In order to succeed in business, you need to learn how to set business goals. Why? Without goals, you will never know if you are on track, or be able to create the right kind of strategy to reach them. If you don’t know where you’re headed, how do you expect to get there? Let’s look at what your business is probably like right now.
You have no idea how much you’re going to make next month, also known as projections. You aren’t entirely sure what you made this month if we’re being honest. You’re just glad the Paypal notifications are coming in, if they did at all. You have this overly-ambitious to-do list that you don’t know how to prioritize, and you probably have multiple notebooks, apps and tools that you were convinced were going to get you together. But they didn’t, because you actually have no clue what is going on half of the time between juggling business and your job/life/bae/friends/kids etc. You have never done a business or blog audit, and make most of your decisions based on instinct and what you read on the Internet, rather than facts. Translation: Most areas in your Google Analytics are dusty, you don't have a marketing plan to follow, and your metrics scare and confuse you more than they inform you.
Does this sound familiar? It has to be, because I used to be you. I also used to be stressed out and struggling. Now, I’m able to help people, pay my bills AND have peace of mind every single day. My accounts are profitable, I know what I need to pay in taxes each and every quarter, and I have this renewed sense of clarity and focus in my business that I never had before. So what changed? I learned how to properly set business goals and stopped making 2 critical mistakes.
The 2 Most Common Mistakes That Keep Us from Reaching Business Goals
Mistake 1: Not being fully committed to your goals.
The number one reason you’re not reaching your goals is because you have yet to fully commit to reaching them. They look cute in your notebook, but you’re not really about this life. The truth is, you’re letting self-doubt and fear stop you from trying. Because when you really try, failing feels like it will be the end of the world. But it’s not. I share this in my mindset transformation challenge, The Glow Up. You have to want it more than you’re afraid of it. Your lack of conviction is causing you to leave goals unattained, because you’re constantly starting over or never start at all. Shift your mindset to a growth mindset, and be open to doing what it takes to reach the level you aspire to be at.
Mistake 2: You aren’t tracking the right metrics.
You haven’t reached your business goals because you’ve been tracking the wrong things. You have let yourself get consumed by insignificant vanity metrics like followers, page views, time on site, and likes. Why don’t these really matter? Because vanity metrics can easily be manipulated, and they don’t help us make business decisions. The metrics you need to track are the ones that indicate the health of your business.
You should know some key things such as:
The conversion rates for your products, services and funnels
The cost of acquiring a customer
The referral source that drives the most traffic
The channel that drives the most sales
The channel that is most engaging for your audience
Your best performing content
I track all this using my custom built spreadsheet, pulling in the information from my Google analytics and Squarespace ecommerce.
You might be like: “Allllllllright Emm, chill out. You lost me at customer acquisition channel.” My bad. I get carried away with this stuff. As a digital marketer, my job is to connect these dots for the brands that I work for, and I’ve transferred that over into small business. Just because you don’t run a multi-million dollar company, (yet) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply the same practices. I want you to learn how to use your data to make better decisions in your business. But first, you need to get organized so you can actually find this data and have the mental capacity to process it all.
How can you properly set business goals?
First thing’s first, you have to stop everything that you’re doing. You been doing too much, and you need to take a seat. Yes, you need to take a huge step back, so that you can make a comeback. Take a blogging break. To get organized in my business, I take December off every single year. I don't take on new clients, projects, or create new content for 60 days. I create my marketing plan for the following year and take time to dive into the metrics of my business. We spend so much time consuming information and trying new strategies, that we overlook the best resource that we have: our existing data.
You need to reverse engineer your goals. Outline what you want to accomplish for the year and work backwards from there. Deciding what you want long-term is great, but it’s only the first step. You need to break down those business goals into monthly and weekly milestones. Those bite-sized, short-term goals are what hold you accountable and allow you to assess if you’re on track.
Business Goal Breakdown Example
Here’s an example: In 2016, I set a goal to make $10,000 from book sales. What that really meant was that each month, I needed to make about $833 or sell 45 books. If we want to break it down even further, that means that each week, I would have to sell at least 11 books. When I know that I am striving for 11 books a week, that makes my goal a lot more specific and digestible. But the goal is just the beginning. The real strategy is figuring out how many people I need to drive to my site in order to make that happen. If we don't get people to our site to become aware of what we are selling, the sales will never happen.
The conversion rate for my sales page is about 8%. That means that out of all the people that visit that specific sales page, 8% end up buying. Based on that percentage, I know that I need to drive at least 500 people to the sales page each month, to reach my book sales goal of 45. This is where I start to think about social media posts and ads, email marketing, blog posts, pop-ups and other mechanisms to get people to the sales page. As the month goes on, I know when to ramp up my marketing efforts or when to try something different depending on how my sales are doing.
How to Set a Monthly Business Goal
- Decide what you want to accomplish for the year and why. How much money you want to make, how much merchandise you want to sell, how many people do you want in your class etc.
Divide your goal number by 12. That’s your monthly goal. If you want your weekly goal, divide your monthly goal by 4.
Calculate your conversion rate by dividing your page views by the number of sales you had.
Take your monthly or weekly goal and divide it by your conversion rate. This will help you identify the amount of page views you will need to reach your goals.
Break your goals down into tasks. How are you going to achieve your goal every week/month?
Have an accountability system. How are you going to assess if you’re on track?