Objectives are important in both business and life.
Without tangible objectives to achieve,
it’s difficult to benchmark your progress. As an entrepreneur, having a strong desire to do well in your niche and become successful is simply not enough.
You got to come up with a roadmap on how to achieve that.
And in the process, you get to know your strengths and weaknesses. And then, you make tangible plans to further improve your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. In other words, you go about setting goals.
What is Entrepreneur Goal Setting?
The process of setting tangible goals for the continuous growth and development of your business is entrepreneur goal setting. It’s important to have some goals worked out even before you start your business.
This will give you a roadmap on how you want your business to shape up, and what are your priorities as an entrepreneur.
Once the business is up and running, setting new goals regularly becomes even more important. The process of entrepreneur goal-setting is a cyclic one. As long as you are in business, you strive for betterment and progress, and thus keep setting new goals, as you achieve the old ones.
Are Goals and Vision the same thing?
You got to have a vision for your business.
A vision is more of an idealized conception of how you want to see your business developing in the future. A vision is clear but it’s not specific, it’s abstract and generalized. Your business vision is a deeper manifestation of your personal values and principles.
For example, if you are passionate about green energy and sustainable development as an entrepreneur, you would want your business to develop along that trajectory in the future.
Goals are tangible targets you set for realizing that future vision. So if you are a tech entrepreneur and your vision is to make technology affordable to the masses, you will have a set of specific goals to fulfill that vision.
Why is goal setting crucial for entrepreneurs?
Goal setting is the backbone of a successful business. An entrepreneur needs to concentrate on things that are important for their business and not waste time chasing the non-essentials. But how would you figure out what is important and what is not?
You would get to know this through goal-setting.
Goals give you a clear idea of the areas in which your business is lacking and what you need to do to overcome those inefficiencies.
Goal setting also gives you insight into new ways to develop your business. Developing a new product, expanding into a new market, opening a new store in another town, and adding a new service to your business portfolio-all these are goals that will help take your business forward.
The process of goal-setting also forces you to think about your expectations from your business clearly and objectively.
What is your niche?
What kind of future growth do you see for that niche in general? How can you differentiate your business from competitors? How do you become an innovative business? Goal-setting would answer all these questions.
Entrepreneur Goal Setting Methods
Goal setting isn’t just limited to making a note of what you want to do with your business, and then going about achieving it.
It is rather a creative, analytical, and fun process through which your brainstorm your priorities, and come up with the best possible set of goals for taking forward your business interests.
Goal setting is an entire framework of business development that takes into account not just the tangible goals for the growth of your organization but also the best possible way to achieve these.
A goal-setting method would help you formulate precise goals based on certain parameters.
There are many popular methods and techniques of goal setting such as SMART goals method, HARD goals method, WOOP goals method, Micro goals method, etc. All these methods help you design a set of goals, based on specific criteria best suited to your business needs.
The most popular method for entrepreneurship goal setting is the SMART method. Let’s take a look at this method in detail.
The acronym ‘SMART’ stands for
- Specific – Try to formulate specific goals rather than vague, generic ones. So, instead of having a goal that says that you want to expand your market, have a goal that defines a particular market segment and sets a timeline for targeting it.
- Measurable– Your entrepreneur goals should be measurable, that is quantifiable and concrete. So you can’t have a goal that says that you want to increase the sales of your products. Instead, you should have a goal that targets the increase in revenue by a specific percentage on a year to year basis
- Achievable – Your business goals shouldn’t be so lofty that they can never be achieved. If you are a small startup and you set a goal of opening 5 new companies within a year, is that goal achievable? Challenging goals motivate you for sure. But goals that are plain unachievable would simply frustrate you. So keep that point in mind.
- Relevant – Your goals have to be relevant to the nature of your business. You cannot formulate goals that fall outside the scope of your business. All the goals that you set for your organization have to be interconnected. Together, they must serve to fulfill the collective objectives of your business.
- Time-bound – Goals are no use unless and until they are bound by a time frame. Business goals have many stakeholders working upon them. It’s a team effort. If you are trying to put a new social media marketing plan in place, multiple teams are working on that goal. So you have to make sure that all procedures are streamlined and time-related parameters are well in place.
Steps to Follow for Entrepreneur Goal Setting
- Think, Ideate & Brainstorm
The first step of entrepreneur goal setting involves a great deal of thinking and brainstorming. Make a mental note of the strengths of your business and its weaknesses. Which areas would you like to improve?
What are the strengths of your business that you can capitalize on?
Where do you see your company 10 years from now? How do you see your company’s work culture evolving over the years?
How can you innovate yourself as a brand?
During the initial stage, just take notes of the basic ideas. Do not think about specific goals at this stage. Just make a note of any ideas that seem useful to you for the growth of your business.
This is also the stage of brainstorming. Formulating business goals is a team effort. So consult your business mentors, associates, and other stakeholders. If you think they have some valuable inputs or insights to offer, make a note of those points.
2. Define your business goals
This is the most crucial step of entrepreneur goal setting. Now that you have a detailed document with all sorts of ideas and suggestions, it’s time to fine-tune everything into tangible and measurable goals.
Begin creating a list of your goals. Follow the SMART method to make sure that the goals are practically workable.
It is very important to define each goal as specifically as you can so that there is no confusion regarding what you want to achieve. You can also categorize goals according to the business vertical they address. So you have a couple of goals under the ‘Business growth’ category.
Then, you have some goals for ‘Product Innovation’, and another set of goals for the ‘Market diversification’ category.
3. Create an action plan for achieving the goals
Defining your goals is just half the work done.
The challenging part is achieving those goals. Having a business goal in place and then working towards it intuitively isn’t very effective. An entrepreneur needs to create an action plan that lists all the steps you must follow to achieve each goal.
So ideally, every goal should have a separate action plan because every goal is unique. A precise action plan saves your business a lot of time and resources. It becomes easier for you to focus on achieving the goal since you don’t have to constantly worry about the ‘how’ part.
4. Set timelines
This one is pretty obvious but crucial to the successful implementation of your action plan. Set reasonable deadlines for various stages of your action plan, and the final achievement of your goal.
Goals are both short-term and long-term. For short-term goals, you can just have a single deadline by which you expect yourself to fulfill that goal. For long-term goals, it’s useful to have multiple deadlines for making sure you are on the right track.
5. Define the obstacles
This is as crucial as defining the goals. In the real world out there, every goal will have many hurdles blocking the way.
And it isn’t really like a school race, where you’ll just brave your way through all the hurdles through your strength, agility, and conviction. You got to be pragmatic and figure out the prospective hurdles in advance.
Clearly define potential obstacles for each goal. This will help you strategize better, and ensure that your efforts don’t lead you to a blind alley.
Now that everything is in place, it’s time to start taking action! The most well-intentioned policies fail because of ineffective implementation. Timely action is crucial to achieving your goals.
Make yourself accountable.
Have a system in place to track your progress regularly. It’s best to stick to a weekly plan of reviewing your progress.
7. Stay motivated
No matter how difficult or unattainable the goals might seem to be, it’s super important to stay motivated. Don’t wait for the final results. Even the little progress that you are making on a day-to-day basis is motivation enough.
Remember that it’s all about the process. If you stay upbeat, and enthusiastic, and follow your action plan well, achieving your business goal is just a matter of time.
But don’t get obsessed with the final achievement. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to keep a cool head and not get worked up.
8. Be flexible
Don’t be rigid with your action plan. Follow it with sincerity but keep your eyes open to any new opportunities and insights you encounter.
One is constantly dealing with variables in a business environment. Things are constantly changing, and it’s important to keep pace with all the new developments.
When you created the action plan, maybe the scenario in your industry was completely different. And then things changed at a drastic pace. So it’s obvious that you’ll have to take into account the new dynamics and work those into your modus operandi.
9. Visualize success
This might sound a bit dramatic but visualizing success keeps you motivated. Human psychology responds fastest to visualization.
So if you consistently go over images of yourself achieving a certain goal and being happy after that, your mind will begin to take those images at face value. To put it simply, you will start believing in your goals more positively and affirmatively.
Visualization is a proven strategy for successful outcomes across various fields. Motivational speakers and writers constantly highlight the importance of positive and affirmative visualization to create a positive mindset. It can be similarly used as a powerful strategy in entrepreneur goal setting.
10. Be enthusiastic and passionate about your business goals!
Achieving goals is not a mechanical process. You can tick all the right boxes but until and unless you are passionate about something, it doesn’t work out.
So it’s important that you love your niche, and are excited about your business goals.
Remember that the journey towards achieving your entrepreneur goals has to be fun, creative, and challenging. It should not become torture for you.
Stress can easily hamper your success, no matter how hard you work. So it’s also important to relax and have faith in your abilities.