The 3 (Almost) Untold Secrets About Startup Goal Setting

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Most likely you have set some goals for your business before. But how often did you reach those goals?

If you are like most entrepreneurs (myself included), very often goal setting was all nice and exciting on paper but never came to fruition, no matter how hard you worked on them.

We know that we should set short-term and long-term goals. We know that we should set SMART goals. We know that we should visualize our goals everyday in order to keep ourselves motivated. We know they should be written down. We even know we should tell others about our goals so that we can be held accountable. These are all very good advice but they leave out some extremely important steps that are crucial for the attainment of any well-worth goal.

We’ll break the secrets:

#1 Turning Your Goal Into A Strategy & That Strategy Into CONSISTENT Action

To have the goal of doubling your revenue within the next quarter is nice but it isn’t enough for you to actually double it. It doesn’t matter how Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bounded goals are – if you don’t act on them, your chances are just slightly better than random.
Sometimes we focus too much on our business to be able to see the absurdity this concept is, so let’s take a look at how this would turn out with a fitness goal:

Imagine that a friend of yours wants to lose weight and get a beach body by next summer. The goal itself is nice, but what are the chances of him/her achieving this goal just by having it? Not better than random, right?

Now, let’s say that instead of just having this goal, your friend also decides to go to a nutritionist and a personal trainer and gets both, a diet and an exercise program designed specifically for their needs. What are the chances of this goal being achieved now? Slightly better.

How can your friend maximize the chances of getting a beach body by next summer? By CONSISTENTLY following the diet and exercise program. Sounds obvious, right? But how often do we set goals and forget to create a strategy to actually achieve it? Or, when we do have a strategy, how often do we follow that strategy every day?

Goal setting is easy. The hard part is to act towards it, so we tend to skip this part. However, if you want to drastically increase your chances of achieving a goal, you must get a strategy for your goal and act on it as consistently as you possibly can.

#2 Establishing KPIs & Measuring Them – CONSTANTLY

Tracking revenue, user database, reach, etc. is essential. So is tracking the actions that will let you grow those numbers. For that, you need to have Key-Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The advice of getting someone to be accountable for is excellent. There is only one thing that, unfortunately, is left behind when this advice is given: just telling the world you will dominate your market in 5 years won’t do much. You need to commit on showing your results often to keep yourself on track.

That’s why having a coach, mentor or accountability partner that helps you get clear on which KPIs will lead your business toward growth is crucial. Results will not always show up instantaneously after you take an action. Very often, results take a while but you can rest assure that, if you take the right actions on a regular basis, sooner or later, they eventually will show up.

Using a sales example that will help you better understand this concept:

If a salesperson is currently struggling to reach their quota, this salesperson has two options: (1) Go to a sales training to learn a new methodology (like SPIN Selling, SNAP Selling, Conceptual Selling, Sandler Sales Submarine, etc.) or (2) to call twice as many prospects.

Learning a new methodology seldom will double the sales overnight but calling twice as many prospects, provided the quality of the lead is still the same and the person doesn’t burn out, will double sales. Calling is a KPI that will impact the quota, which normally is the only KPI most sales managers keep track of.

This may sound absurd but, quite often, calling more prospects won’t require any extra hours. In most cases it only will require a better system to be put in place so that the salesperson has more time calling prospects and less time finding leads, filling out paperwork, cleaning the desk, etc.

This isn’t just the case for sales though. If you want your developers to produce better quality results faster, create KPIs for them. If you want your marketing team to perform better, create KPIs for them. If you want to grow your business, create KPIs for yourself too.

#3 Being Flexible With Your Goal

You probably know someone who bought a stock expecting it to be a big hit but it very quickly started to drop in value. Instead of selling the stock early on and absorb the loss, that person held to it, hoping it would go back up again. It didn’t. And that person only sold the stock when the drop was so big that he or she had lost a fortune in this investment, resulting in that person never wanting to invest again.

This doesn’t happen only with investment options. It happens a lot with our goals as well. Maybe you’ve committed to a certain strategy to grow your business but that strategy turned out not to be the most effective for your business at this moment. Instead of learning the lessons and moving on to a new strategy, you stay with the same strategy and just pour in more and more resources, trying to make it work.

Another thing that happens a lot is building a business for a certain target market but realizing, later on, that the initial target market isn’t accepting the product that well but another one is. Most of us try to push harder on the initial target market and maybe aggregate the other one instead of changing the focus to the new one and maybe going back to the initial one after we get more resources or establish our company first.

If you want to achieve your goals faster and with less struggles, you must be willing to be flexible. You still will have to hustle, you will just be hustling towards where it is working. If you work hard digging a hole, you’ll end up in a deeper one.

But there’s also another side of the coin: the shiny object syndrome: It’s very easy to try out a new strategy and get frustrated soon because the strategy isn’t working as fast and as effective as promised. Every new strategy that will take you towards a worthwhile goal will require some time to start working because you will have to learn the strategy, adapt it to the uniqueness of your business & test until you find what works best for you.

As entrepreneurs, we are constantly bombarded with new marketing and sales strategies. This leads a lot of us to try out a product launch this month, then a kickstarter campaign in the next, podcast, YouTube or blogging in the next, SEO or AdWords in the next and so on.

This eternal search for the perfect strategy just drains our energy and prevents us from letting any strategy mature enough in order for it to work. A good strategy to avoid the shiny object syndrome is to benchmark what other (successful) startups similar to yours are doing that is working and choosing that strategy.

Don’t let this be just another article you read, found cool, shared and forgot about. Take action right now!

Get your #1 business goal and ask yourself these questions:

  • What strategies do I need to put in place for me to achieve this goal in a specific timeframe?
  • What actions do I need to take on a consistent basis for this strategy to work?
  • How can I measure them?
  • Who can I get to help hold me accountable?
  • How often can I show my KPIs to this person?
  • Am I following an ineffective strategy or am I being flexible?
  • Do I have the shiny object syndrome? If so, how long do I commit to staying with this strategy I’m implementing before I even consider abandoning it?

Apply those 3 (almost) untold secrets to your goals and you will see how much more effective your goal setting will become!



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