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Setting Goals

Revamped Our Business Goal Setting Process

We did a poor job of achieving our goals last year so I completely revamped our business goal setting process. So far, it’s working really well so I thought I would share it.

Business Goal Setting Process

  1. Focus on what’s most important – There are fewer goals now (only three) and they’re much simpler (amount of net profit for the year, number of unique visitors per day, number of opt-in email subscribers). These are still very specific, measurable, and have deadlines which is critical. There’s no way of knowing if you’ve met your goals if you can’t measure progress after all.
  2. Don’t fail to plan – I added a plan (a still evolving plan) to go along with those goals. This plan focused on the specific strategies, then the specific tactics, and then the specific tasks needed to achieve our goals. It should change slightly from month to month as tasks are completed successfully, new opportunities arise, etc. All of the basics are there though.
  3. Have a clear reason for doing everything – Everything in the plan was linked together. So completing a particular task helps complete its parent tactic. Completing a particular tactic helps complete its parent strategy. Executing on a particular strategy helps meet its parent goal.
  4. Stay grounded in reality – All of this was reviewed from the bottom up to make sure it was realistic. It’s still going to be difficult to achieve these goals but they’re actually less aggressive than I’d originally planned. The reason is that there was no way the original plan would work. Rather than set us up for failure, I’m being honest with myself and trying to set us up for success.
  5. Regularly measure results – One of the tasks is to measure progress monthly. This has a specific criteria for a passing and failing grade also. A simple checklist will tell us if we’re on target for the year or need to step it up.

A Small Example Plan

Your plan shouldn’t be so specific that you spend all of your time managing it. It shouldn’t be so general that you can’t measure anything either. You could get a little more or a little less specific but I think the end result should look like a fuller version of the following.

  • Goal – $X of net profit for the year.
  • Strategy – Expand email marketing efforts to increase net profit by Y%.
  • Tactic – Increase the size of the opt-in email list for site Z by W to reach Y% more customers.
  • Task – Offer a free how-to guide on site Z for the first W people who opt-in.

Obviously, nothing is ever as simple as that (and it’s not like your competitors twiddling their thumbs) but hopefully you get the idea. You’re probably already headed in the right direction and know what you need to do. This just adds more focus so you, hopefully, waste less time.

Get To Work

It’s going to be a lot of work meeting our goals but now that’s all it is. There isn’t a lot of mystery in what we need to do. It’s just work. I feel pretty confident that, if we do the work, we’ll succeed.

Everyone is different but this process is helping me out a lot. Let us know if it helps you too (or if you’ve found something better).

Meeting our small internet business goals this month.

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2 comments for “Revamped Our Business Goal Setting Process”

  1. […] thousands of tiny decisions and several large decisions when you’re calling the shots. Your business goals govern which path you follow. For us, the main goal, at the root of everything else, is freedom. We […]

    Posted by Starting The Right Small Internet Business For You - Part 1 | Small Internet Business Blog | March 31, 2009, 11:46 pm
  2. […] changed our business goal setting process at the beginning of the year and I’m happy to report that it’s working well. Both of us […]

    Posted by Making Changes To Our Business Goal Setting Process | Small Internet Business Blog | June 12, 2009, 11:21 am

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