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Sara Rauchwerger

Sara Rauchwerger

Managing Director
Geron Vanderfeesten

Geron Vanderfeesten

Founder, Investor, Consultant

Early stage companies’ path to success is often marked by uncertainty and challenges (as described in the introduction). When embarking on this journey it is important to build the foundation that defines your vision and mission. As we delve into this first crucial element, Part 1 of this series will help you understand the power of what it takes to set clear goals and objectives that will define your success. This section should help propel you to get your company closer to an investors’ door to secure the resources that you need to scale.

PART 1 – Define your steps to success by setting clear goals and objectives for the business


As an early-stage startup in the developmental phase, the road to success must be paved with strategic planning, a clear vision, and well-defined objectives, while ensuring that development is not disrupted. In order to thrive and achieve a company’s full potential, it is essential to set clear goals and objectives that align with the onset of establishing an organisation’s overall mission despite being a small 2- 4 or more people. In this article, we will discuss the importance of defining success, providing guidance on how to establish measurable goals and objectives, while encouraging developing a contingency plan to ensure smooth operations even when faced with challenges.


Defining Success for Your Business

Success is not a one-size-fits-all concept; however, success associated with fundraising means an ability to scale your business to generate significant returns. Before embarking on the journey towards success, it is imperative to clearly evaluate if realistically what you are building will achieve success based on many factors such as market opportunity, competition, product market fit etc. Success does not equate to financial achievements at an onset of a company; success is defined by your organisation’s ability to execute on a set mission that can scale and become financially stable.

How do you define success?

Work together with your co-founders/team and ask the following questions:
a. What is the primary purpose of your company?
b. What are the company’s long-term aspirations, and how do they align with the team’s value and mission?
c. What role will each team member have in order to achieve success, and how will everyone’s growth be nurtured?
d. How will the company gauge the satisfaction and loyalty of your customers based on the value of the company?

Set Specific Goals and Objectives

Having a clear definition of how you can realistically build a successful company requires setting up milestones for each team member to play a role in contributing to your mission on the agreed team definition of success. These milestones should provide direction and purpose to every team member. Make sure that your aspirations are not vague because that will lead to inefficiency and lack of focus, whereas well-defined objectives drive motivation and productivity.

Document your goals and objectives

a. Being Specific:
Clearly articulate what the company aims to achieve. Try not to leave room for ambiguity.

b. Make your goals measurable:
Set parameters that can quantify your progress both for product/service development (i.e. product development milestones, alpha or beta testing target, etc.) and market and business opportunities (i.e. competitive analysis, product market fit, business development/sales, customer acquisition/pilots, etc.).
Set target dates: Define a realistic timeframe to achieve each goal. This creates a sense of urgency and ensures timely progress.

C. Track progress:
Documented milestones are not to be saved and tucked away and left in the void if the company is seriously considering building a successful entity. Being consistent by monitoring and evaluating progress together as a team is the only way to determine if there is a true opportunity.

Regularly track your progress towards achieving your objectives. You should consider using key performance indicators (KPIs) despite being a very small company as a means to start setting company roots that will allow you to better grow as more people join the team. There is no right or wrong way to set up specific milestones.

Meet regularly initially and identify areas that may require improvement to get your “engine” oiled and moving faster. If you encounter roadblocks and it is becoming challenging to meet your targets, this is a great time to start establishing contingency plans. A well-thought-out contingency plan will enable the company to pivot easier without sacrificing significant disruptions to the internal operations of the company.

Nurture a Company Culture

Success is not an individual effort, but it is a collective endeavor where everyone in the team takes accountability for their action and remains resilient. Each team member should be responsible for their assigned tasks and objectives. It is here that as a team you can start thinking of how to define what you do and for whom – your mission statement. Work together as a team and clearly evaluate how you envision to represent your company to your target audience – the customer.

Build your logo together and get feedback on the look. Select a company name that reflects what you do, select theme colors that reflect your vision. Evaluate the brand that will represent the company and will allow your brand to grow and be recognized in the market. If you are not financially constrained, consider seeking external support to help you select the right brand that represents your company. If you are financially constrained it is not the end of the world. At the minimum select a company name that the team agrees is a good representation of who you are.

Secure your company name across all mediums that you plan to use now and in the future.
There is no need to Copyright/Trademark the name initially unless you believe your competition will deter you from moving forward.

Be defensive yet creative by working on building a brand for your target industry.

Don’t be deterred if you do not get it right the first time. The advantage of being a young company is that you can always make changes – hence having a contingency plan.

Embrace together as a team a growth mindset that views challenges as opportunities. Expect to see lows and highs as you navigate building your company. Learn, improve and adapt in order to stay resilient on your journey to success.


Setting clear goals and objectives is the cornerstone of achieving success for your business. By defining what success means for the company through established measurable targets, while having a contingency plan paves the way for sustainable growth. Remember that building a company is an ever-evolving journey, requiring continuous evaluation, adaptability, and a shared commitment to excellence from the team that is involved in building the company. With a focused approach and a dedicated team that is accountable for their actions, your company can overcome challenges and thrive. Build your brand through a nurtured environment.