The importance of setting goals for a beginner

There is a lot of value to be found in setting goals. As a beginner it is critically important because it sets the pace of your progress, sets you apart from your peers and defines the boundaries of your activities.

Do you have dreams

Everything that has been created on this earth started as a dream. It may have been a streak of wide imagination or it may have been a deliberate design. But it was a dream in someone’s head.

Pieter du Preez said “set a date and it becomes a goal, otherwise it remains a dream.

So you are hear with a dream of building a successful online business. And you desire to turn the dream into reality.

Have you set your goals yet?

As I assist many beginners with the goals that they set, I always notice a tendency for some to set intentions rather than quantifiable goals. These are some of the common intentions.

  • to quit a job,
  • to buy a house
  • to be independent
  • to pay college fees
  • to spend as much time as needed
  • to make enough money

All of these are very noble and specific intentions and end results. They cover the why one is doing what they are doing. This is important. This type of goal has a tendency to be a moving target, as circumstances and change over time.

The theory of relative importance

One of my greatest bosses ever, Roy Steiner, a former McKinsey consultant used to make us play strategy games at team building functions. One that I recall vividly from two decades ago is that of a construction game.

The Challenge

In teams of about 8 people and a couple of wooden pieces we got instructions on the sequence of how to construct the end product and how many people can handle pieces at a time. We were told that the goal was to assemble the product 20 minutes.

So we discussed and worked out how to it, who does what and at what point and began the exercise. At around 16 minutes the first group had finished. At 18 minutes the second finished, same at 19th and 20th minute. One group only finished late at 23 minutes as they had group dynamic challenges to deal with.


newspaper newsflash on setting new goalsThen Roy announced a news flash. There is a Japanese competitor who have managed to do the assembly of the same product in 10 minutes. Therefore they have been gain ground on our market share. So we have to improve or we will lose this business.

So the revised goal was to do the assembly in 10 minutes at the very least in order to remain competitive.

So we huddled and revised our approach. We got rid of some necessary steps and hit the ground running. At 7 minutes the first group had finished. Next groups came in at 8 minutes, then 8.5 minutes and 9 minutes. The last group came in at 11 minutes. That was amazing. Two factors had come into play. First of all was the fact that we had learnt a lot of the rules and processes in the first run so things were quicker. Secondly and more importantly we had a new target. A new goal to beat out competitor’s time.

Continuous Improvement

Roy continued with the newsflashes about our competitor automating some tasks and so forth until the time to produce the product was down to 30 seconds. Only one group managed to do it in 25 seconds but the rest of us came in under 60seconds. It was a whole universe away from the original 20minutes. So we could produce 20 items in the time we produced one before.

The Power of setting goals

This is the power of setting goals, specific goals. Even ambitious goals. It tests the human spirit to surpass itself at every endeavour. Think off the Olympic world records. They are broken almost at  every next time they are held. Why, because there is a specific performance to achieve and a time to beat.

You should do the same with your business. Just because you are doing well does not mean you are doing your best. Always strive to do better, re-look at what you are doing and find areas of improvement. Do this before your business is disrupted by others who come and do your niche better than you do.

Set your goals

So I do encourage especially those starting out, to work out the quantity of their goals and write them down. You will not be disappointed by what follows. So set your targets and take aim for the bulls eye!

I always advise that one should quantify the goal. Broken down as follows.

  • to quit a job :-
    how much is the income required to replace your current income? The goal is $20k or $100k
    by when do you want to quit your job
  • to buy a house :-
    on target in setting goalshow much does the house cost together with the taxes and other costs?
    by when do you want the house bought?
  • to be independent :-
    how much is the income required to sustain you without needing any assistance or having to work?
    by when do you want to achieve this?
  • to pay college fees :-
    how much does the the college cost, per year or specific period desired?
    by when are the fees due?
  • to spend as much time as needed :-
    how much time do you have free to do this? Usually a minimum amount of time that can be allocated to the task.
    How often can you spare this time? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
  • to make enough money :-
    how much is enough?
    Enough for what?

Why you should track the progress of your goals

Once you have set your goals, you now have to track your progress towards achieving them. Just like a budget that has estimates and actuals, goals need tracking in order for one to evaluate progress and determine success.

Find somewhere where you can record your goals. In addition it would be useful for you to record progress against the goals. This is helpful in the process of revising and updating goals to make sure that they are relevant and current. As illustrated in the strategy game above, as you revise your goals you can better your performance to your own benefit.


Kindly share your goals for your online business in the comment section below.




  1. Hi there! I just finished reading your article about setting goals and I just wanted to drop you a few lines to say thanks. I found this article quite inspiring and I can relate to a lot of what you said here.

    Some time ago I realized that I really wanted to set up an online business. I also realized that without the right funding I wouldn’t last too long! So my goal in the beginning was simply to make enough money in the first year, so that I could continue and hopefully make more profit in the second year.

    Setting that first goal was a bit like a domino effect in many ways. From setting the first goal of wanting to make enough money to continue, I also realized what I would need to do to make that happen. So this forced me to set lots of other shorter term goals too. And by doing this, I did reach my goal and I am still running that online business.

    Great post! Thank you.

    1. Thank you Andrew for the feedback. Setting your goals really opens up new doors and possibilities that will enable the successful pursuit of that goal. Well done on achieving the goal as you planned it. Thank you for sharing your first hand experience.

  2. The SMART method of creating goals appears to be incredibly efficient – many people simply say they are going to do something and then end up never doing it.

    The example you gave really cemented the power of goal-setting for me. Competition is also a good motivator in achieving goals. Recording goals is something I know I need to work on, thanks for reminding me.

    1. So true Alex. We need goals that we can measure and track for us to make progress. On the issue of competition, I recently heard a successful entrepreneur talking about viewing oneself as a small country under threat of occupation by your neighbors and you have to fight for your survival. So if you view your business as your territory you will be motivated to do all to defend it. A true motivation.

      You can try recording goals once or twice a year to start with. And then increase frequency slowly.

  3. Hi tyrell,
    Thank you very much for this very enlighting article. I am
    so inspired by this post.

    May I ask you opinion, is $5,000 per month a feasible goal to make? Is it realistic at all? Looking at my new website, I feel like it is so far from my reach?

    What say you?

    1. Thanks for stopping and sharing your feedback. $5000 per month is quite feasible. However it is not easy to achieve. You need to learn your craft, apply it diligently, build a solid foundation, find alternative ways to increase your value, learn the marketing skills, like list building, relationship management with your list, providing fresh and relevant content etc then you should be on your way. The good thing about many online opportunities is the scalability of processes. Once you find something that works you can expand it and introduce downstream and other related products. If you find a good niche with things like membership or subscription, you should able to build a solid business. It can be done. There are quite a few who are doing it.

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