That picture is not him.
Goal setting is a religion at our company. Every startup that wants to be the next big thing, especially those with investors, sets goals. There's so much talk of goal setting, milestones, and KPIs it's almost nauseating, but goals work. Period. Why can't we, as a entrepreneurial community, set SMART goals [hat tip to Matt Williamson] for what we want the scene to be like in 5-10 years?
Let's back up a second...
As COO of a Durham startup, I enjoy learning what other entrepreneurs have to say. David Cummings, CEO of Pardot, published this post on setting 2020 goals for Atlanta's startup scene. Jobs, exits, acquisitions, incubators, and more make the list.
Hmmm—perhaps we should hold OUR startup community to the same standards of goal setting that we hold our own companies. But why?
Without goals, we have no clear direction. No common goals means we're working harder individually, not smarter collectively. Having been in the startup world for the last year, we already see efforts to break down the silos making a positive impact. Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are coming together more often, as well as our universities. We can progress faster if we share common goals.
I personally believe that the US of A's economic future hinges upon new high-growth startups, creating new jobs that didn't previously exist. Knowledge workers have become the norm here in RTP, and a contributing factor to low employment rates locally. More focused startup community = more new companies = more new jobs = more happy people.
Let's throw open the doors, bring everyone together across the Triangle, and agree to common goals. We'll all feel like we have ownership and a stake in the outcome. Just writing this post already makes me feel more important than I really am.
The question then becomes: What are the right goals for Tobacco Alley? Let's take a swing. I'm gonna nerd out and go all "conversion funnel" on you. By 2020 our goals should be:
TOP OF THE FUNNEL = Create More Startups
MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL = Invest & Nurture
BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL = Exit & Reinvest
We have pieces of the puzzle, and the edges are coming together, but the rest are still scattered across the table. With a little collective effort and a common vision, we can absolutely do this, and we're already on this path. Time to be even more consciously competent. Easy? No. Powerful? You bet.