How happy are you with the way you typically set goals for your business? Do you keep your goals once you’ve set them, or do you struggle to follow through? In my last post, I outlined the crucial first step in the goal-setting process: quarterly review. Today, I’m walking you through what to do once you’ve completed your review, and you’re ready to sit down and set your goals.
Most people are actually pretty bad at setting goals: they tend to default to one of two options, neither of which are great. The first option is to set a goal that is so easy to reach, that there’s no real challenge involved. Then they don’t end up seeing any real growth, because the goal wasn’t ambitious enough. With the other option, some folks set goals that are too ambitious, to the point where they’re almost impossible to reach. Then they get easily discouraged because they never feel like they’re getting anywhere. Most entrepreneurs fall into the second category, in my experience.
This is why it’s so important to look at real data before you set your goals, and then to make sure the goals you set are intentional and logical as well as aspirational.
Not One Goal, But Three: Good/Better/Best
Earlier in my career as an entrepreneur and CEO, I participated in Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year goal-setting program. During this time, I learned about the concept of good/better/best goals. I still use this process in my own goal-setting, and I encourage it for my clients as well.
In this type of goal, you have three levels:
- A good goal is one that would yield a satisfactory result, and reaching it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. With this type of goal, you should be able to reach it around 80-90% of the time, barring unforeseen circumstances. You should be willing to bet a thousand dollars on reaching this goal, but it shouldn’t be so easy that reaching it is just an absolute default guarantee.
- A better goal is something that will be a stretch, but also still possible. You should definitely feel like you’re pushing yourself to be able to reach this goal, but in the end, you should actually reach it between 40 and 50% of the time. This type of goal is possible, but not easy.
- A best goal is one where if you reached it, you would probably pass out from the excitement. It’s still feasible, but very unrealistic. Reaching a goal like this only happens 5-15% of the time, because several factors have to line up for you to hit that goal. (Note: This is where entrepreneurs often set their only goals, and that’s why they get discouraged because they almost never actually reach those goals.)
Set the Right Types of Goals
Using the data from your review, choose one to three areas of your business that you want to work on for the coming quarter. For each area, you’re going to set a good, better, and best goal.
Before you actually write down your goal, consider this: there are only two types of goals you can set, and you will want to be intentional about the type you choose. Activity goals are things you will do, while outcome goals are results you will see. For example, an activity goal is, “I will write a newsletter every week.” An outcome goal is, “My newsletter will have a 50% open rate every week.” You can control an activity goal, but you can’t fully control an outcome goal.
Both types of goals are valid, but when you’re setting your goals, it’s important to have at least one outcome goal that will positively influence your business. The outcome goal is often just about income, and it will be tied to activities, but the outcome is the goal you should reach for.
Think about it this way: if you set an activity goal, and you do the activity, what happens next? The outcome is uncertain, but if you do not see any positive results from your efforts, you’re stuck in a holding pattern. On the other hand, if you set an outcome goal, you will naturally change up the activities you try until you find the “magic formula” that yields the outcome you were after. You’ll be more likely to achieve success because you were pursuing an outcome rather than checking an activity off your To-Do list.
For each area, you identified to work on, set a good/better/best goal, and try to make sure that most of these are outcome goals.
Check-in: Do these goals feel right for you?
If you have three major outcome goals with good/better/best levels for each one, that’s a good place to start. However, it’s important to take a look at those goals and examine them with a critical eye. Can you reasonably work toward all three goals at one time? Will reaching those goals bring you the growth or stability you’re after in your business? Is it a stretch that will challenge you without overwhelming you? Do these goals line up with your vision and mission?
One final item to consider: Is there a goal that you need to set around your own behavior, that would move your business forward? Maybe you need to look at your finances every week, delegate more work and stay out of it, or thank a different employee for something specific every day. As the CEO of your company, nobody performs an annual review for you, so you’ve got to do it for yourself. Personal development should always be part of your goal-setting process, so while you’re listing your goals, make sure to pick one thing that you could be doing better and add it to the list.
Do you want some support in setting strong goals and holding yourself accountable for working toward them?
Let’s talk about how our Quarterly Tune-Up sessions may be the perfect fit to help you set your goals and keep with them.
Click here for more information to schedule a conversation with Gwen.
Have you reached the upper limit of your productivity in your business? Are you doing all you can, but it still just doesn’t feel like you’ve grown your business to where you want it to be? If you’ve been running things as a CEO who is also the face of your business, there’s only so much growth you can handle on your own. If you’re ready to scale your business, it’s time to make some changes.
What’s Your Level-Up Goal?
The first step in scaling your business is to determine how far you want to take it. You don’t have to scale from where you are today to Amazon-like levels in the next calendar year. You get to determine how far you want your business to go, how big you want it to get, or how much income you want to earn from it. Nobody else can tell you what this goal should be; that privilege is all yours.
Once you have determined what the “next level” of business looks like for you, it’s also time to consider how much you’re willing to change. If you’re doing all you can right now and it isn’t enough to grow your business to the desired level, then something has to be different if you’re going to get over this plateau.
Here are three options for you to consider as potential scale models for your business:
Option 1: Hire More People
One of the easiest changes you can make to scale your business is to clear your own plate of everything that isn’t 100% necessary and essential for you to do. If you ARE the product or service you’re offering your clients, then you need to focus your energy on only the tasks that directly involve providing that product or service. You should spend all of your time consulting, coaching, or teaching – then hire someone else (or several people, more likely) to do everything else. This is an option to scale your business without really having to change anything about the offering; all the changes happen behind the scenes, where your clients and customers won’t even realize they’re occurring.
If you’ve done that and it still isn’t enough, then the other hiring option involves actually outsourcing some of your services to other people. You can bring on more coaches, consultants, or teachers and train them to provide the same services you’ve been providing. This way you can serve more clients and keep the same offering without having to work 70 hours a week to do it. If you go with this option, you may have to change your sales pages and product names to make it clear that not every client will be working with you directly.
Option 2: Change Your Offering
If you’re not comfortable hiring other people to work with your clients, another option is to change the product or service you’re offering. If you’ve been providing 1-on-1 services or custom solutions to every client, you can grow by changing those parameters. Instead of 1-on-1, offer group coaching sessions. If you have already been working with groups, consider booking larger venues or combining more than one group into the same training. This way you can deliver the same information to a larger group of people at once and make more money for each session that you offer.
Another idea is that Instead of delivering your services in person, you can offer them online. Either film yourself and create a free-standing product (like an online class or a self-paced workshop), or still do real-time events but cut down on your travel time and expenses by offering them via Zoom instead of face-to-face.
Option 3: The Best of Both
The third option is to combine options one and two to find the solution that works best for your business. You could hire people to conduct online services while you still travel and offer them in-person for a higher rate. You could let your clients start off by working with an associate, and then they can “graduate” to a higher level and work with you at a higher price point. You could convert your offerings to self-paced, online courses and sell those at a lower price point while still offering in-person, live events for folks who prefer that option and are willing to pay more for it.
Which One is Right for You?
The right solution is the one that feels the most right for you and your business. If one of these options scares you, that doesn’t necessarily make it the wrong one; it may be that it’s time to take a deep breath and take that plunge. On the other hand, if one of these options feels like it isn’t authentic for your business, then that one is definitely wrong. One of the best parts of running your own company is that YOU get to decide what is right for you and your business, and set your goals accordingly.
If you’d like some help figuring out how to scale your business, or which scaling method is best for you, click here to book a call with me. I’d love to help!
Groundhog Day has always been one of the “strange” holidays celebrated in the US, passing each year mostly unnoticed until the release of the 1993 movie by the same name. Suddenly, the day had a whole new meaning. What would you do if you kept repeating the same day over?
Since its release, Groundhog Day has been one of my favorites – I have watched it so many times, I can practically say the entire dialog along with the movie. Although it’s a comedy (possibly Bill Murray’s best), there are still many great lessons tucked away among all the laughs and one-liners.
Marketing has always been one of my weaker areas when it comes to running a business; it has just never come easily to me to figure out how to sell what I make to the right people. Recently I came to the realization that maybe that’s because I was trying to make my business fit into someone else’s idea of what marketing should look like.
My strength has always been in the area of relationships. If you’ve read any of my work in the past then you probably know that I’m an off-the-charts extrovert, and I work best when I’m working with another person (live, and IN person if possible, or at least face-to-face through the magic of Skype). I get my energy from one-on-one interactions with other business owners, and that’s when I’m able to bring my best work to the table.
The Traditional Way
The “marketing gurus” of the Internet will tell you that in order to market your products you’ve got to create a hands-off “funnel” for your customers to fall into. Get them onto your website, hook them onto your email list, put them through a series of stock emails and explain to them why they need this thing you’re selling.
If you’re talented in the area of marketing copywriting, email sales pitch composition, and sales funnel creation, then that’s a great option for you! You can probably make a lot of sales following this traditional path. If you’re more like me, though – if you work well in the moment and it’s the act of talking to someone that most inspires you to be helpful to them – then you probably aren’t having a lot of success on this traditional path, either.
Playing to My Strengths
Since I’ve struggled with traditional marketing methods, I started to think outside the box: what if, instead of following the traditional path, I made my own that allowed me to focus on my strengths? If I work well in one-on-one conversations, then that’s probably the best way for me to connect with and serve my audience!
Once I figured that out, I started holding “discovery sessions” with some small business owners who are members of a Facebook group with me. In these sessions I asked them to tell me about their business struggles, which helped me to identify the common elements of struggle in the audience I hope to serve. In order to make the sessions helpful for them as well, at the end of each one I gave them a piece of advice or an insight for them to apply in their own businesses, to help them get on the way to solving their bigger struggles.
What about YOUR strengths?
Creative marketing is about serving your audience in a way that’s authentically YOU. Here are some ideas to consider for “thinking outside the box” in your marketing adventures:
- If you’re like me and your strength is in having actual conversations, get out there and participate in events that allow you the opportunity to connect in-person, like trade shows, sales events, and conferences.
- If you find it easier to talk than to write, consider using an audio or video element in your marketing. Shoot a quick video at your desk and explain something to your audience, instead of wasting hours poring over a blog post that turns out to be mediocre because you were trying to work in a medium that isn’t your best.
- If you are a visually creative person, spice up your marketing message with visual elements! Take beautiful photos, create info-graphics, or include a free download of some sort of artistic content.
- If you like to offer quick tips and “nuggets” of information, use social media as your method of delivery. It doesn’t take long to compose a tweet, a Facebook post, or an Instagram caption, and in these single-serving moments you’ll find ways to connect with more customers.
- If you do better when you’ve got the space to really hash out an idea, use an email newsletter as your primary method of marketing communication. Take your time and deliver quality content straight to your audience members’ inboxes.
How will you incorporate a new creative marketing strategy into YOUR business? How will you play to your strengths instead of following the crowd?
If you’re feeling stuck and you’re not sure where to go from here, or how to best utilize your strengths in YOUR business, I’d be happy to talk to you in a FREE 20-minute Discovery Session, like the ones I described in this post! Click the button to get on my calendar.
To be successful at most things, we have to be good learners. Unfortunately, as adults we have bought lies and falsehoods into our own minds that ultimately prevent us from achieving the best results.
I have spent the past 15 years focused almost exclusively on teaching and training adults in a variety of areas. From hobbies like knitting and skiing to “important” topics like business finance and project management, the challenges with adult learners are almost always the same.
As adults we struggle to learn new things, not because we’re incapable, but because we have bought into the lies that we continually perpetuate.
Lie #1 – Adults should be able to learn quickly.
This is based on the fact that we have experience and so we should be able to apply those experiences to new learning environment. To some degree this is true, but only if the experience actually applies to the new thing you’re learning.
Truth #1 – Children generally learn faster because learning is their full-time job.
Honestly, the most useful experience in learning quickly is continually going through the process of learning. People regularly engaged in learning new things generally learn faster than those who only try new experience occasionally. Being patient with yourself is critical to learning success; move past this lie by reminding yourself that you’re not going too slowly when you’re learning something new – you’re going at the pace that’s right for you. No matter how long it takes, if it’s worth learning then it’s worth taking your time with it.
Lie #2 – Adults shouldn’t need as much time to master new skills.
Once again, there is a grain of truth in this statement, but only if the person already has skills that are closely aligned with the new thing being learned. The reality is that the frustration of not achieving success in short order often hinders the learning process, thus extending the learning period. In other words, you are your own worst enemy in this area!
Truth #2 – Everyone requires practice, repetition, and effort when learning new skills.
Practice and repetition are the keys for every learning environment, no matter how old you are. Hearing it once, doing it once, looking at it once is never really going to be enough. Plan on investing the time to practice and improve any new skill, and the process will ultimately go more quickly. Another tip is to take good notes as you go through the process, so that you can follow those notes next time and help yourself learn more quickly!
Lie #3 – Adults can figure things out for themselves.
Although this can be true, it is rarely if ever the most effective mechanism for learning something new. Trial and error is a long standing method for solving problems in a pinch, but it is rarely the quickest or best alternative.
Truth #3 – Utilizing skilled instruction will shorten your learning curve and often provide insights you would not have discovered on your own.
Even when we work with education professionals, there will still be ample opportunity to struggle through challenges and “figure things out” for yourself. Hiring a professional instructor allows you to jump over a significant number of barriers early, so that you will find improvement and success more quickly. This allows you to focus on honing your skills instead of figuring out all the key elements on your own.
Lie #4 – Adults don’t really need to learn anything new.
If you don’t want to ever have anything change or improve in your world, this might be a true statement. But since the world around us is constantly changing, it is not really practical. If in no other area, technology is constantly changing and learning new things is the only way to keep up.
Truth #4 – To continue to be relevant, learning new things is a minimum requirement.
When we leave school we often think our learning days are over, but actually, they have just begun. The difference is not the requirement to learn, but the process and environment in which the learning takes place. Committing to be a life-long learner makes the process significantly easier (and generally makes you more interesting). Think of this time in your life as the opportunity to learn all the things they never taught you in school that you wish you knew, and to explore the topics that interest you or benefit you the most.
Lie #5 – Gaining new knowledge and understanding is all there is to learning.
Knowledge and understanding are critical to learning, but they are ultimately only the first step in the process. Knowledge in and of itself is useless; its true value comes in using it. Turn your knowledge into ACTION, and that’s where you’ll see the value.
Truth #5 – Real learning doesn’t happen until action takes place.
Without application of knowledge, the things you learn don’t have any real value. Just learning isn’t enough – the adventure begins when you DO something with all that knowledge.
Do you want to learn something new in 2017?
There are plenty of books out there that can help you improve your business, but sometimes it can be hard to sort through the sea of published volumes and find one that will work for YOUR business. Then, of course, there’s the trouble with keeping up with your reading and actually using what you’ve read to benefit your business!
That’s where my Small Biz Book Club comes in – sign up today and be notified once a month when I choose a new book to cover with the club members. You’ll have the option to sign up to participate in a read-along of that book, with actionable steps and apply-it-to-your-business notes to keep you going along the way! Enter your information into the form below to sign up.
Confidence is the key to taking on new challenges, meeting your goals, and achieving success. There is no doubt that hard work and perseverance also play a critical role, but confidence is the kick in the pants that we need to get the ball rolling.
During the early years, fearlessness and the ignorance of the challenges ahead often are the tools that get us started on a path to success. But as life continues, the pitfalls or outright failures remind us that we are not indestructible. Experience teaches us that not everything will be “easy.” Ultimately our own doubts, fears and negative self-talk begin to hold us back.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Confidence to the rescue!!
Almost everything we take on without hesitation is a result of confidence. Think of any new, different, or unknown situation or project you took on without a pause – why was that? The answer is simple: you had confidence in your abilities going in.
Everyone has SOMETHING that they are confident about. The more of those things we have, the more confident we appear to the outside world.
Confidence and success go hand-in-hand.
Confidence Is a Skill
Most people believe that confidence is a gift, given out in great quantities to only the chosen few. But confidence is a skill that can be developed and improved for anyone willing to invest in the effort.
Unfortunately, like all skills, greatly improved results are not instantaneous. Instead, it takes focused effort, practice, and a willingness invest time to see significant results. However, if you are willing to make the investment, the results will transform your life in ways you can hardly imagine.
The following are three simple steps to begin developing the skill of confidence:
1. Identify your superpower(s), skills, and other talents you already have. If your first response to this idea is, “I don’t have any superpowers,” I can assure you, you are wrong. Maybe not in the “leap tall buildings” category, but we all have some area in which we are exceptional. The problem is that it comes so naturally and easily, that we don’t think of it as unique. (If you still need help figuring this one out, get our Superpower Identification Worksheet here!)
List all of the abilities, skills and talents that you have, including the areas that you already have confidence. This is not a time to be modest. You don’t have to be the “best” or the “most” for it to be on the list. If someone else appreciates it, then it should probably be on the list. The list also doesn’t have to be complete, just give yourself 15 minutes and put as many things down as come to mind.
2. Own everything that is on the list. This sounds simple enough, but it is often the point where we struggle. True confidence is belief in yourself. Not just words, but deep heartfelt belief. If you aren’t comfortable stating your ability to another person without feeling like an impostor, then you don’t own it.
Make a notation on the list of which powers you truly own and which are works in progress. For those still in progress, ask yourself why you were able to list it, but not own it. What would it take for you to fully own that particular skill or talent?
3. Add or fully own one new skill or talent every week. This step takes intention, but only requires a few minutes every day.
If you are trying to fully own an item from the list, identify it at the beginning of the week. Pay attention to any time it you utilize it within your day or someone else acknowledges it in the course of conversation. How can that activity help you more fully own this particular skill or talent? At the end of the week, test it as we did initially in step #2 until it changes status to “fully owned.”
If you fully own everything on your list, look to add something new. We often have many more skills and talents than we can initially list in the 15 minute exercise in step #1. Make the goal to note just one new item within the week. If you can fully own it, great. If not, go through the “ownership” process until it has been fully embraced.
As the list grows, so will your confidence. With confidence you will see how you can leverage the skill and talents you already possess to solve problems and achieve success in areas in which you are less familiar.
With each win your confidence will continue to grow and the process continues.
When is a time that starting with confidence ultimately led to success for you?