Goal Tracking Tool

bulls-eyeHere is a very simple goal tracking tool devised by the Startup Owl. You can copy or adapt it for your own use. You can print it or, better, keep an electronic version on your desktop so you can keep it regularly updated.

The pundits say goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bounded. They certainly should not be pie in the sky or so easy that you cannot fail.

Many moons ago I participated in a workshop run by a Venture Capitalist firm for potential investees, where we played a game of horseshoes with betting on outcomes. There were three ’rounds’. The most unadventurous stood over the first peg and dropped their horseshoe on it. The most timid of the timid repeated this three times, preserving their starting money.

The most reckless hurled their horseshoes at the furthest peg and missed three time, losing all their wagers. In the middle were one or two like me who started adventuresome and progressively reined in their aim in their second or third shots to make a reasonable winning.

Category Goal Name Goal Update %
Milestone Month
Work Sales Product 1 $a per month        
  Sales Product 2 $b per month        
  Sales Service 3 $c per month        
  Total Sales $d per month        
  Cash Flow net positive        
  Receivables average 35 days        
  New Website on line by mm/dd/yy        
  Recruit Agency interviews mm/dd/yy        
Personal Giving Micro Finance $e per quarter        
  Alma Mater $f per year        
  Local Charity $g per month        
  Global Organization $h per half year        
Other Activity A            
  thing one          
  thing two          
  thing three          
Other Activity B            
  item a          
  item b          
  item c          

You may want to add other refinements. They might include certain goals that are vital, such as positive cash flow. The others you may want to

  • assign relative weight,
  • note why they are important,
  • have consequences for achievement or failure,
  • divide into short and long term,
  • note helps and hindrances,
  • fix start/end dates.

The purpose of this simple goal tracking tool is to give yourself a means of monitoring progress and to try to avoid surprises. Despite what some people will tell you, goal setting and tracking is a very imprecise science. In fact it is more art than science. May you succeed where others fail.