Written by: Melissa Gamarra, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Have you ever set a goal in your business, worked super hard and then just missed the goal post completely? You’re not alone! Everyone in the business space talks about setting goals and how to achieve them. The problem is that setting goals that are specific and measurable simply isn’t enough! You have to have a clear strategy in place and the support team available in order to move your business forward. So let’s start with what a business strategy even is.
Business strategy is probably a term you have heard before, but maybe you aren't sure what they look like or how they get put together. A business strategy is a very clear plan of action to get you from point A, your starting point, all the way to point Z, your end goal. This type of plan should detail every task that needs to be completed, your team's timeline and expectations. It should also be readily available to your team or accountability partner so that you have someone holding your feet to the fire. Now, this is all fine and sounds like a really awesome thing to have, but where do you even begin?
Unlike setting goals in an arbitrary fashion, creating a business strategy takes into consideration your history as a business owner to ensure you aren’t shooting for the moon without any fuel in your rocket. So the first step to creating a business strategy plan is to analyze your previous performance. This means looking at subscriptions, followers, purchases, clients, dollars in the door, revenue, etc. You want to make sure you know where you are starting, so you have a good idea of what is possible. For example: if you started your business yesterday, it’s probably not the greatest idea to set a goal to make $500,000 in the next 12 months.
Now, this is an extreme example, but the point is still the same. Many business owners set goals based on others' accomplishments rather than their own metrics and previous performance. This is only setting you up for failure because not only are the goals, not your own, but they might not even be realistic. I recommend looking at your businesses growth over time and come up with projections based on this. So if your business is growing by 10% every month, then take this into consideration and aim for something a bit above that number. If you are brand new to the business world, shoot for getting that first client in the next 30 days. Once you have done that, shoot for a second one in the following 30 days. See how that goes and begin setting your sights in the future based on how easily you are able to accomplish these primary goals.
Once you have looked at all the data and really gotten a feel for your current situation, it’s time to start planning. This is where we are going to talk about setting goals, yes they are a piece of this process and they obviously have a purpose. The key to setting goals is to not let them be the end all be all. When setting goals without these other steps, you are basically just throwing things at the wall and hoping they stick. So let’s jump right in! Armed with the information you gathered in step 1, it’s now time for you to decide on 3, 6, 9, and 12-month goals for your business. You don’t have to do all of these time frames, especially if you are someone who gets overwhelmed easily. Start with a three-month goal and make you plan for that amount of time and then work your way up.
When planning your first goal, your 3 month, it’s really important to think about things you want to do in the immediate. For example, you might have a course you are planning to do another launch for in the next 30-60 days. This is obviously going to be included in your planning. Maybe you had five people sign up last time you ran the course and after all your expenses, you barely broke even on the launch. This means you will want to set a 3-month goal to launch again and maybe you want to double the amount of people who enroll. This is a great goal because it is specific and takes into consideration multiple facets of your business. It’s important to note that when you are setting your goals that they need to be very specific, the more specific, the better. Being specific will help you create a plan of action later on.
Follow this same process of looking over your data, looking over current business projects, and coming up with a goal that makes sense for you for your 6, 9, and 12 month goals. During this process, you should also be writing down the dates or relative timing of completion for each of these goals. All the same S.M.A.R.T. principles apply when setting goals for your business strategy. If you aren't familiar with S.M.A.R.T. goals, it is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive.
Okay, so now that we have looked over our business performance, created specific goals and determined when these goals are to be completed. It's time to start planning. This process might feel a bit overwhelming to do on paper or in a spreadsheet. I recommend using a task manager such as Asana or Monday so you can organize things, assign them to team members and even see tasks in a calendar view.
Now that we have the desired goal and the time frame for which you minted to complete it, it's time to write down every single task associated with accomplishing this goal. Let's use the example above, if you are planning to launch your course for the second time, you obviously don't need to create the content, but you might need to add content. You will need to adjust your marketing materials, adjust your sales page, reach out to clients for testimonials and potentially work out affiliate marketing. As you begin writing all these things down, it's important to also assign them a date to be completed. These dates can be adjusted as you add more tasks but start by assigning the ideal timeline for the task to be completed.
I find it best to block off a full day to do this type of planning once every quarter. There is nothing worse than trying to create a business strategy plan and getting interrupted or feeling rushed. This is something that needs some TLC because it is the roadmap for how you will move your business in the desired direction. Once you have all the tasks laid out, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look over the amount of work needed to accomplish this goal. Do you have the current team to support the work involved? Do you have the time available to do the things you assigned to yourself? Is there too much work to be done in the amount of time? This is your opportunity to look at this from a very clear, big-picture view and make decisions based on what you have in front of you.
After you feel confident with your plan, it’s time to present it to your team or an accountability partner. One of the easiest ways to derail business growth and development is not to have anyone holding your feet to the fire. This is why the entire coaching industry exists, to hold you accountable. So even if you feel hesitant to present this to others, remember that you are not equipped to hold yourself accountable in the way someone else is. It’s human nature. So make sure you schedule a meeting with either your team or accountability partner to go over your business strategy and expectations. This meeting is an opportunity for you to make revisions based on others' schedule, get constructive feedback about how realistic these goals are, and add any tasks you may have missed.
Quarterly planning in this manner is the most effective way to move your business forward. I know that it is a lot of work, but the reward of having a very clear map of how to hit milestones in your business is priceless! If you are feeling overwhelmed by this process, just know you aren’t alone. This is something I can help you with! My business strategy sessions include a 90-minute call with you to go over assets, finances, team members, and current business projects. We will come up with goals and completion dates based on your current business performance during this call.
After that, I go and list out everything that needs to be done to accomplish these goals as well as the dates of completion and who needs to accomplish the task. You then get to review and once you are confident in the plan, we will schedule a second 90-minute call to discuss the plan with your team or accountability partner and make adjustments in real-time. The only thing left after that is for you to begin hitting your business milestones! If you are ready to get a jumpstart on your business and make real progress, you can schedule a strategy session with me by clicking here.
Melissa Gamarra, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Melissa Gamarra is a Certified Online Business Manager and Author living in Salt Lake City. She helps online business owners create organization and business strategies so they can scale their companies effortlessly