For many entrepreneurs, setting business goals and acting on them can be a daunting—if essential—step toward ensuring the long- and short-term success of your business.
Use these tips to overcome your fears and turn your ideas into reality.
Determine your business focus
Bernardino Hernandez began executing his business idea in 2016. It has since evolved into Spanish Proofreaders, a linguistics-focused business that has seen numerous changes since Hernandez came up with the original concept.
A need for quality control inspired his goal-shifting mentality when it came to limiting the number of languages the company would work with. "Back then, we provided proofreading services in 50 languages," he says. Fluent in English and Spanish, Hernandez additionally offered proofreading assistance in Portuguese, French, Italian, and more, using a small team of linguists. But it soon became clear that he had to specialize.
"Rather than offering so many languages, now we only have Spanish and English," he says. "It was a big change, but I had the reassurance that I'd know what I was talking about."
Katherine Domantay and her business partner launched their showroom, Common Vice, in 2016. Today, the company manages wholesale transactions and helps designers form relationships within the women's fashion industry—but that was not always the case.
"In the beginning, we thought we would only focus on sales but now we do a lot more consulting for our designers, even stepping into the design aspect when needed," Domantay says.
Finding your focus means learning whether specializing, like Hernandez, or adding services, like Domantay, works best for key company aspects like workflow, resources, and growth.
Getting to this point took time, experience, and reflection—and the courage to pursue the paths that opened up for their companies.
Set short-term goals that consider the current environment
The past four years have allowed a more established vision for Spanish Proofreaders and Common Vice, as well as the opportunity to work with well-known companies and brands for both. But additional obstacles may arise that require new goals for your business.
Inside or outside of fashion, for example, Domantay knows that short-term goals always vary by season. "We set sales goals every four to six months, for selling seasons and for each designer," she says.
Both Hernandez and Domantay advise that, in order to assess the business environment to develop your startup's goals, you must:
- Conduct external research: Hernandez follows trends in the gig economy to see where his company might land, referencing Wonolo's projection that more than 50% of the U.S. workforce will be doing freelance or gig work by 2027. Likewise, Domantay believes what works to her company's advantage is that it occupies a digital space, not a physical one like most showrooms, enabling mobility and flexibility.
- Stay organized: Both founders agree that spreadsheets and careful records have helped them find room for growth and target customer or client needs.
- Network and pay attention to feedback: Having a digital-only showroom means that Domantay relies on networking for company growth. "Networking is a big part of the sales business and we do most of ours through trade shows and store visits," she says. For Hernandez, hearing feedback on his company has helped him modify accordingly. For example, he's not afraid of competition like translating software because he's learned that customers prefer "manually translated" work.
Define what kind of CEO you are
While Hernandez aims to someday expand the number of people who consistently work for Spanish Proofreaders from the current six, his objective is not to be so big that the company absorbs his identity.
"I could grow 100%, and I would still not sacrifice personal time," he says. "I think it's more important to be efficient and resourceful so that I can have more time to do things outside of work—to do more with less."
Meanwhile, Domantay says Common Vice is growing in terms of international sales, and while travel abroad may soon be necessary, she has made sure the business can blend into her personal lifestyle.
"My work goals have always been influenced by my personal goals," she says. "This industry allows me to travel both for business and for pleasure, and it can be done from anywhere."
As an entrepreneur, you carry a lot of responsibility to keep your startup growing, which sometimes requires making bold adjustments to your business plan. But continually assessing where you are and where you'd like to be can help you overcome your fears and move forward.
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