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Goals Guide


This is the stage where you learn how to work out what your targets are and how you’ll measure them.


It’s a critical step that helps you to know that you’re realizing your business vision, or to trigger intervention if you’re going off track after you’ve launched.


The objectives for this stage are:

  • Learn how to define what’s important to measure.

  •  Set targets for each measure.

  • Work out how you’ll track business performance.

  • Know when you’ll need to intervene.

  • Test your measures with others.

  • Either continue with your measures, refine them, or find another idea.

Design your measures

Before choosing any measures, review the Key Metrics, Costs and Revenue sections of your Lean Canvas. Some obvious measures should stand out.

Select only top-level metrics that will demonstrate success or problems with your business design. As you grow your business, you’ll define and monitor many others at a more detailed level.

Define your targets

Think about each of your measures and how they will vary as you build, launch and grow your business. By making some assumptions, you’ll be able to set achievable targets for each measure that vary over time as your business progresses. Be aware of your assumptions, and document them alongside your measures

You can draw up a cashflow forecast for your first three years, month by month for the first year and a total for each of the next two years. A template is available on the Toolshed website to help you with this.

Define your tolerances

In an ideal world, you’ll meet or exceed your targets as your progress. But if you don’t, at what point does it impact your plans? Just as important, will your plans be impacted if you find your business performs much better that you forecast?


In either circumstance, when do you need to intervene?

You don’t have to think about what intervention you’ll take at this stage, just how you know that intervention is required. Set tolerances above and below your targets that remind you to intervene in your business, as you’ll find that it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the detail of your business that you may not notice otherwise.

Define your methods

Finally, define how you’re going to track your measures. We recommend that you track your cashflow at least every month. If you do, it’s the perfect opportunity to check progress against your financial measures. Put mechanisms like this in place to track each of your measures.

Using this phase

On the webpage, the stage is broken down into several steps, with each step containing:

  • A description of the step and how it works

  • Learning resources like guides, blog posts, templates or tools that can help you with this step. Click on the button to access each resource as needed.

  • Links to resources elsewhere on the web that can help you with the step

We recommend that you follow each step in turn and use the resources that most suit how you like to work.


The objective of the Goals phase is to provide you with a method to govern your business. The measures, tolerances and tracking methods you’ve designed will trigger course changes to help your business respond at times when your assumptions and estimates are being challenged.

Testing your measures is an important step in this phase. We recommend that you check them with other people who’ll provide you with an external perspective before you proceed.


The decision you take on your goals is very important. It’s the last decision point in the Toolshed framework before you start the next phase, Acquire Funding, It's the last formal decision point in the Framework before launch.

We want to make your start-up journey enjoyable, successful, and as easy as possible. If you find any aspect of the site confusing or lacking, please let us know on our Contact Form and we’ll improve it.

Finally, if you’re feeling lost, head to the Toolshed Community, and get some help from a fellow founder or an expert mentor.

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