Two of my favorite business books are Jim Collins’ Good to Great and Built to Last. They’ve helped me roadmap prior businesses, and I routinely check back to my dog eared pages with notes (so many notes) to refocus my efforts with Bikerumor. One of the key principles is the BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal, which comes from Built to Last. I prefer BAG, but same idea.
WHAT IS A B.A.G.?
Your Big Audacious Goal should be something that clearly and concisely sums up what you want to achieve. It’s not a list, nor is it some abstract “to preserve core values and treat customers with respect” mission statement. Rather, it’s a bold statement of what you want to be or achieve. For me, with regards to The Build Cycle, it’s “To be known as the expert at helping adventurous entrepreneurs launch their businesses, with the same notoriety as Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferriss.”
WHY IS YOUR B.A.G. IMPORTANT?
Becoming as famous as those guys is a lofty goal, right? But it’s simple, clear, and focused, and it’s an easy benchmark against which I can judge the importance of any activity filling my minutes. Is what I’m doing moving me toward that goal? If not, why am I doing it?
Without a big audacious goal, you risk being another me-too company. Your B.A.G. is a pie-in-the-sky dream that should be borderline outlandish. It gives you (and your team, if you have one) a unified vision to aspire to. You can set financial, market share or growth goals against it, but most importantly it should inspire you to work on your business every day. And probably lots of nights, too!
You should be able to set clear benchmarks that prove you’re achieving your B.A.G. For me, it might be an invitation to speak Social Media Marketing World, Outdoor Retailer Show, etc. Or having the opportunity to meet and interview people like GV or TF. Fame itself isn’t the goal, but reaching that level of tells me I’ve had a positive impact on enough people that my efforts matter and are appreciated, and that’s both my goal and my reward.
WHERE DOES YOUR B.A.G. FIT IN?
If you’ve followed the progress of articles here in developing your company, you should have identified:
- Why you want to start a business
- The best type of business for you
- Why your product needs to be better and different
- Why your business will matter to customers
Your B.A.G. takes all that and packages it into a moon shot statement that’ll inspire you to go big. Make it short, make it sweet, and make it crazy enough that it just might work.
BHAG is the first of two Jim Collins-inspired concepts I want to share with you. Next up, his Hedgehog Concept.