Published on October 14th, 2020 | by Christian Kruse0
Business Goals for Startups: What You Need to Know
A startup with no business goals can be compared to a person running without an idea of which way to take and where he wants to go. Sure, he will be moving, but at the end of the day, he will be exhausted and have nothing to show for it.
Business goals are ideally the things a business anticipates to accomplish in a certain period of time. They give the direction as to where you want to go and motivates you to do what must be done to get there. They also guide in decision making; when faced with a decision to make, it becomes easier to opt for the idea that contributes the most to the set goals.
In order to have a clear understanding, however, it is important to know the different types of goals that you can set for your startup.
Business goals are divided into two categories.
Long-term goals– These are achievements that you want your business to accomplish in one year or more. For instance, you want your startup to be a household brand in your industry in 10 years. You want to reach $1 million in sales in two years.
Short-term goals– These have a shorter timeline, particularly less than one year. Some short-term goals are steps that help you in achieving long-term goals. For instance, if you want to record $1 million in sales in two years, you can start by hiring marketers and enhancing your marketing strategy. The short-term goal here could be, to hire three marketers in the next three months, or to increase social media advertising in the next three months.
A startup can have different types of goals. They include the following among others.
1. Brand goals
These define where you anticipate your business to be in the future. These goals aim at creating brand awareness in your local market or even globally. It would include steps you need to take to get there. For instance, building a brand identity, that is the name, logo and trademark. Creating a website and optimizing it for SEO, promoting your products in social media and live events among others.
2. Talents goals
These goals specify what type of team you anticipate to have for your brand. It defines the skills that you will need, the hiring process, the onboarding and training programs among others. If you dream of having an international team, it defines how you are going to handle payroll. For instance, you can anticipate utilizing global payroll solutions, such as global PEO so that you have everyone under a centralized payroll system.
3. Products goals
These goals define how products will be developed. It includes features that can be added in a year or two. New products that you anticipate to introduce in a specific period of time. It also includes introducing new uses of the product.
4. Social goals
A business needs to have a community around it. The best approach to this is by starting philanthropic projects to give back to society. Social goals should outline the best way to incorporate such programs in the organization.
5. Service goals
These goals are related to giving customers the best experience when working with you. You can include how you intend to improve on customer service to achieve customer satisfaction. Think of what you need to do to make your customers loyal and repeat customers.
6. Profit/growth goals
Of course, you are in business to make a profit and achieve growth. These goals address how much profit/growth you want to achieve in terms of percentage and timeline.
How do you set your goals?
To be able to set business goals, it is important that you understand how your goals should look like and what you should do to achieve them.
1. Your goals should be SMART
Specific– Your goals should not be vague. They should specify what you anticipate to achieve by a specific time. For instance, in case of sales, you can say that you would like to make $500,000 in sales by the end of July.
Measurable– You should be able to measure your goal to know where you are, and the far that you have to go to achieve them.
Attainable– This is not to say that they need to be simple to achieve, but they should be realistic.
Relevant– Make your goals depending on the current situation in the market.
Time-bound– Your goals should have a timeline as to when they need to be achieved.
2. Divide your goals into small chunks
When you look at a goal in wholesome, you are likely to feel intimidated and doubt if you can achieve it. Make it simple by dividing it into small achievable goals. When you say you want to increase posting in social media in a year, you can divide that into 3 posts a week.
Don’t despise small successes, always remember to mark the milestones that you have covered and reward yourself for the efforts. Instead of slapping your team with a new set of goals to work on the following day after achieving a goal, pose and say thank you. Celebrate what went well with your team in readiness for the next step. Doing this will enhance your determination to hit the next milestone and the next.
3. Believe in your goals
If you have no belief in your goals, they most likely won’t manifest. In addition, you will always be thinking that you are working towards something that is unattainable. Eventually, your morale and motivation will slowly dwindle, making you abandon the goals along the way. Even when you feel like you are reaching for something that is too big, you should always believe in your goals, visualize the bigger picture. That is how you will find the motivation to keep going.
4. Commit to your goals
Once you have set your goals, you should be ready to commit to each one of them. Procrastination and second-guessing yourself will only become a hindrance to achieving your goals. The road is never smooth, you will make mistakes and meet pitfalls along the way. Use these experiences as a learning experience. Find the lesson and use it as a stepping stone to take you to the next level. Find the things that keep you motivated so you are able to charge through the journey and enjoy it to the end.
5. Keep revisiting
Working on a huge goal without sitting down to take stock can only feel like a long road with no destination on the horizon. If you have set a goal to achieve in a month, do yourself a favor and assess your progress weekly. If it is a weekly goal, assess the daily progress and so on. You can use simple tools such as Microsoft Excel to track the progress.
When you regularly check on your goals, it will help you stay within the timeline. In addition, it becomes easier to eliminate distractions and hurdles that keep you away from achieving your set milestones. You will also be able to unlock valuable insights on what is working for you and what is not. This will help you improve on what is working and cut down or eliminate that which is not working.
6. Find an accountability partner
If you really want to achieve your goals, make them public. Keeping them to yourself will not give you the push that you need to achieve them. After all, no one else will know if they flop or you drop them along the way.
If you have a team in place, keep them in the loop of all business goals. If you are going it solo, ensure you involve at least one person. You can ask him or her to check in with you once in a while to ask about the progress. Whatever involvement you want them to have in your plans, be sure to define their role. The most important thing, however, is that you will have a person who you can be accountable to.
7. Create a team
Depending on the size of your business, you will need a team that will help you execute your vision to achieve the set goals. As a vision carrier, you understand clearly what you want to achieve. You know the core values that you will foster in your organization to align yourself to achieve these goals.
As you put together a team, keep this in mind. Look for individuals who can align with your core values and dreams. All through the recruitment, hiring and onboarding processes, be keen to check the soft skills of each individual in addition to their job skills and qualifications. It will be much easier for you to sell a vision to like-minded people who have a growth mindset.
8. Involve the team
As said earlier, you are the one with the vision. However, that is not to say that what you visualize is without a blemish. If you have a team in place, put your goals on the table, and allow the members to scrutinize them. Be open to listen to their opinions and consider them when putting up the final draft.
This is the point where you assign responsibilities to your team members. Let everyone understand their contribution towards achieving the set goals and objectives. Your employees will feel valued that you made them a part of a very important aspect of the organization. They will be more inclined to work hard towards achieving the goals.
Business goals are essential in driving a startup forward. If you are having a hard time setting goals, ask yourself why you started your business in the first place. The answers you get are the goals that you should start working on.
In addition, always remember that business dynamics keep changing at a rapid rate. Even as you write down your goals, leave room for flexibility. Agree that they might change along the way and allow yourself that agility to accommodate a change if need be.