I’ve no doubt that the aims I set for myself at the beginning of my business career have played a big role in helping me to build a successful international company, so I’m well aware of the importance of having goals.
Setting clear objectives can make the difference between success and failure, and is something that all entrepreneurs should take seriously. Here are three rules that I believe all business people should know about goal setting.
1. Your goals must really mean something to you
“You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and you’re excited for the day? That’s one of my main goals in life.” – Kirsten Dunst
Don’t let other people define what your goals in business, or in life, should be. To have the power to motivate you day after day, your aims have to be things that really matter to you on a personal level.
For example, while some people prioritise money and security for themselves and their families, others put creativity first. For some, having the flexibility to enjoy more time with family is the most important thing.
When you’re setting your objectives, have a careful think about what you actually want to get from your experiences as an entrepreneur.
2. Have clear goals from the outset
“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose. Somehow we always win out.” – Ronald Reagan
It’s a good idea to have a clear set of measurable and achievable goals from the very start of your business journey. Your objectives can serve as a framework for measuring your progress and, as long as they’re clear and specific, they should give you added focus and a greater sense of direction and purpose.
General aims, like making a success of your company, are fine, but it’s important to break these down into more specific targets. For example, you might decide you want your business to achieve a certain amount of profit within the first year.
3. Big victories don’t usually come easily
“The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.” – Michael Jordan
It can be tempting to think that many high-profile entrepreneurs achieved their success overnight, propelling themselves from obscurity to the spotlight at breakneck speed.
In reality though, the vast majority of renowned entrepreneurs have worked extremely hard for long periods of time to reach the top, often overcoming major obstacles along the way. Like them, if you want to achieve your greatest goals, you have to be prepared to persevere.
This dogged approach to doing business can be summed up by my company motto ‘Be something more’, which is about always striving for excellence and making an effort to be the best you possibly can. When things get tough, don’t give in. By overcoming any problems you face, you can make yourself a stronger, better entrepreneur.
Chris Niarchos is founder and chairman of The Cobra Group of Companies, which specialises in incubating, developing and managing a diverse portfolio of start-up enterprises and successful companies.