Business Goals: Shooting for the Unknown or the Moon

Business goals are a hot topic lately. Clients, colleagues, coworkers, peers - we're all setting goals for being bigger, better, smarter, leaner. But something is missing - the reality that comes with those goals.

At a business meeting recently, a local startup founder mentioned his gross revenue goal for the year was $2M. My question to him, "What's your net profit goal?" His response: I'm not sure. My next question, "When do you expect to be profitable this year?" His response remained the same: I'm not sure. He has a big goal and no idea what that will mean for his company.

On the other side of the coin, I got an email from a woman entrepreneur friend with her goals for 2013, her second full year in business. Her goal was to make $150,000 after making $110,000 in 2012 with about $50,000 in take-home revenue. She said she felt she could blow the goal out of the water but wanted to stay conservative. My question: why not shoot for the moon?

Both of these stories are common among startups and entrepreneurs. One wants to make a ton of money and add lots of staff while not knowing the company's net profit. The other is afraid to set a goal too high for fear it'll never be met.

What causes us to set goals that are too high without knowing the real impact they'll make or too low worrying we'll fail?

This year, Sisarina has a big, hairy goal. Without hiring more team members, we expect to triple our gross profit this year. This also means we'll have a solid net profit to continue building our team and taking care of our clients. It's the beginning of our 5th year and growth is the plan, but not just because we want to - because we've laid the foundation and have the team to make the dream a reality. We're shooting for the moon but if we land among the stars, we'll be just as happy.

Shooting for the moon doesn't mean picking a big number. It means having a plan and accomplishing it. If you don't know the answers to why you set the goal and how it gets you further, start writing your plan. If you know you can crush your goals, set bigger ones. You're not a failure if you don't make them.

A guideline for accomplishing your goals:

  • set up a Trello board
  • add your goals in small, simple tasks
  • add deadlines to each phase of the goal
  • find an accountability partner
  • check in with your partner weekly
  • once you've completed each of your goals, celebrate!

What are your business goals for 2013? How will you accomplish them and what will they mean for you?