — The only way you can really know whether you’re achieving your goals is by looking at the numbers. Number of sales, repeat sales, number of distribution channels, customer satisfaction ratio, revenue, transactions per team member, and transaction channels are all measurable ways of seeing where your startup stands in relation to your goals.

Set deadlines — Even with short-term goals, it’s important to designate realistic deadlines. Saying that “by the end of the year, I want to have accomplished x” isn’t a true deadline. Setting weekly or monthly deadlines is much more effective.

Ensure that the goals are relevant — The goals that you choose to prioritize must play a role in the achievement of other company goals. For example, having each team member conduct double the number of transactions would be an objective relevant towards a company’s goals of, say, increasing sales by 200%. Now, not every team member may be able to accomplish such a thing. That is why having another objective, such as increasing repeat sales by something like 25%, would also be relevant towards the overall goal of a 200% increase in sales.

Attainable — Goals should be within the realm of possibility but actually achieving them should not be a given. It may not be comfortable to demand that each team member double the number of transactions they conduct or that repeat sales rise by 25%, but it may certainly be within the realm of possibility. On the other side of the token, if this goal proves totally unrealistic and no one even comes close, that reality may have to be taken into consideration and the goal may have to be revised.

Celebrate your successes — When you reach a goal that you set for yourself, celebrate. You invested a lot, worked hard, put in long hours, and kept going even when it was hard. This is something that is healthy for the company culture, healthy for your employees, and shouldn’t be overlooked. So, find a way to celebrate, move on to the next goal, and have faith in your ability to lead your team to greater milestones.




Angel investor, entrepreneur, professional diver and passionate cook. My Medium blog in Russian:

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Gil Smolinski

Gil Smolinski

Angel investor, entrepreneur, professional diver and passionate cook. My Medium blog in Russian:

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