Entrepreneurship 101: Setting Smart Goals as a First-Time Entrepreneur


For most people, entrepreneurship means working for someone else, until one day you realize that you’re overworked and underpaid, so you quit your job and start your own business. But that’s not really entrepreneurship; it’s trading one kind of job security for another. Entrepreneurship is about building the business of your dreams without having to leave your dream life behind, and setting smart goals as a first-time entrepreneur makes this possible.

What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is a person who starts up and runs their own business, taking on all of its risks and rewards. If you decide to start your own company, you can do it part time while you work another job until your business is more established, or you can jump in with both feet and make it your full-time job from day one. Whatever route you choose, being prepared for what lies ahead will help make starting your own company easier.

How do you get started?
If you want to start your own business, you’ll need to do some research and planning first. Before you quit your day job and dive into entrepreneurship, take time to learn about all of your options. Your path won’t be exactly like anyone else’s; look for information on what it takes to start a business in your particular industry, geography or field of expertise. Don’t forget to consider factors such as startup costs, legal requirements and applicable licenses. Next, establish an overall idea of how you plan to operate—this includes figuring out whether you plan to work with partners or employees. You may also want to consult an attorney who specializes in small businesses or a small business incubator in your area if you can find one nearby.

When should you start?
Starting your own business isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. This is because of one very important factor—you get to set your own goals and make your own decisions. Of course, though, you also have to work harder than you would if you were working for someone else. Because of that, you need to think long and hard about when is a good time to take on entrepreneurship. Here are some questions that may help…

How can you set smart goals?
The biggest mistake any new entrepreneur can make is setting goals that are too broad. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know what I mean—you have to set multiple goals each day, most of which involve doing different tasks. The problem with establishing broad goals is that they fail to motivate us—it’s much more exciting and inspiring to set specific daily objectives. That’s why it’s important to break your large objectives into smaller pieces in order to achieve them.

Ways to make it easier on yourself
As an entrepreneur, you need to set goals in order to drive your business forward. But it’s important to note that setting goals doesn’t necessarily mean accomplishing them. In fact, there are some easy ways you can set smarter goals to improve your chances of success without compromising your company’s long-term vision. Here are some tips for how to set smart goals as a first-time entrepreneur.

What are you willing to give up in order to succeed?
In business, there’s always something you’re willing to give up. From sleeping in to giving up social outings—the list goes on and on. But if you think of it that way, success sounds less like work, more like fun. And once you get started, we promise it won’t feel like work at all! What is your why?: If you don’t know your why (or can’t answer that question) then an entrepreneur career might not be for you. All too often, new entrepreneurs have a million reasons for why they should take their idea and run with it but very few reasons for why they need to do it . If your goal is financial gain or fame, go work for someone else.

Will it create value for others?
There’s nothing wrong with having a goal that is all about you—losing weight, getting better at tennis or maybe even creating your own business. But if you’re going to take on a project or set an objective, it should be one that will ultimately create value for others. The simple reason? Earning money isn’t in itself inherently satisfying (or motivating). Creating something of lasting value that helps others do what they want to do is where real fulfillment lies.

Key Takeaways
Use SMART goals to create an actionable plan. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely—goals that are all of these things will help you stay focused and on track. When setting business goals, it’s important to be both realistic and ambitious; if your goal is not achievable in a given amount of time or with your current level of resources (both financial and human), revise it until it is. Set milestones and deadlines along your path toward your ultimate goal, so you can use them as mile markers to check in on how far you’ve come along. Finally, ask yourself what success looks like when it comes to reaching your ultimate goal; are there sub-goals along the way that need to be accomplished before you achieve full success? If so, break those down into more manageable steps.

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