Entrepreneurs are goal-driven by nature, whether they're striving for the short-term goal of making a strong CFO hire or the long-term goal of selling a successful business. But how you set those goals and work toward achieving them can make a world of difference when it comes to seeing them through.
These six entrepreneurs share advice on setting attainable goals -- ones that won't end up abandoned by the wayside.
Figure out the end game and get granular.
Setting attainable goals is all about being specific. Maren Hogan, leader of marketing agency Red Branch Media, defines what she wants and how to achieve it based on tangible metrics.
"Viewing everything as a funnel makes the steps you need to take to achieve your goal much easier. I ask myself what the goal is and then get granular. Instead of 'I want to be a better speaker,' try 'By next year, I want four paid speaking events,'" she says. "You have a timeline and a date, so you can plot the steps monthly and weekly."
Use the old-school whiteboard method.
Zach Binder, co-founder of personal brand development company Ipseity, Inc., knows that sometimes the simplest methods are the most effective. By writing down his goals where he can see them, they're always within reach.
"I live by the old-school method of a whiteboard in my office with all of my goals written down," he says. "I do use a spreadsheet to record goals, how they were met and how long it took. Seeing them every day keeps them top of mind. I can't escape them!"
"Goals are much easier to attain if you have other people holding you accountable along the way," says Beth Doane, managing partner of communications agency Main & Rose. You can source the people around you -- your friends, family members and colleagues -- for potential accountability partners.
"When I decided I wanted to reach some new wellness goals for 2017, I asked close friends and colleagues if they were interested in reaching similar goals," she says. "I was able to achieve what I wanted far more easily and had way more fun because I had others supporting me while I supported them."
Don't get ahead of yourself.
While it's important to dream big, setting goals that are too out of reach too soon may mean you never get there. That's why Kelsey Meyer, co-founder and president of content marketing agency Influence & Co., favors an approach of incrementally working up to her end goal.
"I'm not saying you shouldn't be ambitious, but I believe in steadily increasing until you get to where you're trying to go," she says. "For example, I really wanted to write at least three or four articles per month, but I didn't set that goal for myself out of the gate. Instead, I set a goal to work on one additional article each month with the intention of working toward the end goal."
Don't over-promise yourself.
Kevin Hong, chief sales officer of Cinema Intelligence, a big data company for movie exhibitors, cautions against trying too hard to impress stakeholders in your company, as this often leads to unrealistic goals. By learning to say no, your goals -- both personal and professional -- will be that much more attainable.
"As an entrepreneur, you need to win over investors, clients and teammates. But we often paint a rosier picture than we should, leading to aggressive goals," he says. "Do not try to impress various stakeholders with unnecessarily optimistic goals. Learn to say 'no,' which will make it much easier to keep your personal goals realistic."
Cherish the small goals on the way to the big one.
"Most people set one big goal, but fail to see the importance of the small steps taken to reach it," says Andy Karuza, founder of wireless parking sensor and app FenSens. But being appreciative of the small wins along the way will keep you and your team moving toward the finish line.
"Embrace the small wins on your way to the big goal. These wins can give you positive affirmation and motivate your team members. A goal too high or too far out isn't as appealing as realizing the day-to-day progress that gets you there," he says.