The Penalty of Not Setting Business Goals

It had been almost a year since the new business owner started weekly sessions with the business coach. Other than a dishevelled piece of A1 paper on the office wall, nothing substantial had been achieved.

For the business owner, the mind map that he added to each week revealed nothing new and nothing actionable. It was simply illustrating what he was already aware of: he did not have enough clients paying reasonable fees. To the business owner, there was complete confusion around what the map supposedly represented, and after 10 months he parted company with the coach feeling discouraged and with less money in the bank.  

Let me be clear, not every business coach is so nonchalant or ambivalent in their approach.

In this instance, there were several essential elements missing. There were no goals being set, there was a lack of accountability and while the business owner should have improved how he viewed his business and its future, he was left feeling despondent.

Write your goals

To achieve goals they must be achievable. That sounds obvious, but it is easy to set a massive goal that requires so much effort to achieve at once it results in disheartenment fairly quickly.

Part of the requirements of the online Relationology Mastermind Groups is to set a goal or goals. The ultimate goal will not necessarily be achieved in a handful of sessions, although that isn’t to say it is unachievable. To make the goal less overwhelming, I ask the group to break down the goal and set three smaller steps to action before the next meeting.

The Most Important Next Steps, or MINS (something that requires a blog itself, which I will add to the website soon) allow the members of the group to achieve the main goal by breaking it up into three manageable chunks. I love to break things down into threes and it is proven to work.

When setting these goals, it best to write them down within a couple of hours of being discussed as they remain fresh in the mind. Leave them too long and they won’t get written at all.

In the story I related too earlier, had the coach set clear, achievable goals, the business owner may not have felt overawed and debilitated.

Like the African proverb says, taking one bite at a time allows you to eventually consume the elephant!

Group accountability

Boldly writing down your goals is something I encourage, but all too often those goals remain nothing more than ideas on a notepad.

For goals to work, you need to be held accountable or you are unlikely to offer the commitment you need to achieve them.

According to research led by Dr Gail Matthews, from Dominican University of California, those who write down their goals, commit to the next steps and report progress have 33% better chance of success.

Reporting progress is all part of accountability, something I champion in Relationology Masterclasses. Knowing you need to update your group on your actions, results in you taking them seriously rather than being nothing more than a wish list.

This is where the writing clear goals is essential. The SMART acronym is well-established tool you can use for setting goals.

The “S” in SMART stands for specific. If your goals are not specific it will be difficult to be held accountable by your peer group.

Saying that you “want to increase customers” is all well and good, but saying you want to increase by 25% helps you measure the success of your goal realistically. If you’re not specific and add one or two new clients your group will feel that you have achieved your goal when the reality is that you have completely missed it.

The other words within that acronym are equally successful within a Mastermind Group as they help your peers to fully understand you. If they are too generalised the other members of your group are likely to be less engaged.

Build authentic relationships

Reporting progress is essential if you want to achieve your goals but who are you going to report to? You may solely own your business, be a partner in a firm, company director or a leader in the private, public or non-profit sector. It is important to work collectively with your colleagues on business goals, but some of your plans may need input from those outside your workplace.

Building an authentic relationship with your peer group will not only embolden you it will start conversations that can transform you and your business.

I have mentioned in my books that I am not an advocate of ‘networking’. The pursuit of such activity is to sell yourself or your product is not sustainable. For me, the best opportunities arise when we go through life with a deliberate desire to build meaningful relationships.

Once those relationships have become established, it becomes less arduous or daunting to report back on your efforts to reach your latest steps on the route to your goals.

The result is that these relationships become a bedrock of trust that can open opportunities for everyone involved.


Commitment to taking steps to reach your goal is a given, isn’t it? The reality is that some people will believe that by simply joining a group of others will result in their success. They do not always recognise that no success happens overnight.

Business books are crammed full of examples of wealthy entrepreneurs who are happy to explain that they had to work hard at success. It was their commitment to their goal that led to the achievement.

Commitment, therefore, is an important asset to anyone who seeks success within business. By being committed, you demonstrate dedication to a cause. No one wants to work with someone who is whimsical and impassive.

If you show you are committed, then others are more likely to want to build a relationship with you. A committed group of people will solve problems, which leads to real success as they will have a real determination to help others reach their goals.

Increase well-being

Looking back at the business owner who struggled with the business coach, we see that the process left him feeling despondent. The lack of clarity in the coaching sessions meant he was unable to garner the positive outlook necessary when setting a path to success. The result was failure to achieve!

The memory of feeling a little foolish at spending time and money on the venture and the inadequacy of increasing profitability left the business owner feeling negative about setting future goals. It took almost six years for that person to try again through a Relationology Mastermind Group.

While attempts at networking in the meantime had left them feeling unsupported, the fact they had become part of a smaller group inspired them to look again at their goal. The result is that they feel positive about increasing profitability, they are building trusted and meaningful relationships and sense achievement as they tick off their MINS.

As they themselves would say, they no longer feel as dishevelled and confused as that piece of A1 paper!

If you would like to know more about how a Relationology Mastermind Group can help you achieve your business goals please contact Matt Bird

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