How to work backward to set your Business Goals
Today I want to share my thinking process for setting smart business goals with you. I like to work backward 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 see that level of income regularly, I’m ready to order 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 eBook, I would have to make an extra 60 sales per month. From there, I can work backward. If I know that on average, one out of 10 email subscribers buys the book within the first month of signing up,
I need to add 600 new subscribers to my list, which in turn takes 4,000 new, unique 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 information product or eBook 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 good $100 product, it would only take six 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 site delivering content in your niche, or I could look into affiliate offers with recurring commissions. Depending on your market, there’s a lot out there that you can promote.
Now I have a concrete goal to work towards, which is convincing 20 people to sign up for the membership. My daily tasks will include things like creating content that includes an offer to the membership site, a short report to build a targeted sub-lists of people interested in whatever your niche is. Then I start driving traffic to the content and the opt-in offer and start regularly mailing about the 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 other bloggers k 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 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 20 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, the 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.
Why you have to write your business goals down:
Throughout this short little series on setting business goals, I’ve mentioned the importance of writing your goals down. That isn’t just because it’s easy to forget. There’s a lot more to it, and there are some fundamental reasons why you have to write them down. I thought in today’s blog post I would 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 write those goals down, you’re ten 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%.
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 in your brain. 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 tiny percentage of people take 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.