You've heard it your whole life, friend. People asking you what your goals are. Well, today, I'm going to give you something to answer the question with and why it is so terribly important to have goals. We live in a super noisy world that pulls us in every direction all the time. We are being shouted at by companies online. We have families and friends and oh yeah. A small business to run. Our responsibilities are endless and our focus is never in one spot for too long. Today's post is all about honing in on that goal you've set (we're covering that too) and getting it done. And not just clearing things off your to-do list, but meaningful little goals that get you to that life and business that you want.
Why You Need To Set Goals
Goals are what drive us. You need to pay your bills, you need to have shoes on your feet, and you need food on your table. You have things you have to do to survive and those are goals. Survival is a goal. But when you start digging into what you need for your business and where you want to see it end up, you need to have a game plan. Some of the platforms we as small business owners use -cough-PINTEREST-cough- can suck every bit of attention you have and completely eat your day. Are these platforms valuable to you as a business owner? Heck yeah! But having a goal gives you the chance to back away from the DIY boards and get to business. Whether you are setting goals hours, days, weeks, months, or years in advance, they give you something to aim for and give you focus that drives you forward. Oh, and can we say holy overwhelming? Running a business is like raising a pack of kids. Your marketing just colored on the walls, your blog just pulled the cat's tail, and your books are hiding in the clothes racks at Target. Having a goal sets your unruly pack in order and gives you the opportunity to focus on each individually.
There Is Value In A Solid Plan
There are endless goals you can set for your business. There just are. And knowing what you need to be focusing on from one task to the next is no easy feat. But really sticking to a road map can help your business and you personally in so many ways. Here is the breakdown.
You need to know how much money you need to make every month to pay your rent. You need to know how much Uncle Sam (or uncles related to other federal governments) is going to take. You need to know how much you can afford to not work on your business if you still have a 9-5. Without knowing this, how are you going to be able to determine how much money you can invest into your business? How are you going to know if rent is going to get paid? This is important stuff! I've spoken before about not chasing that dollar, but the fact is we all need that dollar to get by. It's an ugly fact about a business. Having goals related to how you are going to make money is imperative. Know how many sales you need to make. Know that minimum amount of money you need to make in a month to survive. Break it down into bite-sized chunks and make it happen.
Anyone with a web based business can tell you how vital traffic is. Yeah, you have a great product, but is anyone coming to your website to check it out? Are you reaching people at all? These are things that you do have control over. You can control how much traffic your website gets and you can make sure that you are putting yourself at the front and center of the people that you want to be selling to. Setting goals for traffic helps you understand how your sales and finances will look at the end of the month. Goals for traffic are more involved than you might think because you get into stuff like conversion rates, bounce rates, engagement, and improving all of those areas. But having a goal chosen such as lower your bounce rate means that you have an idea of who isn't staying on your website and a glimpse into why.
So you're being a good marketer and building valuable content for your target audience. You're placing it on all the right channels. But you aren't seeing results. You start to get discouraged, but have no fear! There are goals that you can set that enable you to boost your engagement. Engaged audiences are customers waiting to happen. They want what you have. They need what you can provide. A perfect example of this is a very simple question. Are you asking people to engage? "Don't forget to comment below with [whatever awesome takeaway]" or "We took the hard part out and made this tweet for you to share." This does get more complicated as you delve deeper and deeper into why people engage, but you get the drift.
Not so fun fact. Studies have proven that you have to get in front of someone seven times before you stick in their brain. SEVEN FLIPPIN' TIMES. That's a ton of exposure for one person. How are you getting your brand in front of that same person seven times? Luckily, you can make goals for that. Setting goals for exposure can be anything from collaborations with people that you know have a higher traffic rate than you do to posting your blog consistently and being smart about it (SEO and fun stuff like that).
As you can see, any goal you set should have an impact and should be related to what you actually want for you, your business, and your lifestyle. It has a defined purpose and propels you forward while keeping you super focused.
Pessimism, Optimism, and Richard Branson
When setting goals, don't be afraid to think not just big, but huge. I decided about a year ago that I want to be Richard Branson when I grow up. Not just because he's loaded and has time to kitesurf on a Tuesday, but because he has something that I want for myself. Freedom. And when setting your goals, go big. Always go big.
Pessimism is a terrible goal setting strategy. You undersell yourself. You undersell your business. And worst of all, you accomplish a lot less in way more time. How is that helpful at all? If you are familiar with The Sound of Music (if you aren't, go familiarize yourself now. Like stop reading and go) then you know, dear Maria, that all you need is confidence.
Optimism is better. Optimism allows you to think a little bigger, not undersell yourself, respect your company's value and perhaps accomplish something really worth it. It allows you to really dig into what you want for your company and you life and pan something out of it. But let's face it, you can do more. You can always do more. You're incredible and worth doing more for.
And that brings me to Richard Branson. Do you think that he thought one day he was going to be running the Virgin empire when he was sitting in jail for selling untaxed records out of the back of his van? I'm going to say probably not. But you don't have to be behind bars to make the choice to want it all. You can make the choice right now to grow up to be your successful individual of choice and make it happen. Want to know why? Read on, friend.
The Power of Working Backward
You've decided that you are going to be Jay-Z when you grow up. Makes sense. He is a multi-faceted businessman with multiple streams of income, a family and a legacy to call his own. Good choice. But how do you make that happen? Well, this is where the fun part is. You picture yourself living the life you want to live and BOOM, it happens.
Everyone laughed there right? I know I did. It really is fun, but nowhere near that easy. Think of this as a pyramid. Your Jay-Z goal is at the tippy top shining like a jewel from The Mummy series and you can see it from the ground with perfect clarity. But that tippy top is twenty stories away. How in the heck are you going to get there?
Thank goodness for working backward. Start with Jay-Z. Then figure out from there three smaller goals before that. Then three for each of those. Then three for each of those. You see where this is going. But soon enough, you're standing on the ground looking at every little goal you need to accomplish to be Jay-Z and they are all doable. And if you're super smart, which I know you are, you've got time frames picked and how you're going to get there all mapped out.
Go Forth and Set Goals
I am a stresser. I stress about stuff that doesn't even exist yet. I stress over everything. My mother has said to me for years, "Nicolina, how do you eat an elephant?" And while I would never want to eat an elephant, the answer is pretty simple. One bite at a time. Nothing is too big if broken down into manageable pieces and that can be really hard to do, especially if you're like me and stress about the fact that there is an elephant to begin with. But I have something to share with you. I made myself a goal planner that I have dubbed The Ultimate Goal Planner. This handy dandy guy is packed full of hints, organizing sheets, and goal setting magic. I made this for me, but I want to share it with you because I made something that really helps me see the forest for the trees and when you want to grow up to be Richard Branson, you need to be able to see every leaf.
Who do you want to grow up to be? Share below in the comments with a why.