Raise your hand if you’ve set a New Year’s resolution you didn’t stick to? Well, psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews conducted a study that presents some interesting statistics on the idea of setting and sticking to goals. She found ‘…that people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.’ That’s right…33%. Now, what if you could apply this same logic to make your business up to 33% better? I think now is the perfect time to put your butt in a chair and start writing down your business goals. I’ve been recommending this to my clients and while this little trick may seem like a no-brainer, it actually works.
WHY WRITING YOUR GOALS DOWN WORKS
Writing down your business goals makes you accountable to yourself, which is good. Having to share and update people on your goals makes you accountable to other people, which takes it to a whole other level. The good news is that writing and sharing your goals doesn’t mean you have to suddenly achieve huge things overnight. First, you can set a larger, longer-term goal, like what you want for your business a year from now. With that larger goal in mind, you can break it down into smaller goals that are totally achievable. The idea is that you’re building towards the larger goal by achieving the smaller goals. Here are some other added bonuses of this exercise:
- It’s easier to keep your eyes on the prize when the goal has been clearly identified with a timeline.
- You will waste less time, money, and energy when you and your team know exactly what you’re working towards.
- By sharing your goals and updating people on progress, they will want to help.
HOW TO SET GOALS
The idea is to pick things that are measurable and to give each goal a specific due date. With measurable items like a dollar amount or percent, it will be crystal clear whether or not that goal was reached by that due date. While the specific goals of each business will vary, here are ten common ones to get you started:
- Revenue: Who doesn’t like increases in revenue? I will increase revenue by X dollars (or X%) by DD/MM/YY.
- Subscribers: Subscribers often lead to new sales. I will increase the number of subscribers by X (or X%) by DD/MM/YY.
- Number of Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter followers: I will increase the number of ‘Likes’ or ‘followers’ by X by DD/MM/YY.
- Costs: I will reduce this particular cost (ex. cost to acquire a new customer) by X dollars (or X%) by DD/MM/YY.
- Repeat visits: I will increase repeat visits by X (or X%) by DD/MM/YY.
- Conversions: I will increase my online purchasing (or conversion rate) by X% by DD/MM/YY.
- Website or store traffic: I will increase the number of new visits to my website (or store) by X% by DD/MM/YY.
- Number of events: Meeting new people increases the number of leads for your business. I will attend X number of events by DD/MM/YY.
- Number of paid memberships: I will increase the number of paid memberships by X% by DD/MM/YY.
- Leads: I will increase the number of business leads by X by DD/MM/YY.
Related Post: 3 Questions To Ask When Starting a Business
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
In order to know if you’ve reached your goal, you need a reference point for later comparison. If your goal is to increase the number of Facebook ‘Likes’ your business page has, for example, you need know how many ‘Likes’ you have before you start. Once you hit that goal date, you can say with certainty that you reached your goal. For example, if you have 1000 ‘Likes’ and your goal was to increase that to 5000 ‘Likes’ by December 31, 2014, you will know on that day, without question, whether or not you were successful.
EXAMPLE: Sarah’s Spinning Studio
Sarah’s spinning studio has been doing well, but not as well as she had hoped. Her big, scary goal is to increase revenue by 15% in one year (July 15, 2015). In order to achieve this, she is going to break this larger goal down into a few smaller goals including:
- Increase the number of first visits from 200 to 225 per month.
- Increase the average conversion rate of turning first time visitors into annual memberships from 5% to 8% by January 15, 2015.
Together, achieving these two smaller goals will help her reach her larger goal of a 15% revenue increase.
Even if you don’t reach your goals every time, you will still be better off. You’ll have more, and hopefully better information to work with that can help you to adjust, try again, and ultimately reach those goals!
Have questions about how to do this for your business? Get in touch!
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Photo by Takashi(aes256)