Keep Moving Forward.
One of my inspirational greats is the late Monty Oum. He was a forward-thinking creative, and he understood the difference between merely working on a concept, and turning that concept into a finished product. One of the things he would press was the need to keep moving forward; to set goals and then fulfil them, to be able to keep growing and changing and improving in order to see success.
So those three little words are often ones I write in my margins. They're a good reminder for when I get preoccupied with present issues or slow down with a project or a piece of writing.
Growing your business is something I guess you're looking to achieve, and you'll need to set goals and expectations to make that happen. Here are 5 different ways you can set better goals to propel your business' growth online.
1 - Be Holistic
Business growth goals generally need to be specific - otherwise you've got nothing to work to when you sit down and say 'I want my business to grow'. How do you want your business to grow? What aspects do you want to improve? What numbers in your business will actually have an impact on overall business growth if they increase?
These are all things to consider. Perhaps you want to increase your visibility. Perhaps you're hoping that your new marketing campaign will go viral. When you consider the types of goals you're setting, ensure that you build up multiple facets of your business and your website, so that growth can be maintained and even. For example, if you focus solely on increasing online visibility, but you don't set any growth expectations for converting those visitors to leads, then very little of that traffic will translate into an increase in business clients.
When you set your growth goals, be specific about the kind of growth you want, but also consider the different aspects of your business that will need to grow in accordance in order to see overall success.
2 - Be Realistic
So you've decided that you want to double your business leads, and triple your website traffic, and give your website a complete overhaul. That's cool. You've considered all the facets that make up how your business grows, and your goals are addressing all of them. However, taking all of these goals and handing them to your consultant and telling them you want them achieved in six months on minimal hours is probably going to earn you a raised eyebrow at the very least.
One of the biggest things that has to be understood when establishing business growth goals is your existing limitations. What guidelines will you need to work in accordance with when you go to complete your goal? Most of the time, the limitations that exist on your goals are either time or resource based. Some things will need a certain amount of resource input to be achieved, others are going to take a certain amount of time to get done. Much of the time, it's a combination of both. It's okay to have limitations - it's just important that you understand what those are before you start out.
If you set unachievable goals because you haven't planned within your limitations, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Furthermore, you most likely would achieve less than you would had you set more realistic goals to work to.
3 - Understand The Connection Between Resources And Effort
Why is it important to stress the relationship between resources and effort when setting goals? If you have an excess of resources but minimal effort going in to making your business grow, then you won't grow very fast. You might have more traffic visit your website if these resources are published already, but unless you've got a way to convert those visitors into viable business leads, then not much is going to happen. If you've got minimal resources but a whole lot of effort going in to marketing them, you can end up sounding like a played-out record, always spinning the same tune. Of course, having minimal resources means that your team will have to get more inventive to foster growth, but there will still be limitations.
Ideally, you should have close to equal amounts of resources and effort going in to making your business grow. And while you can turn effort into resources (hiring a content creator to write material for a content marketing campaign would be an example of this), you can't really turn resources into effort.
In short, if you want to see growth in your business, you'll need to be prepared to put in effort, or get a team of marketers and developers onside to put in the right amount of effort in order to have growth realised.
4 - Be Able To Prioritise
It's entirely possible to prioritise your goals and be holistic with them at the same time. It's just a matter of keeping things in perspective with your limitations, and understanding what things will need to happen and in what order to make success your bud.
Here's an example: I know that having a completely revamped website will boost my domain's authority with search engines. It'll look better on mobile devices, and will load smoother. Future clients would also attribute authority to my business because of my completely revamped website. But if I focus all my time and energy on relaunching the whole website at once, I'll probably be behind on technology updates at launch point, and I wouldn't have put any energy into an inbound marketing campaign that could convert new visitors before hand. A better use of my time and resources for this would be to focus on revamping one section of my website at a time, and simultaneously running two light-effort marketing campaigns to keep business growing steadily. There's no point having the world's best website if it's not producing any business for you.
Work out which actions will need to be prioritised over others when setting your goals. Keep them in perspective so that you can be proactive and reactive as your situation changes in accordance with business growth.
5 - Think Long And Short Term
Understanding the difference between long and short term goals is vital for actually achieving those goals. Generally, long term goals will be more values and direction-focused and short term goals will be about the numbers. The best way to achieve both of these types of goals is to fit them together, and to go about them in the right way.
So, for example, your long term goal might be to increase your lead base by tenfold. You might set a turnover of two years on that goal. (Which is a totally achievable goal, for a business that has more than 100 leads in their database to start with. For other numbers on realistic goals you can achieve with inbound marketing you should check out this blog post.)
What kinds of short term goals are you going to set in those two years to help make that tenfold lead base growth happen? You could update parts of your website, build some new marketing and lead nurturing campaigns, write a stack of highly targeted content - the list goes on. Point is, you want to break your long term goal into shorter goals that you can easily achieve on your way to the destination.
Plan the length of your ladder (the long term goal) and then plan how far apart your want the rungs on that ladder to be (your short term goals). This ensures that you'll be able to actually climb your ladder of business growth and see a distinct difference when you get to the top.
Good goal setting for your business looks like:
- Considering multiple aspects of your business that need to grow
- Knowing what your business is realistically capable of achieving and working within those limits
- Being willing to put in or budget the effort necessary to realise your goals
- Keeping a balanced perspective on your goals, and prioritising them in proportion with each other so that your business grows steadily
- Planning for the long and short term goals, so that your short term goals help you fulfil your long term ones
And no matter what, keep moving forward.