Why most business goals aren’t achieved and what you can do about it

I’ve been helping business owners to set and achieve their business goals for over 7 years and seen some amazing success along the way. 

Although every business is unique, I’ve noticed that there are a few common reasons most business owners struggle to achieve (and sometimes even set) meaningful business goals.

I’ve done some research and various sources claim that up to 90% of businesses fail to reach strategic goals! Why is this statistic so bleak? 

In this article, I’ve broken down the reasons why most business goals aren’t achieved and also, what you can do to fix this. 

You are likely a Visionary

Most business owners are Visionaries which means they get fired up by turning their ideas into a future vision. However, they may not always clearly see the path towards it or want to be involved in the minutiae of implementing that plan. 

You can see how this innate quality can make setting and achieving business goals difficult. I’ve seen time and time again the business owner who struggles to stay focussed; often starting many different projects at once but only completing a few.

Are you a Visionary

 

What you can do to fix this

Hire a Pragmatist, an Integrator, a Director of Operations (whatever term floats your boat!). This is someone who works strategically with the business owner to ensure they stay the course. Someone to keep them in line and moving in the right direction.

They have the innate skill set to help set SMART goals for the business and coordinates the projects, team, processes and measurables that help guide the business and owner to achieve those goals. 

You aren’t measuring and reviewing the goals REGULARLY

One of the key components of successful goal setting is ensuring the goal is measurable. How will you know the goal has been achieved?

And how will you know if you are on track to achieve the goal if you aren’t reviewing the measurables regularly? Plainly and simply, you can’t know. 

I often see that a business owner sets goals at the start of the year with all the best intentions but then they don’t review and reflect on progress on a regular basis. The day-to-day running of the business gets in the way and time isn’t proactively set aside for these strategic reviews.

 

What you can do to fix this

Measurable goals are the hardest as we often take that to mean it has to have a number attached to it, however, a goal is measurable when there is a clear outcome that means the goal has been obtained.

 

Set measurable goals. Here is a good example:

Goal 1: Create and launch a scalable offer

Goal 2: Create a scalable offer and secure 3 sales during the first launch

 

Goal 1 could be achieved by ticking some tasks off as complete. Goal 2, however, has a clear outcome “3 sales” that means the goal has been obtained. Goal 2 will surely move the needle for growing the business. 

Once the measurable goals are set, then you need to review the measurables regularly. I suggest a quick check monthly with an in-depth goals review every quarter. Set the time aside in the diary at the start with recurring meetings and include relevant team members who will be actively participating in the projects and tasks required to complete the goals.

 

KPI Dashboard and some pencils

 

You are setting unrealistic goals

9 times out of 10 I see business owners so fired up about their vision that they set unrealistic goals. They could be unrealistic due to lack of time or lack of resources or it could be that there wasn’t data to back up the goal so the bar was set too high.

As business owners we tend to underestimate the time it takes ourselves and the team to complete a project. Or the projects and tasks may not be planned and scheduled in with existing workload commitments.

Other times, we don’t sense check a goal based on existing data. Going back to the previous goal example, a business owner may arbitrarily set the goal to 3 sales. But is that realistic based on sales data from previous launches, conversion rate data, etc?

 

What you can do to fix this

Break down each goal into specific projects and associated tasks. Assign ownership to each and a time estimate for how long it will take. An important point to note is to include the team members who have responsibilities for the projects and tasks to find out how long it will take them.

Once that’s done, it should be easier to see if there is a lack of time and/or resource that would make that goal unrealistic to achieve.

Then the projects and tasks need to be scheduled in the calendar(s) taking into consideration other commitments such as client delivery time. It may be that you only have 6 hours per week that you can dedicate to project work, so there is no point in setting a goal that will require 8 hrs per week of project work.

My business buddies, Andrew and Pete, have an amazing free download called The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Project Planner (To Smash Goals Quicker). Check it out here

Finally, look through the data available to you. Crunch some numbers to sense check that the goal is realistic. 

The goals don’t support the business’s focus or vision.

You will remember from Point 1 that you are likely a Visionary. Well, a Visionary has so many ideas that they may get distracted by the “shiny stuff” that doesn’t fit with the business’ focus. 

This often means that when it comes to setting goals for your business, you create “shiny stuff” goals that look amazing on paper but aren’t actually aligned to your Core Focus or Vision and won’t actually move the needle towards achieving that Vision.

A Visionary has so many ideas that they may get distracted by the “shiny stuff” that doesn’t fit with the business’ focus.

 

What you can do to fix this

Your goal setting and planning should always start with the Vision (A vision paints a clear picture of what you want your business to be based on your goals and aspirations.) - in order to make good decisions, you must be clear on your direction. It ensures everyone is on the same page and mitigates any disconnects.

Once your Vision is clear, always have these two questions in your mind when validating the goals:

 

  1. Why does your business exist and who for? 
  2. What are we better at than anyone else in the world?

 

If the goal(s) isn’t in alignment with the answer to these questions, it doesn’t support your Core Focus.

I’ve written more about setting your Vision, Core Focus and Planning in my blog about the Scaling Success Ecosystem under “Planning”.

 

What now?

I’m sure after reading this article you can see why you’re not achieving your business goals. Hopefully, now you have some guidance on what you can do to fix this.

If you need some more tailored advice on how to set and achieve your business goals then book a call with me here

 

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Pragmatic BFF

The Email Newsletter for ambitious and visionary entrepreneurs, who need a down-to-earth best friend. Sign up to get fortnightly, actionable insider advice and tips delivered straight into your inbox. Designed to help you successfully scale with sanity and focus. Always keeping it simple, created to make sure you avoid common scaling mistakes, and it’s FREE.

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