Below is an excerpt from our book Startups Made Simple: How to Start, Grow and Systemize Your Dream Business. Learn more about the book here.
Very closely related to Clear Vision is how you will reverse engineer your Vision into Clear Goals, concrete action steps that need to be taken to turn that Vision into reality. This is where most visionaries drop the ball and remain in the thinking part, not the doing part.
In a well-run company, not only is there usually one big, obvious goal (called a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” or BHAG®️ made famous in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins), but you should have realistic (but aggressive) yearly and quarterly goals that you’re looking to accomplish that moves your company forward to that big goal. Each employee should have an individual goal and that’s usually (but not always) tied to the company goal.
For example, let’s say my Vision was to build the next “LinkedIn for Businesses” platform and my BHAG was to have 1 million businesses on my platform by 2029. Here’s how I might quickly brainstorm and reverse engineer the steps to make that goal. Note that these are just wild guesses and things will change each year or even quarter.
Based on that very rough list of possible goals to get to our BHAG, you can close in on the likely goals you’ll need for the next year or so and then further break down those goals by quarter. So you’ve taken a long term vision and now have a solid sense of what needs to get done in the next year. Now break down what needs to happen this year by quarters, make them measurable and assign them to a responsible person (likely yourself at first).
The important thing is to have the vision and general roadmap to getting there and adjust along the way. With this example, I know I need to get working on the specs and design for my website right away. Finally, assigning deadlines (even if those are guesses) to your goals is a very effective way to encourage their completion and add a sense of urgency to getting them done.
A frequent question I get is, “When am I supposed to find the time to work on goals while I’m busy working in my business?” The obvious answer is that building your business should already be based on clear goals, but if not, then you should make a roadmap like I’ve listed above. As I discuss in the section on the superpower of Productivity, there is Real Work and there is Process Work. Process Work is the stuff you do daily to provide your product or service. Real Work is working on Goals and things that move the company forward.
If your vision and BHAG are big, then realize you’ll never get there doing the Process Work all day. I recommend you brainstorm goals yearly and assign goals each quarter to individuals and make sure they are measurable. We’ll go into more specifics about creating a plan for your company in later chapters, especially Step 5.
This was an excerpt from our book Startups Made Simple: How to Start, Grow and Systemize Your Dream Business. Learn more about the book here or see our previous excerpts here.
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