You’ve probably made a whole slew of new year’s resolutions by now — to lose weight, save more money and otherwise to make 2014 an even better year than last. But don’t limit this annual rite to just your personal life — apply it to your business, too.
It’s not just about achieving the goals themselves. Knowing your end goal, and figuring out how exactly you’ll get there, can catalyze much-needed changes along the way to your approach, your messaging, even the very structure of your business.
To jump-start the new business year, we talked to three entrepreneurs, both seasoned and new, about how they use goals to help grow and strengthen their businesses.
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Linda Pophal founded marketing communication consulting firm Strategic Communications, based in Wisconsin, in 2008. Her goal when she left her previous, six-figure-salary position was to generate the same level of income, which, she says, took her three years to achieve. In 2013, she earned double that revenue, and in 2014 she’s aiming for even more growth. Here’s how goal-setting has affected her bottom line.
The biggest boost to my revenue came through setting process goals and putting numbers around them. Every week, I look at the dollar value of new projects I need to bring in, of billings I need to complete and revenue dollars I need to generate. Those figures themselves are based on my annual revenue goals. From there, I find a way to track my progress, and that means finding a way to measure what I’m doing. If I’m trying to bring in new projects, that means I set goals for number of cold calls made, of leads generated and of proposals sent. For one particular client’s PR, I might set a certain number of news releases to generate or placements to achieve.
Quantifying things this way enables you to respond quickly when something changes -- a project wraps up, you lose an account, etc. You can see exactly what level of value you need from, say, new clients and direct your prospecting efforts accordingly. A ‘side benefit’ of this is that it helps to ensure that I leverage the value of my time most effectively. Fewer, higher-paying projects makes more sense than more, lower-paying projects.
Tracking my process this way allows me to measure my outcomes as well. And at the end of the day, that’s the real goal beyond the process goals.