I believe every successful entrepreneur should start each new endeavor with written down goals on what he or she wants to accomplish. While you may not always know at the start where you want to end up, it certainly helps to have a good idea. As a successful entrepreneur, I like the idea of setting goals, however many successful entrepreneur wanna-be’s make 4 critical mistakes in setting goals that lead to failure in accomplishing them.
First, they create lofty goals that are way too big to ever achieve. While I’m all about stretch goals and pushing yourself, lets face it, if you strive for something that is not doable you’ll most likely quit out of frustration before you get to success.
Second, they create way too many goals. Avoid this temptation and focus on some core goals that address the bigger picture of what you want to achieve. If there’s too many, chances are you won’t cross any of them off your list.
They create goals that are not specific. See more about that below.
Lastly, they fail to write their goals down. Goals created in your head will remain in your head will, soon be forgotten and never accomplished.
I typically set goals for a 12 month period. Each December I take time out to review my goals from last year and set goals for the upcoming year. And of course I write them down.
I like to create SMART goals, that is goals that follow these guidelines:
Specific – Goals that are specific have a much better chance of being accomplished than goals that are general. Specific goals answer the 6 “W” questions:
Who is involved?
What do you want to accomplish?
Where is the location?
When, what is the timeframe?
Which, what are the requirements and constraints?
Why do you want to accomplish the goal?
Measurable – What are the concrete tangible terms for knowing when the goal is attained. For example ask yourself, how much, how many, how long, how will I know when the goal is accomplished?
Attainable – Goals should be challenging and a stretch but not so much that they are unattainable.
Realistic – Your goal should consist of an objective for which you are willing and able to do the work. It should be a challenge and should be something that you can work towards. Set high goals, just not one’s that you don’t have a chance of completing.
Timely – Your goal should have a time frame attached to it. Giving your goal a time frame gives it a sense of urgency.
I also set goals for different areas of my life, for example, I set goals for the following areas: Money/Career/Business, Health, Spirituality/Personal Development, Family/Significant Other, Physical Environment, Fun.
It doesn’t matter what the date on the calendar says, commit to setting your goals right now. Write them down, share them with others, keep them where you can see them and review them at least quarterly. That’s what entrepreneurs that are successful do. Start today!
There are many SMART goal templates available online, just google “SMART goal templates.”
I like this one from Hubspot.