Accidental Entrepreneur: How To Set Goals for Success In Life

Ruban Kanapathippillai
4 min readJun 12, 2022

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my 39th weekly article as this week is called “ How to set Goals for Success In Life.”

In this article I go over the different types of goals that are needed to achieve both personal success along with broader company success. Setting goals intentionally along with a systematic approach to tracking progress/course correcting is critical to ultimately achieving those goals.

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“உள்ளுவ தெல்லாம் உயர்வுள்ளல் மற்றது

தள்ளினுந் தள்ளாமை நீர்த்து”. — திருக்குறள் (596)

“Think lofty thoughts/goals always; even if it fails to

materialize, it’s still as good as having materialized”.

— Thirukkural (596)

Once a person acquires knowledge and ability to make decisions based on data, the next step for success is setting goals. In this article I try to describe various levels of goals a person can set and monitor for success. This is an important aspect of achieving the ultimate results. At the corporate level, setting these goals are considered a part of the broader Company Vision. Based on the company visions, each department will set their own goals and each project would set their goals. Combinations of personal goals and company goals, drive the success of each person, community and country.

Goal setting is a habit which needs to be set intentionally and followed up by systematically exercising to reach the goal. Below are my way of setting goals and achieving end results:

  • Levels of goals: Typically projects take months or years to complete. Setting and monitoring goals at various levels help with successful execution and early detection of challenges and adjustments. I break the goals into two categories:
  • Intermediate Goals: Intermediate goals have timelines that can range from a few weeks to a few months. This level of granularity makes it easier to have more clarity on what needs to be done in the short term from an executional and tactical perspective. By setting intermediate goals, it provides a matrix for tracking and measuring the progress toward the overall goal for completion of tasks.
  • Ultimate Goals: From the project beginning, one needs to set clear and measurable final or ultimate goals for the project. Having the ultimate goal visible helps team members with clarity of their contributions and how the success of the project would be measured at the end. I have seen many projects get reset many times over the project lifetime, mainly due to the lack of a clear end goal. While the end goal can be adjusted due to market conditions or new learnings, it’s always important to have an ultimate goal at every point of execution.
  • Product Goals: It’s easier for each individual to just focus on their assigned tasks and how to complete that task. However, for a successful and collaborative work environment, the entire team needs to work together. Then how does a person manage the individual tasks and interpersonal tasks?.In my experience, people with strong opinions seem to get their way but their solutions are not normally optimal for the product. My management style is to bubble up the discussion to the product level and based on overall success of the product definition along with those requirements, we decide on the solution. Having a “product goal” as the key matrix, removes the emotions/biases and helps drive toward success of both the company/product.
  • Customer Values/Goals: All products are developed with an end customer in mind. Simply put, for a successful product, it needs to solve a customer problem or improve the efficiency and productivity of the customers. Understanding those characteristics as pain points or value creation and then focusing on those items as customer values create easy to manage projects with clear end goals. In my experience, many founders and developers tend to focus on their own innovative technology but forget to connect the solution with a specific customer problem. The ability to understand and enumerate customer goals for the products, will help with product sales along with reducing the overall development time.
  • Personal Goals: Finally, but very importantly, aligning company and product goals with individual team member’s goals provides returns in multiples. A motivated person who sees their contribution will align with company and greater community goals, by working more effectively to create something great. As a manager, it’s key to understand the personal goals of each team member and then align their work and contributions accordingly. Same way, team members need to work within the project confines and create opportunities for them to learn and enhance their personal goals while contributing for overall success of the product and company.

I hope that my explanation of goals and the purpose for setting those goals by navigating within the goal of the company is clear from this article. For entrepreneurs and managers, a key part of their job is to set clear goals, connect the people with purpose and provide an environment to thrive to meet the goals. This simple but thoughtful act is the one that sets apart a successful team and company and unsuccessful people. Learn to set the proper customer driven goals and then work with the team members to achieve it. If this is done with intention and cooperation, success is inevitable.



Ruban Kanapathippillai

Entrepreneur, Founder of multiple successful startups, Mentor/coach, Angel investor (Sandhill Angels) and Positive thinker