Want to know the difference between a wish and a goal? The former is a wishy washy hope that something good might happen in your future. The latter is something you back with action to make sure it occurs.

In this article, I want to discuss with you the twin skills of strategy and leadership are the key to helping you set and achieve goals in your business.

The key word however is ACTION – you have to DO something to be the kind of person who can set and reach goals.

Firstly, a goal really has to be real for you to have any chance of reaching it. You should absolutely dream big, but goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound – in other words S.M.A.R.T.

To set smart goals you do need a measure of competence in understanding the environment you operate in, and what it is possible to achieve with the customers you want to target, the resources you have at your disposal and the competitors you face.

This takes a program of research and developing an understanding of these dynamics, which is all part of the first skill – STRATEGY. This is one of those words in business which is thrown about with abandon, but you may be surprised to know it actually does mean something very specific.

I'm not going to use a dictionary definition here, but rather explain the concept. Effectively STRATEGY means a set of tools and actions designed to help a person or business achieve the goals they have set for themselves – usually over the longer term. It is HOW you are going to achieve your goals.

This toolkit we've defined includes things such as:

  • A market research program
  • SWOT Analysis
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Value Proposition
  • Business Model
  • Pricing

This is just for starters. So, you can see it isn't some mysterious term – but rather a set of actions to achieve a goal.

Our second skill in the microscope for today's article is LEADERSHIP. This is the WHY of getting to a goal.

No matter if we are a sole trader or the owner of a large corporation, the one constant in business is we are surrounded by other people who we have to influence to get to our goals. Whether this be customers, or stakeholders, or our board, or investors – whoever.

As the founder and owner of your business, you are by definition a leader. But to become an effective and successful leader, you have to be able to influence people to follow you on your journey. Or to support you on your journey – for instance – getting a bank manager to loan you money.

This requires you to be able to clearly define the goals you've set and to convince them you can achieve these goals, and that joining you on this journey would be valuable, remunerative or enjoyable for them.

A leader should be able to:

  • Communicate goals
  • Let people know what their role is on the journey
  • Keep people informed as you progress
  • Reward those who help you achieve the goals, and get those who are stopping or hindering you out of the way

So there you go – set and achieve your goals with the twin skills of strategy and leadership. Learn, understand and use the tools available to make your dreams a reality.


Articles In This Series

1: Before you ask How to start a business ask Why

2: Five tips on starting a business

3: How to set and reach your business goals

4: Plan your work, work your plan

5: Customers aren’t always right (but they are always there)

6: Climb a tree and holler (always be promoting your business, no matter what)