The three main mistakes founders make when setting business goals

Objectives can make or break a business - here’s how to make sure you don’t set off on the wrong foot this year

The three main mistakes founders make when setting business goals

Objectives can make or break a business – here’s how to make sure you don’t set off on the wrong foot this year

With January in full swing and the new financial year fast approaching, now is a great time for founders to reflect on their company’s progress throughout 2022, and set new goals for the rest of the year. Accurate and clear-cut objectives are a constructive way for founders to promote company-wide accountability and preparation for the years ahead. 

During the years I’ve spent evaluating the effectiveness of Laundryheap’s annual objectives, I’ve discovered which tactics to avoid in order to see better performance across the board. Here are the main mistakes founders make when evaluating their business objectives for the year: 

Setting ego-based goals

Founders will often fall victim to setting goals that are guided by personal preferences and targets – especially if their business is showing early signs of success. These goals can end up being too self-serving or too ambitious – and whilst they may make for a great Linkedin post at the end of the year, they’re often unattainable and ineffective.  

When it comes to establishing business goals, it’s important to get the right balance between ambition and realism. Whilst it’s good to have stretch goals and punchy objectives, these targets should be truly meaningful for the whole business, not just amplify your brand caché or attract column inches for your spokespeople. If these goals aren’t motivated by the right things, they could send you off on distracting tangents. 

Not involving the wider team

It can be easy to get carried away by your vision for the company, but make sure to ground these ideas and create goals everyone can get behind by having discussions with your whole team. Figure out the trajectories of your internal departments, and slot them into your ‘bigger picture’ objectives. Failure to properly integrate your team’s efforts into overarching objectives can lead to lower levels of engagement and motivation – especially if your employees don’t feel like they’ve been considered or consulted as part of the wider plan. 

Not planning for all eventualities 

It’s common practice for businesses to have a backup plan in case they fall short on their projected KPIs, but what about planning for unexpected momentum? Not accounting for success can be just as bad as not accounting for failure – you should be ready to capitalise on all eventualities at a moment’s notice. In the event that your business smashes its objectives ahead of projected timelines, you need to have a set of next steps and objectives in your locker. If you don’t, you’ll end up scrambling for a new strategy. 

For example, at the height of the pandemic, myself and the rest of our Laundryheap team were taken aback by the incredible 300% spike in demand for our cleaning services, as hotels, restaurants, and bars all used our platform to drive up hygiene standards and reassure customers. Whilst we hadn’t planned to reach this level of demand so quickly, our well-established logistics and on-demand infrastructure enabled us to immediately scale up operations in response to this growing demand – and really make the most of the new market opportunities. 

Whilst there are many more factors to consider when setting your company’s main objectives for the year, these are the three mistakes that can really make or break your ability to achieve them. Make sure that your objectives aren’t artificial or self-serving; that every team member feels bought into your company mission; and that you don’t underestimate your potential for success.

Deyan Dimitrov
Deyan Dimitrov

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