4 Business Goal Errors Goals to Avoid

Allan Caeg Set Goals Leave a Comment

4 Business Goal Errors to AvoidWhat are you pursuing these days? Does your team agree? To rally others and yourself towards a milestone, the goal has to be compelling.

Plans are great, but they also have to be done right. Entrepreneurs with goals are better off than those without. Entrepreneurs with the right goals are far better than those on a fool’s errand.

Here are 4 examples of common errors.

1. Vanity Metric: “Acquire 20% more traffic” when the problem is retention

It’s good to have numbers that go up, but they also have to be relevant to the big picture. For example, a high volume of sign ups is always a good thing, but that’s not the entire story. If you publish it as a headline metric, your users better be staying.

The only metrics that entrepreneurs should invest energy in collecting are those that help them make decisions. Unfortunately, the majority of data available in off-the-shelf analytics packages are what I call Vanity Metrics. They might make you feel good, but they don’t offer clear guidance for what to do. – Eric Ries, Lean Startup

2. Activity, not Result: “Exhibit at 3 trade shows” when there’s no Product/Market Fit

Lag Measures – The measurement of a result you are trying to achieve. We call them lag measures
because by the time you get the data the result has already happened; they are always lagging.
Lead Measures – Foretell the result. They are predictive and influenceable.

From The 4 Disciplines of Execution

While your day to day work should be based on your projects, don’t confuse them with goals. Unless an activity is of inherent value, like the joy of producing art, you have to focus on outcomes. An artist might paint for its recreational value alone, but business is different. If your livelihood depends on something, the end result has to be a favorable activity by customers.

Attending trade shows is a typical business activity, sure. However, it’s not for everyone. If you have no product that’s ready to be unwrapped, there are far better uses of your time.

3. Ambiguous: “We’ll be a great photo sharing app” where each cofounder has their own definition of “great”

You should be able to score goals. If the stated success criteria is up to personal interpretation, you have no goal.

The finish line has to be a specific, measurable moment. It’s best if you can even connect it to your analytics tool, so the rules are purely objective.

4. Too Much for Too Little Time: “From zero to $200k in 30 days” when it’s unreasonable

It’s great to aim high, but being too unrealistic gets frustrating. Take Google’s advice:

The “sweet spot” for an OKR grade is 60% – 70%; if someone consistently fully attains their objectives, their OKRs aren’t ambitious enough and they need to think bigger – Google Re:Work

While aiming low is a problem, we have to find the the sweet spot. Cracking the whip towards an unreasonable number causes burn out.

You want your team to keep chugging forward and celebrate whenever it’s deserved.


Do these sound familiar?

The next time you’re bringing your team together, address these 4 concerns. This will boost your own conviction for the plan and increase your team’s commitment.

The most important outcome? It’s rallying your team to a worthy milestone.

NOTE: Looking to set your business growth goal? Follow this free guide

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