03/03/2014 10:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Tiering Your Goals in Startup Tech Companies


Establishing your goals in specific tiers is a great way to prioritize, evaluate and eventually execute your long-term company plans.

Setting and achieving goals is a process that has driven many entrepreneurs to success. Most new entrepreneurs already understand the importance and benefits of setting short-term and long-term goals, using the SMART criteria (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related) to ensure their goals are relevant. However, in the world of startup tech companies, it's possible to have dozens, if not hundreds of goals, of varying sizes and significances.

Organizing and keeping track of these goals can be a nightmare, but they are vital to maintaining your startup company's path. Finding a way to tier, or categorize, these goals is a logical, definitive way to organize your thoughts and sort out the most relevant goals for your short-term plans.

For instance, I've been known to organize my goals into the following tiers:

Immediate Relevance, Practical Achievability

These are goals that must be addressed in the short-term, usually within the year. Their practical achievability means I expect to accomplish them -- so the highest priority items in this tier tend to be the most important in my mind at any given time.

Long-Term Relevance, Practical Achievability

These goals are equally achievable, but have more of a long-term focus, such as multi-year growth or sales forecasts. It's tough to address these on a day-to-day basis, but it's important to sort through them occasionally to stay on track.

Immediate Relevance, Possible Achievability

Goals in this tier have an immediate relevance, much like those in the first tier, but their premise is typically loftier or less reasonable. I seek to achieve these, but temper my expectations to align with their boldness.

Long-Term Relevance, Possible Achievability

These are generally the lowest priority of the four tiers, and must be weeded through often as circumstances change. These are the haughty goals that would be nice to achieve in the next several years, but seem like distant dreams from a practicality standpoint.

These goal tiers aren't a standard that works for all entrepreneurs, but establishing a tier system can be beneficial for almost any startup company. Include both conservative and ambitious goals so you cover a range of possibilities without compromising your plans or losing motivation, and as with any goal or goal system, hold yourself and your team accountable.

Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.

Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.

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