The easiest definition of a business goal is the main reason why your business exists. What made you start the company? Answering this is one of the first and most important steps to business growth.

How your business is nurtured in its first year often decides its future and as Warren Buffett once said, ‘’someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago.’’

Early-stage startup founders often struggle with the nebulous nature of their business goals, so this article provides a few business goals to guide you as you grow your early-stage startup.

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Why should you set goals?

Running for the sake of running is great, but you sure will perform better when you have a specific route and destination in mind. Similar to that, setting goals in your business will keep you moving forward toward the following:

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  • Long term vision and direction. Goals define where you ultimately want to go and give you your direction.
  • As you achieve your short term goals, you and your team will strengthen your operations, refine your processes and receive that extra boost to move onto the next goals.
  • The ability to decide and prioritize. When you have specific, well-defined goals, it will be easier to make day-to-day decisions in your business.

[READ MORE: Here are 10 actions that can make you a successful investor]

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Types of business goals

A good understanding of the different kinds of business goals will help you set objectives and create accurate plans. Long-term goals are what you aim for your business to achieve typically in one year or more. Short-term goals are the ones that help you get there.

Financial goals

For entrepreneurs, establishing financial goals is often the first course of action when creating plans. This is especially true for small businesses and startups, as cash flow can fluctuate in the first few months or years. Finances are one of the most reliable metrics that can help you identify how much your business has grown over a specific period of time.

Human resource goals

Human resource goals concern everything about your team. These include how large you need your team to be, the particular specializations your future employees should have, and the training programs you will provide to them.

Brand goals

The first years of a startup are crucial in establishing a unique brand identity. The products or services that you offer aren’t the only ways to attract clients and potential customers. Considering brand goals is one way to further connect with customers through shared values, and grow your business.

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Product goals

Product goals aim to help in the development of your products and services, which serve as your primary business driver. This can help you determine which priorities you want to go after. You can use them as a reference for adjustments and future decisions, and they can aid in creating the right strategies for accomplishing your company goals and objectives.


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Define your goal

This goal can apply to anything. Your goal can be to hire a team of 7 superstars, get more leads, bring in more revenue, get more customers, lower stress in the workplace, or anything else that will result in business success.

You need to live, breathe and believe your goals. Manifestation is a good practice. This refers to seeing something as true, so your subconscious drives you to do what you need to in order to make it true. Your organization needs to revisit the goal regularly, whether it’s monthly, daily or hourly. You need to be tied to it, and put everything behind it.

Goals must be:

  1. Achievable = Ambition is a powerful driving force, but it works best when combined with being realistic. Crazy ambitious goals are good for keeping your dream going, but it’s the realistic goals that will help you achieve that dream.
  2. Desirable = You need to be sincere about wanting your goals, and willing to dedicate your time and effort to them.
  3. Believable = You must have the confidence that you can and will get there.
  4. Be specific = “Some” is not a number and “soon” is not a time. “We want to bring in as much revenue as possible as soon as possible,” is too vague to be a goal. But, “We want to hit $1 million in sales by our fifth anniversary,” is a concrete goal that gives you a solid timeline to follow.

Keep these in mind at all times, and you will be able to focus on your goals much easier.


Step 2 – List your blockers

List out all the obstacles that are currently preventing you from reaching your goal. Think of it as a brainstorming session. Although it’s easy to get caught up and carried away in this step, focus on listing things out.

Step 3 – Build the task list

In this step, write down all the things that need to happen to accomplish each project. Consider these the action items that you’ll be working on day-to-day. There’s a chance that you’ll end up with too many tasks in this step, and that’s okay. It’s valuable to have these steps documented so you can revisit them later. Prioritize your list and make sure the most important tasks get finished. 

[READ ALSO: Here’s how to manage remote teams for your startup]

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Many startup businesses fail during the first year, and more than a few close their doors even before their sales properly begin to rise. The reason is simple; they do not have set goals in mind which eventually leads to poor focus.

The points mentioned above should give you a good understanding of how to come up with effective goals and how to reach them. So make sure to set them up, no matter how much time, effort, or research is needed and report back on how these essential targets helped your business.


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