Setting goals and keeping them can be difficult when you have several things happening in life. Staying productive and efficient is it’s own goal.
Recently, I experienced a business partnership that moved at the pace of the turtle and had the mindset of the hare. There was all thinking and theory, but no bull’s eye. There was an abstract conceptualization of what was desired of the business but no concrete initiative or goals.
It is my stance in business partnerships that I particpate in (not iniatiate) to allow the entreprenuer to make their own mistakes, lead the way, and set the pace. I rarely shift gears, get in the way; I am there to assist in my department of expertise: design communication. I don’t get into the dealings of the business, and rarely make suggestions as to what direction a business should go in. It’s never my place, and there is a general understanding that I’ve become involved strictly for my marketing, design, or content creation knowledge.
This stance has given me a good vantage point to assess what needs to be prioritized to move a business forward. I’ve gotten involved with startups and small businesses at various levels to see what works, and what is bound to flop. I’ve started my own endeavors a few times that I’ve learned what has value and what hinders the growth of a business.
One of the main things restricting growth is not setting clear goals — or not keeping your eye on those goals. It can become easy to move the goalpost, postpone goals, or ignore them altogether, especially when things are unclear at the onset of a business. But moving forward is key to clearing the weeds and painting a better picture.
So a course was fixed and the race started. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the finish line and could not run up in time to save the race.
— The Hare and the Tortoise
Typically, the moral of the story is slow and steady wins the race. This is true in many cases. When patiently moving forward into a project or business, you can perfectly assess the situation over and over again if your pace exercises a degree of movement which allows you to gain perspective as you progress. This approach gives you an advantage if your goal isn’t clearly defined, because it allows for pivoting and change. It keeps you focused on moving forward — wherever forward is.
It is my belief that giving yourself the legs of a rabbit with the shell of a turtle is a bright approach to diving into any endeavor. What the hell does this mean?
Have the ability to sprint, while bearing the weight of your responsibilities — keeping the mind of the tortoise: focused, humble, and patient — but adopting the physical attributes of the hare: active, quick, and able to strike first.
Bearing the weight comes in the form of creating a strong plan, a North Star to focus on and always be pursuing. Don’t allow your goal or mission to be vague — make it as specific as possible and always be pointed toward it. This goes for personal goals and business goals — your personal life must adjust to making your business goals a reality. It’s easy to lose focus when you’re misaligned personally.
A little sleep, a little slumber, folding of the hands to rest,and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man
— Holy Bible, Book of Proverbs
Everything you do must align with making your goals a reality. Your business is not separate from you, your business is you and your lifestyle: you are the tortoise and the hare, choose wisely which you’ll be from day to day or week to week.
When setting your business goals, make sure you realign your personal goals. A business you start is recommended to be something your incredibly passionate about, don’t settle for doing something that won’t fulfill you, you’re already stepping in the wrong direction if your goal is solely to make money or “be the best marketing agency in the area” — let your goal be real, measurable and clear.
You’re a marketing agency? Set a goal to excel at brand awareness or find a niche you’re equally interested in such as non-profits and measure their performance based on your campaigns.
Creating specific goals marks a well-defined finish line that keeps you crawling at whatever pace you desire, but remember to be more like the tortoise than the hare: focused, patient and always aware of the goal line.