This blog post is apart of a business planning series.
Setting aside time to plan every month (you can do quarterly or yearly planning) about what I want to do and more importantly what growth I want to achieve has been crucial to my own success and consistency. I want to share some of what I’ve learned and what I’ve found helpful with you.
Today I want to share my thinking process for setting smart business goals with you. I like to work backwards from a financial goal to daily to-do lists. Here’s how that works. It always starts with a money goal. It helps if that goal has a meaning beyond the dollar figure. For example, let’s say that I want to buy a new car. The payment is around $400. To account for things like taxes and just to be safe, I’ll bump the goal up to $600. In other words, I need to add an extra $600 (or more… more is always better) to my monthly bottom line. Once that’s done and I am seeing that level of income on a regular basis, I’m ready to get my new car.
Once I know how much money I have to make, I can start to think about different ways to do just that. I could find more customers for one or several of my existing products. For example, if I have a $10 editable social media template, I would have to make an extra 60 sales per month. From there I can work backwards. If I know that on average one out of 10 email subscribers buy the template within the first month of signing up, I need to add 600 new subscribers to my list, which in turn takes 4,000 new visitors to my site. If that’s my plan, I know that my daily to-do list needs to include plenty of action steps to ramp up my traffic by an extra 4,000 people per month.
Of course, that’s not my only option. I could also create another template or printable each month and sell it to both my existing and new subscribers. I could create a higher-priced item so I need to make a lot fewer monthly sales to reach my $600 goal. For example, if I create a nice $100 product, it would only take 6 sales per month to pay for the car.
Since the car payment will be an ongoing thing, it also makes sense to look into recurring payments. This could be my own membership, or I could look into affiliate offers with recurring commissions. Depending on your market, there’s a lot out there that you can promote. For me, one option could be to create some content around content marketing and promote a PLR Membership like this one from Piggy Makes Bank It’s a $47 per month subscription with a 50% commission. That means I can expect over $20 in commissions each month I only need 30 members to pay for my car. Once I reach that number, I only need to add the occasional new member to balance out cancellations. Getting one or two more members in each month going forward should more than cover that.
Now I have a concrete goal to work towards which is convincing 30 people to sign up for the membership. My daily tasks will include things like creating content that includes an offer to the PLR membership, a short report about using PLR to build a targeted sub lists of people interested in using PLR in general. Then I start driving traffic to the content and the opt-in offer and start mailing regularly about the PLR membership. I may even craft a short autoresponder sequence to create an evergreen funnel.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I could approach the nice girls from Piggy Makes Bank to see if they would be interested in writing some guest blog posts, answering some questions for an interview style post, or even do a webinar, all of which would of course promote the membership. By thinking outside the box and putting in some time and effort initially, it won’t take me long to get those 30 signups that pay for my new car payment. Because I really want that new car, I’m going to be motivated to get it done and grow my business by those extra $600 per month. In fact, chances are great that I’ll overshoot the goal by several hundred dollars and it’s something I can continue to grow month after month.
Throughout this blog series on setting business goals, I’ve mentioned the importance of writing said goals down. That isn’t just because it’s easy to forget. There’s a lot more to it and there are some very important reasons why you have to write them down. I would like to share my thoughts on this and hopefully inspire you to write down your own goals going forward. By the way, this works for any type of goal, not just the business ones.
The simple act of setting a goal, even if it’s just in your mind, doubles your chances of success. That’s a pretty big deal in itself, isn’t it? If you take it a step further, and actually write those goals down, you’re 10 times as likely to succeed. Read that last line again please. That’s right…you can increase your chances of making it by 1,000%. That’s mind-blowing.
There are a few different mental and psychological processes going on here that start to give us a glimpse into why it is so important and effective to write our goals down. The first is that it’s a lot easier to remember something that we’ve written down. You’ve experienced this first hand with your grocery list. When you make a mental list of 10 or 15 things, you’re likely to forget about half of them when you get to the store. If you write out the list on the other hand, and then end up forgetting it on the counter, you will remember the vast majority of the items you needed. This is explained through the fact that information has to be moved from one area of the brain to another to turn it from thoughts into written words on a page. A process called encoding is also involved. All of this helps you retain and store the information better. It’s the reason we’re asked to take notes during lectures in college.
Last but not least, when you write down your goals, you have something you can review regularly. This adds another layer of cognitive processing and increases your chances of success even further. Sadly, only a very small percentage of people make the time to regularly review and evaluate their goals. The ones that do are some of the most successful and highest achieving people out there. In other words, it’s something we should do as well.
To recap, start by setting smart goals. Write them down in as much detail as possible. Set aside some time to review them regularly. This could be weekly, or even daily. Give it a try for this coming quarter. Set yourself a goal. Be specific. This could be something like finally creating that first paid product or adding an extra $500 to your bottom line. Decide by when you’ll reach your goal and how you plan to get there. Write it all down and look at it every morning. This will help you stay on track and make time in your busy day to work on making progress towards your goal.
Can you think back on a time of real growth, be it in business, in your personal life, or anywhere else? More than likely, you had to step out of your comfort zone for that growth to happen. Yes, we can make progress by doing what we’ve always done. But it will be slow and more importantly, by staying within your comfort zone, you are limiting your potential growth. It’s when we step out of that zone, try something new, take a bit of a risk, and allow for personal and professional growth that we start to see big changes for the better.
This is something that I have struggled with for the last year. It took me awhile to step out of my comfort zone and when I finally did, I wished I would have done it sooner. You don’t have to change your whole life to step out of your comfort zone, try to change just one thing, even something small. Small steps are better than no steps. And once you see like I did, how rewarding it is, you will start to love stepping out of your comfort zone.
Let’s say you goal is to grow your reach and get out in front of a larger audience. What you’ve done so far, and what feels comfortable is writing a blog post a week and then sharing it on social media. Yes, some readers will find you. Yes, if you double or triple your efforts, publishing more posts per week and sharing more often across all your social media accounts, you will see some growth and engagement. But you’re staying in your comfort zone.
What if instead, you used the time you would have spent writing another blog post or two per week and promoting it on Facebook, you took the time to write a guest blog post for someone else’s blog with a bigger reach. What if you sat down and recorded a fun and informational video that you can then share on YouTube, embed in a blog post, and of course share via your favorite social media outlets. What if you used the time to set up and tested a Facebook ad that continually sends new leads into your funnel. If those things are new to you, that may seem like a pretty scary proposition. But getting uncomfortable and doing it anyway can have some huge rewards.
Writing and submitting the guest blog post can give you a lot of added exposure by allowing you to get in front of an established audience. It also gives you the change to start a relationship with a fellow blogger that may lead to all sorts of other opportunities and collaborations.
Recording a series of videos gives you the opportunity to reach a completely different subset of your target audience. There are plenty of people who prefer video content to written posts and articles. There are people who spend hours each day watching YouTube videos who would never stumble across you and your blog otherwise.
Spending money on paid ads can sound like a scary proposition as well, but once you crack it and find something that converts well for you, you will get a steady stream of new leads in front of you without any added work.
There’s something else I want to mention, just in case I don’t have you convinced yet that getting out of your comfort zone is something you should be doing regularly. You won’t stay uncomfortable for very long. After recording those first few videos, submitting a couple of blog posts, and spending those first few dollars on ads, you start to get comfortable with the processes. Before you know it, they become second nature and yet another tool in your virtual tool belt. Once that happens, you know it’s time to explore some other marketing strategies and ideas.
Much of what we’ve discussed so far has been actionable steps like writing down your goals as well as mindset pieces like the one about stepping out of your comfort zone. So now let’s put everything we’ve discussed so far and combine it into something that can give you that explosive growth you want.
You see when you use the basic concept of exponential growth to your advantage, it doesn’t take very much progress in any one area to see big results. We briefly touched on this idea when we talked about increasing traffic, subscribers, and customers to add to our bottom line. Now we expand on this whole idea in a few different ways and tie it all back into setting goals and business planning in general.
The idea is to make progress on your goals and stack them in a way that gives you leverage. Here’s an example. Let’s say your first goal is to grow your current part-time income by $500 a month so you can quit your day job. Following the example in the previous blog post, you come up with a way to get that done by growing your traffic, subscribers, and customers. Since you were able to then quit your day job, you have more time and energy to put into growing your business. You set more ambitious goals and add another $2,000 to your bottom line. Instead of taking everything out in profit, you decide to continue to work on this whole leverage idea.
You set aside $100 a month to play around with Facebook ads to see if you can turn that into a profitable income stream. You take another $200 to start outsourcing some of the ongoing tasks that hold you back. You hire your first VA and now you’re really making progress. This in turn gets the attention of a fellow online entrepreneur in a related niche who wants to work on a project together. Do you see how this works?
One goal builds on the next and they all work together to generate exponential growth. Of course, this is just one little example. This can work in a myriad of different ways and will of course differ from one business to the next. My point is this…
If you start to think strategically and keep one eye on your next few moves, you can start to stack your efforts and engineer that explosive growth in a lot less time than you may think. Try it!
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