5 Signs That Set Yourself for Failure
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
How will you grow your business from $100,000 per year to $100,000 per month? How will you scale from 10 employees to 100 employees? How will you propel your business forward? My partners and I at Press Hunt are creating an incentivized roadmap to hit $1m/ARR from $5k/MRR in 12 months, and I’m going to share it bi-monthly in my column in order to illustrate the lessons we’re learning and provide the tactics we’re implementing. And this goal will be our primary driver.
Goals are like rocket fuel for your business. They help you envision a future where your business accomplishes more and help usher that future into reality. As Norman Vincent Peale once said, “All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”
But if there’s one thing New Year’s resolutions have taught us, it’s that not all goals are created equal. Some succeed. Most fail. And to help you avoid falling short of yours, here are five symptoms that indicate you’re doing it wrong.
1. The math doesn’t make any sense.
You’re an entrepreneur. You depend on quick-fire decisions, intense moments of passion and an unerring faith in yourself and your business. Goal-setting can be an exciting experience that triggers all your optimistic tendencies. That’s good! You should be optimistic. But you should also temper that optimism with a bit of realism.
Javier Sim, the co-founder of Bithumb Global — a company that has repeatedly ranked as one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges globally — offers this advice: “When setting goals for business, entrepreneurs should work the math backward. What is a reasonable target to aim for? What would be exciting to hit? And what is most likely possible? Factor in the timeline and the goal itself and honestly ask yourself, ‘Is this realistic or are we setting ourselves up for defeat?’”
2. You don’t know what actions will drive success.
If you look at your goals, get excited and then wonder how the heck you’re going to achieve it, you may have set yourself up for failure. After all, every goal needs a gameplan, just like every computer needs a hard drive. You’ll never hit any goals if you don’t have a clear and adaptable strategy for reaching them. The more aggressive the goal, the truer it will be.
I believe this is one of the biggest hindrances for entrepreneurs not accomplishing their goals. There’s no roadmap, you have no boss, no course to success, and not knowing what success looks like can lead to a paralysis of action. My biggest piece of advice here is to listen to entrepreneurs that you respect. Go read their content, listen to their interviews. This will help you understand some of the problems they faced and offer tips on how to accomplish the big goals. This is the entire reason I created my video show on Entrepreneur, to help other entrepreneurs see the path successful businesspeople have gone through to achieve success. One of my favorite interviews I did so far was with the late, great Nipsey Hussle. You can check it out here.
3. You don’t have an accountability plan.
Commitment is obvious, and we’ll touch on writing your goals down in the next point, but accountability? How does that work? Well, there’s no reason to set goals in a vacuum. When we set goals for our business, we write it down, we make sure all team members have easy access to it, and we tell everyone we can. I think it’s that unified effort that makes the goal achievable. Tell your friends about your goals, tell your business partner, your teammates, your coworkers, your employees and your family. The more people who know, the higher chance you have of success.
4. You haven’t put your goals in writing.
Something magic happens when you put your goals in writing. Maybe it’s because the goal becomes more permanent, maybe it’s because we perceive ourselves as having committed entirely to the goal, or maybe it is magic. Whatever the case, according to research conducted by Dominican University of California psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, people who write down their goals are 33 percent more successful at accomplishing them than those who just envision the goal in their heads.
It’s an easy thing to do and it gives you a better chance of success, so write down your goals and put them where you and your teammates can see them every day. That’ll give everyone accountability and make the commitment a whole lot more tangible.
5. The goal is arbitrary or meaningless.
Do you want to hit 5,000 users? Awesome! But why? Do you want to reach $100,000 per month? Cool! But why? Why did you set that goal? It might seem like a silly question, but it’s perhaps the most vital question to help determine how successful you and your team will be at meeting your goals. Why do you want to accomplish that goal? You must answer that question for yourself, and you must answer it for each team member. Or rather, they must answer it for themselves. If they don’t, then when the going gets tough (and it always gets tough), people are going to slack.
People aren’t inherently lazy. Some simply have weak goals, or rather, their goals do not inspire them. Uninspiring goals are perhaps the number-one killer of an entrepreneur’s vision for the future. A goal can be big and awesome and neat, but still uninspiring. You must answer why you want to accomplish a goal before you can truly commit to accomplishing it, and then you must ensure that the “why” behind your goal inspires you first and foremost, and then everyone at your company.