Did you complete a startup planning process before you launched your business? Startup planning is very important, even if what you have is just a short list or chart based on your general goals. You need to be able to see where your company will be after at least the first year. And you need to see clearly how you’re going to get there. Your startup planning is all about how to build up during this first year so that you have a strong young company that is learning to stand on its own and hold its own.
Why You Need Startup Planning Goals
Building a startup is no easy task, as any entrepreneur knows. As an entrepreneur, you have to have those goals because this is what keeps you focused. Your goals are your concrete achievables that remind you where you are now and tell you what you need to do. They give you a sense of the distance you need to travel and the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be.
We all want to see past the first, rough, year and focus on the grand time when our business is shining bright. This usually doesn’t happen until year five or six, and it can be even longer than that. There is no better feeling than imagining your business thriving, having grown into the magnificent beast that you always dreamed it would be. But these are just dreams and will never be more than that if there are no solid steps taken.
If you want to reach these golden years, you need to keep your nose to the grindstone in year one. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of determined steps to go the distance. You need solid startup planning to know when and where to place the next building block – and even what to make them out of in the first place. If you don’t know these things well enough to make confident decisions for your business, the results can be disastrous. The concrete goals that you create during startup planning are what will bring you close to realizing your dreams, one solid step at a time.
Where Do I Start?
Do you want to cover X percentage of your startup costs in the first quarter? Do you want to pull in X amount of sales in the fourth? You need to get more detailed with your startup planning to get on track. Your one-year vision will guide you as you plan to structure your business in that first year. Now it’s time to take that vision and draw from it the blocks that will build it out as each quarter unfolds.
Take out your one-year vision statement and set it prominently in front of you. Read through it a few times, remembering what you were aiming for when you went through the process of creating it. This is where you will gather inspiration for this expanded startup planning session. The stuff of your vision is what will guide you in identifying a few specific goals that you should set for each quarter of the year ahead.
How to Create Your Quarterly Goals
Do you need help outlining your startup plan? Below you’ll find a simple template that you can use to translate your vision into more concrete goals. You can download it here and print it out for convenience. Following the chart is a guide to give you some idea of how to use this template to translate your vision into your startup planning goals.
You can more easily visualize your startup planning goals and turn your vision into action if you expand your startup planning to include quarterly achievables. This gives you more concrete milestones that you can prepare for and check off as each quarter ends.
Your Vision into Points
If you are working with a founding partner, talk about who is best suited to take the lead on this exercise. When you have a draft ready, go over it together to bounce ideas off of one another. This is one great advantage of having a partner because it helps you to see a different perspective. You can avoid negative conflict by designating a lead and come up with a better overall plan by having the co-founder evaluate it.
If you haven’t printed out your Startup Planning Quarterly Goals Template, you can do that now. Set it in front of you, next to your vision statement. Take the essence of your vision and create bullet points of what it represents. The bullet points should reflect the concrete elements of your vision that you are committed to making a reality. Put these action points for your first year into the top row of your template.
4 Big Goals
The purpose of distilling your vision into bullet points is to prepare for creating your main goals for the year. In this step, you will prioritize what you want to achieve in your first year. Then you will write them out as your goals for the first up to the fourth quarter. As you prioritize, think about what is best to work on for your business as well as what you can realistically devote yourself to during each quarter. Your business stability should be a top concern, but you need to also consider what you can honestly achieve.
You might have current commitments or have anticipated concerns during these periods. You will have to seriously think about them before you jump in. My advice to you at this point is not to worry about them, but consider your options. For instance, you might be worried about your time commitment because you have a lot on your plate. This is a very common concern among entrepreneurs!
Don’t give up your important goals because you fear you are stretching yourself too thin. Consider delegating some of the tasks you are doing to your team. If you don’t have a team at this early stage, you still have options. One feasible solution that many business owners have found very efficient is to hire a virtual assistant on an hourly basis to take on those odd tasks or the hum-drum daily stuff that bogs you down. Your business may not have the resources to take on employees at this time, and this is why hiring a freelancer for only the hours you need is a huge benefit. A platform like FreeeUp can help you find the right remote freelancer for your needs without making a huge commitment.
When you have set your goals, enter them into their spots on your template. The next step is where we get into the exciting part of startup planning – getting ready to take action!
Your goals are all written down and you have made the commitment to work on them. Now it’s time to define the action steps that you will take during each quarter. These action steps are the achievables that you can tick off as you go along. When you compose them, focus on not what you can do but what you are going to do to reach your quarter milestones.
If you have a partner with whom you have divvied up the startup workload, include in your action steps who will take the lead on each effort. You should have three well-defined action steps for each goal at the end of your process.
Milestones and Final Assessment
You are going to leave these portions blank for now, to fill in as you go along. As you take your action steps during each quarter, make a quick note of the milestones that you achieved. This will give you encouragement as well as help you see where you can improve moving forward.
In connection, another good startup planning session to conduct quarterly is on goal and action assessment. When you do this separate assessment of how your action steps went and what your goals achieved for your business, you can use your milestones as agenda points. This quarterly assessment session is also a great way to see how you can make adjustments for how you take your nest set of action steps.
Your Startup Planning Quarterly Goals
Give yourself a pat on the back! Setting your quarterly goals and action steps is a solid achievement in itself. You have made a great stride towards pushing your business forward. Now go hang your filled-out Startup Planning Quarterly Goals in a prominent place of honor. You should see them every day and make a mantra of them. Read out those goals to yourself as you begin each day – these are your goals, this is what you wake up for!
Done with this planning stage? It may be time to start planning a set of monthly goals to really get and keep you on target.