According to recent research by CoSchedule, marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success.
Now, that's an impressive stat - but it's hardly a shocking one. I mean, goal setting is business 101, right?
Actually, in a recent study reported by Inc. a massive 80% of small business owners admitted to not tracking their goals.
Look, if you fall into that 80%, there's no judgment here, but I want to help you to get back on track because... well, wouldn't you like to be part of that first statistic instead?
The first hurdle when it comes to goal setting is to know what type of goals you should be focusing on. It helps if they're SMART, but what should they actually be about? The fact is, there's no set rule book when it comes to this stuff and it will often depend on your business AND how you choose to run it. So this post is meant for inspiration rather than for instruction. Chances are you should be setting goals for at least some of these categories - but chances are equal that you shouldn't be setting goals for ALL of them.
I'm a big believer in keeping things as simple as possible. The second we over-complicate our business we start to feel overwhelmed and once that happens, our goal setting becomes more hindrance than help....
This is ALWAYS where I begin my goal setting process and it's unlikely that any business owner will want to ignore setting goals around their finances. After all, if you're not making money, then you don't really have a business at all...
As for which financial goals you'll want to track, well here are a few ideas for you to toy with:
Personally, I like the idea of setting a goal around profit because this forces you to monitor both income AND expenses. You could be making £1 million in revenue, but if you're spending £2 million in expenses, then your business is in pretty bad shape...
2) Audience growth
In order to run a viable business, you need people to know you exist! You also need those people to be your ideal clients. The bigger your audience (of ideal clients), the more leads you can generate and the more clients you'll get.
Your audience can be tracked in a number of ways - here are a few ideas:
Choose what makes most sense for your business.
A word of warning: The QUALITY of your audience is more important than the size. If you have an audience of 100,000 people who don't care about your business, this is of no value to you.
An audience of 1000 ideal clients is worth SO MUCH MORE!
3) Engagement Goals
Once someone knows your business exists, you want to start to build a relationship with them - and that involves some kind of engagement.
If a potential customer isn't engaging with your content then it can be a sign that they're not that interested. Conversely, if someone is always engaging, then that's generally a good indication that they're ready to buy.
Here are some types of engagement that you might want to measure and set goals around:
4) Sales Goals
The number of sales you're making is another pretty fundamental goal for any business - but this isn't the only type of sales goal you may want to set. Here are a few other examples for you to consider:
5) Email Marketing Goals
If you use email marketing in your business (and if you're not, you should be!) then it makes sense to set some email marketing goals so that you can track your performance and improve it.
The most two common goals for email marketing are:
However, you might also want to set goals around:
6) Social Media Goals
There should be some kind of warning label for social media goals... 'Here lies obsession' or 'social media follows don't define you'...
We've all been there, right?
Frantically checking our <Insert social media channel> follows every few minutes to see if we have any new ones...
Wildly signing up for every 'like for like' or 'follow for follow' we can find
Inviting Uncle Frank to like our FB page for new mums because hey, a like's a like...
Yep, if you're not careful, social media goals are where your self-confidence (& integrity) goes to do die.
So before we dive in, I want you to repeat after me:
QUALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN QUANTITY
That's right, sing it loud Sister!
Ok, now I've got that off my chest, let's take a look at some SM goals you might set in your biz...
7) Growth Goals
'Growth' is a pretty subjective term. It can mean different things to different people, but it can be a great way to measure the success of your business and so well worth setting goals around too.
Here are some examples of the type of growth you might choose to track:
8) Customer Service Goals
Ooh, now this is one of my favourites! I could rattle on about customer service ALL DAY LONG!
Before I started working in marketing, my roles were all in Customer Service. I started out working in a call centre, then I moved to answering emails, handling complaints and finally managing customer service teams.
I knew our customers inside and out because I had spent so much time talking to them!
When I moved to my first marketing role, I realised what a huge advantage it was to have such in depth knowledge of our customers. I was in a unique position to know exactly what they wanted - and didn't want. I knew what frustrated them and I knew what they loved about our product.
NEVER underestimate the power of great customer service. Never become so separated from your clients that you forget they're people and start treating them like numbers.
If you focus on providing the best possible experience for people, everything else will follow.
And if you're not sure where to start, here are some goals you might set:
9) Client Satisfaction Goals
Client Satisfaction goes hand in hand with Customer Service of course and goals tend to be a bit harder to set because it's tough to measure 'satisfaction' in a quantitative way.
That being said, this is an important metric to track. After all, if your clients aren't satisfied, that's something you need to know about, right?!
Here's some inspiration when it comes to setting goals for happy clients...
10) Employee Goals
If you have anyone working for you (whether they be a permanent member of staff or a part-time VA or freelancer, it's important that they have goals too of course, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about actual business goals which relate to employees.
Not sure what I mean? Here are some examples:
11) 'Mission' Goals
This one's a bit different for sure - but most business owners had a 'mission' in mind when they started their business and I bet you're the same!
Sure, you want to earn more money and you want more flexible working conditions - but there's more to it than that isn't there?
You want your business to impact the world in some way right? It may be in a big way, or in a more subtle way - but you want to make a difference.
So, it just makes sense to turn that into an actual business goal, right??
Here are a few 'mission' goals to give you inspiration...
If you're struggling to think how a 'mission' goal might apply to your business then I'd love to help! Pop me an email to email@example.com and tell me a bit about your business. I'll reply with some ideas for you on what YOUR mission goal could be! (Seriously!)
12) Work/Life Balance Goals
Here, we're talking again about your 'why' but this time instead of focusing outwards to your impact on the world, we're looking inwards towards the impact on your own life.
For sure, we have big dreams to make a difference, but we also want our businesses to improve our own lives too, right (and I'm not just talking money here - but that can be a work/life balance goal too).
Think about the impact you want your business to have on your life - and the impact you DON'T want it to have, then build that into your business goals.
Here are a few ideas:
This list could go on and on and will be very different from person to person, depending on your own priorities and life.
How many goals do I need???
I mentioned this at the start of this post, but I want to repeat it again now. Please don't try to set ALL of these goals in your business. It's too much and will completely overwhelm you.
For now, pick no more than 5 key areas to focus on and don't worry about choosing the 'wrong' goals. ANY goals are good and will help you to stay on track. As you continue down your path, you may choose to change some (or all!) of your goals and that's fine too.
If you're feeling stuck then pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd love to help.
Want my guide to hitting 5k months with an audience under 500?
Inside this guide, I share my Freedom Framework where I show you:
- The best kind of offer to sell your small audience
- The simple way to grow your audience and generate consistent lead flow and clients.
- The one thing to focus on to convert more of your ideal clients into actual clients