Any business owner will tell you, that having goals is what ensures your business is on the right track and going where you want it to go. Our minds are like heat seeking missiles. When we are working towards something, knowing what the end goal ensures we’re on the right track to achieving it. Do you have goals for your business? How are you tracking those?

Setting goals to ensure your business is on track

Any business owner will tell you, that having goals is what ensures your business is on the right track and going where you want it to go.

Our minds are like heat seeking missiles. When we are working towards something, knowing what the end goal ensures we’re on the right track to achieving it.

 Do you have goals for your business? How are you tracking those? 

As your business grows, you want to make sure that any tasks that you're doing are aligned with the goals that you've set for the business.

Using the right tools, and setting them up properly, can ensure that as your business works through the different projects, you are tracking your goal completion.

Defining projects and goals

Goals can be based on a time period, for example, Q1 or Q2, or just a general time period, past six months or the next six months.

Goals can also be set based on different teams. You could have marketing goals, sales goals etc etc.

You can also, of course, define goals as a general business goal. I want to grow by X percent or I want to reach a certain income level. 

There are many ways to define goals and there's no one right way.

A screenshot of sana Team objective projects

You probably have goals in different aspects of your business that are time based or department based, financial based, or just general business development goals. 

All those goals are great.

Here’s an example:

In sales, you can say, for example, my goal is to sell three a month over a three month period. That's nine over a three month period. You want to check that you've succeeded in selling nine services or products. 

You could also say over a rolling three month period, and it doesn't have to be specifically starting Q1 or Q2 or Q3.

Other goals can be:

I want to see X percent of conversion. 

Make $10K a month. 

There is no one right way to set goals. But do yourself a favor… Set your goals high.

Set goals that are a little bit higher and out of reach and that you really don't think that you can reach them. 

You know why? 

Because when you dream big, amazing things happen. 

When you dream small, then you're only gonna reach up to that point. You're not going to surpass it by a lot (if at all).

So always aim high with your goals.

Set up system to track your goals 

Once you have defined what your goals are, the next step is to define the different tasks that will get you to the goal.

Defining the different tasks enables tracking them, and thus checking what the completion rate of the goal is. 

Let’s look at how we can set up our workflows to support achieving these goals.

Say you want to launch two courses in 2024. 

How are you going to track each launch and how are you going to track the goal as a whole?

Create a task called launch course A and another called launch course B.

But launching a course is made up of so many other tasks... 

👉 Write the course

👉 Record the course

👉 Write the sales copy for the course

👉 Write the landing page for the course

👉 Write the email sequence for delivery of the course

And so many more tasks….ending with the final task of “launch course”.

So what are you tracking in the goal? 

If we only wait for that task of “launch course” to be complete, the goal is going to be set to zero for a really long time. 

That's not what you want. It’s not going to give you an accurate picture of how far along the goal completion is. It’s only going to give you a 50% completion when you launch course 1 and a 100% completion when you launch course 2.

The solution is to group the tasks required for each goal into projects.

A screenshot of Asana milestones in goals

But as you’ve probably seen in your own projects, “it is doubtful whether project planners can foresee all the activities at the beginning of the project” (Andersen, Erling S., 2006).

It’s really hard to foresee every single task we’re going to want to perform in order to complete a project.  That’s why it’s good to use milestones.

Defining milestones

Instead of having just one task being tracked in the goal, set milestones in your projects.

A milestone is a task that we define as a checkpoint. 

We've reached this point in the project, and that’s an accomplishment we want to track.

We want to have multiple checkpoints throughout a project so that we can see progress on the goal. 

In our course launch example, 

👉 writing the sales copy for the course landing page. 

That's a huge task that makes up part of launching a course.

This task can be made up of multiple subtasks:

⬜️ contracting the copywriter 

⬜️ defining the benefits 

⬜️ defining the features 

⬜️ defining the elements on the page

⬜️ collecting all of the assets. (brand guide, testimonials, etc.)

⬜️ sharing the assets with the copywriter

⬜️ writing the page

⬜️ reviewing it the page 

⬜️ giving feedback on the page

⬜️ incorporating the feedback  

✅ sales page copy complete (⬅️ this is a milestone task)

These are all subtasks. 

And the main task or the milestone task that you want to set at the bottom of that is sales page copy complete. 

Add the milestone task to your goal. When this task is complete, the goal percentage will go up.

If you have 5 milestone tasks in each course, and you have two courses, completing a milestone task will increase the goal completion by 10%.

As milestone tasks are complete, you'll see a percentage of the goal move ahead every single time.

Using sub-goals

Most businesses have more than one goal.

You can have a goal to launch 2 courses, as we mentioned. And in addition, you may have a business goal to have 10 digital products, and the courses are just two of these products.. 

But you also want a community, and you also want to have various lead magnets, or various downloadable digital products that you want to sell. 

Using sub-goals means you can track different goals separately, and then combine all sub-goals into one big goal.

For example, if you have a financial goal, that's to reach $10K and you know that in order to do that, you have to make X number of sales in your one to one services and X number of sales in your course and X number of sales in your community, all of those are smaller goals that will then combine to create one.

How can tech help?

There are many tools that can help you track your goals.

Project management tools  such as Asana and ClickUp enable you to create projects and define goals, and then assign different tasks to show the completion of the goals.. 

Do you need the tools? Not necessarily. 

Are they useful? Very. 

Are they worth the investment? Absolutely.

But at the end of the day, it really depends on the size of your company and the complexity of your goals.

A solo business probably doesn’t have the need to use fancy tools.

But a larger business, one that has many employees, and many goals, will benefit greatly from setting up the right project management structure to track goal completion.

Is using milestones better than using sub-goals?

If you ask me, there's no one right way to set this up. 

Each project can be a goal, or a goal can be made up of multiple projects. 

There's so many ways that you can create goals and define them so that they're right for your business. 

The differences between projects, sub-goals, and goals is a question of hierarchy and permissions.

The bigger your company is, the more structure and hierarchy you will probably need. 

Not every employee or manager needs access to every project, especially at the executive levels.

But executives do want to see the overall progression of projects and company goals. 

a cartoon octopus (Squidward) saying I didnt need to see that.

Your job is to find what's taking your business to where you want it to go so that you're reaching all those goals that you've defined.

And like I said before, dream big and don't just plan goals for the next year. 

Plan goals for the next five years.

Plan goals for the next ten years. 

Because what you're doing today is going to affect what your business looks like in five and ten years.