I've always been a bit of a dreamer - right from when I was a little girl and asked my Mum if she would come to centre court and watch me when I played at Wimbledon to now, when each year I excitedly scribble down my New Year's Resolutions.
"THIS will be the year that I get fit
THIS will be the year I go to The Maldives
THIS will be the year that I write that book..."
Do you know how many of those resolutions I actually kept to?
Not a single one.
You see, the fun part is the dreaming! Imagining myself a couple of sizes smaller and smugly heading off to the gym and posting my runs on social media....
Closing my eyes and almost feeling the glow of the sun and the white sands between my toes as I drift away to The Maldives...
Picturing the moment when I proudly announce the publication of my own book to friends and family...
SO much fun, right? I'm sure you've played that game too!
Actually getting all that stuff done though? Phewf! Sounds like a lot of effort...
So how do we make sure that the goals we set for our business end up being more than just dreams and instead, act as a compass, helping us to navigate our way from just wishing to actually achieving?
In this post, I'm going to share how I set goals for my own business. I know my tendency to live in the dream world rather than actually doing so I keep things really simple, specific and easy to put into practice.
If you want next year to be the year you actually stick to your business goals and achieve them, then you're in the right place my friend!
Goal Setting 101: Start with the monaaayy
Look, if you're running a business, you need to be earning some money mmmmkay?
So here's the very first goal you should be setting:
GOAL 1: How much money do I want to earn this year/quarter/month?
Now, this question is harder than it sounds to answer.
Here's what NOT to do
What you're NOT doing is stating what you think you might make if you keep doing what you're doing...
What you're NOT doing is choosing a number that will define your success or failure as a business (or person).
What you're NOT doing is looking at one of your industry idols, guessing what they earn and thinking wouldn't that be great...
Here's what you SHOULD do
Be practical. How much money do you actually NEED to you know, pay the bills, keep your business running and actually have a life? Be generous - we're building dreams here remember! 😉
Be ambitious. Your goals should push you to grow - not just facilitate your stagnation. Choose an amount that scares you juuuuust a little bit!
Be realistic. Yes, you want to push yourself but you don't want to set yourself up to fail right from the start. Make sure your number is a stretch, but a do-able one.
Be prepared to succeed. That may sound weird, but sometimes we set ourselves goals without believing deep down that we'll actually get there. Sound familiar?
Then when we DO get there, we can't cope! We don't feel ready. So plan for success and everything that looks like. What will it mean for your time? What will it mean for your daily schedule? Etc..
Be prepared to 'fail'. That's in quotes because the sum that you choose here DOES NOT DEFINE THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF YOUR BUSINESS. You may not achieve your goal. A lot can happen (or not happen!) in a year. In fact, the earlier on in your business you are, the harder this figure is to get right. After all, you have nothing solid to base it on yet! As you gain experience you can use figures and learnings from previous years to guide your choice but right now, you're basically just making a still fairly uneducated guess!
Be kind to yourself. The point of this goal is to inspire you, to help with your planning and to give you something to work towards. Don't let it become something that defines you and your business as a 'success' or 'failure'. You AND your business are so much more than that.
Now, break it on down...
Now you know how much revenue you want to make it's time to dig deeper into how that's going to happen. Let's keep it simple. In order to make revenue there are 3 key factors at play. You need people to know who you are (an audience), you need people to raise their hands and show interest in your products and services (leads) and then you need to convert them to customers (sales).
Let's start at the end and work backwards:
SETTING SALES GOALS
This is simple maths.
GOAL 2: How many sales do you need to make in order to achieve your revenue goal?
If you have just one revenue stream then this is easy-peasy.
If you have multiple products and services then you just create a sales goal for each and ensure that your sales goals match up to your revenue goal.
With me so far?
Sweet! Let's move on to...
SETTING LEADS GOALS
What do I mean when I talk about someone 'raising their hand and showing interest' in your business?
This is all about your email list. If someone is willing to hand over their email address to you, that's a clear sign that they want to know more. They're inviting you in and that's a hugely meaningful step in terms of getting them to convert.
It just makes sense right? You are far more likely to sell to someone who has already liked you enough to give you their email address than to someone who has just read one of your posts or liked one of your comments on Facebook...
GOAL 3: How many leads do you need to make in order to achieve your sales goal?
How to set a goal for lead generation
Working out how many sales you need to make in order to hit your revenue goal is easy. Calculating the number of subscribers you need in order to generate those sales is a little more tricky...
Once you've been going a while you can use your previous conversion rates to forecast and set goals. When you're just starting out then it's more a case of either using industry benchmarks (and this should be done with caution because there are SO MANY VARIABLES and a huge danger that you'll start defining yourself by other people's results - not good!)
OR, going with your gut.
I know this sounds like the least scientific and 'business like' way to set your goals but I honestly believe this is the best way to go until you have some hard facts to go on. And by hard facts, I mean facts about your own business. They're the only ones which actually mean anything.
The important thing here isn't the number, it's the goal. Having SOMETHING to aim at.
A starting point.
As you learn and gain experience you'll tweak that number, you'll either hit it or miss it. It doesn't matter which - what matters is the learnings you'll get from doing it.
SETTING AUDIENCE GOALS
Finally, you'll need to consider the size of your audience - and by that I mean the number of people reading your blog posts, listening to your podcasts, watching your videos and liking or following you on social media.
This is where it all begins! Someone stumbles upon some of your content, they like what they see and so they sign up to see more. Then BOOM! They know, like and trust you enough to buy what you're sellin'.
How large does your audience need to be in order to achieve your leads goal?
How to set goals for your Audience
First off, consider where your audience finds you first. This is going to be a combination of:
For each of these that are relevant, you'll then want to check what your current audience is. Here are a few examples to show you what I mean...
Blog: Monthly Visits
Social Media: Followers, group members, traffic driven to blog/podcast/video
Search: Impressions (number of times your posts are seen in search results), Traffic (driven by search to your website/video/podcast)
Next, you'll want to look at what proportion of that audience converts to become a subscriber. You'll use that information to help you set your goals for next year.
Don't worry if you don't have any figures on this yet - just use the same 'go with your gut' technique that I spoke about above.
Still with me? Now, it's time to set some goals!
When you're setting audience goals, the QUALITY of that audience is key.
An audience of 10k people who don't care about your business is worth much less than an audience of 1k ideal customers.
Your goals should be based on building an audience of IDEAL CLIENTS specifically - NOT just growing your audience at any cost....
Not sure what to prioritise?
I've created a quiz that's really going to help you get some focus.
Answer just a few short questions about your business and find out how close you are to being able to quit your 9-5 for good AND exactly what you should be prioritising for where you are now...