Goal setting is important for any business, but your goals are likely to change as you grow from a small to a mid-sized or large business. If you learn good goal-setting habits early on in the life of your business, this will help you adapt as your organization starts to scale up.
Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
It’s always useful to have a variety of both short-term and long-term goals. Right now, you’re probably thinking mostly in the short-term. You want your business to grow. You need to grow your list or social media following; you have specific sales goals you need to reach; you want to launch your new product.
But what happens once you reach this short-term goal? You may find yourself adrift wondering what to tackle next. This is why it’s important to look to the long-term as well.
Think about where your organization will be in five or ten years. What does success look like years down the road? What will be different then versus now?
Although you should focus on just one short-term goal at a time, keep a list of long-term goals as well to clarify the direction you want your business to go.
When prioritizing goals right now, don’t be afraid to think small. In fact, it’s a good idea to set small, relatively easily attainable goals for the present. Don’t try to take on too much at once.
Small goals are great because:
They’re attainable. Huge, lofty goals are likely to only frustrate and discourage a small business.
The attainment of each goal is a learning process. You can learn from your small successes and failures.
Manageable goals that you can reach keep motivation and morale high.
Tackling small goals builds momentum that you can then put to bigger and better things.
You have many goals, both short-term and long-term, but you need to focus on just one at a time. How do you do this? The best way is to assess impact. Which of your goals will have the greatest impact on your business in the near future? This should be the one that you focus on first.
A few other things to consider are:
Chronology. You may have one particular goal that logically comes ahead of other goals. For example, you want to build your email list before you start boosting sales through it.
Resources. You may have resources at your disposal now that make a specific goal viable; for example, a new software program for social media marketing may motivate you to work on your goal of boosting your social media presence.
Lack of resources. Likewise, a lack of resources may make one particular goal ideal rather than another. You may need tech help for a particular goal but currently you don’t know anyone who can provide it. You can set this goal on the backburner for now while you work on other things.
Always set goals and employ marketing strategies with your larger, long-term goals in mind. This will help to keep your business on track as you tackle various projects.
“She’s a great worker. A real multitasker!”
Have you ever had a boss, manager, or co-worker say this about you? It sounds like a great compliment but it could be a sign that you’ve got a problem. We consider multitasking a virtue in the business world, but we are dead wrong. Multitasking isn’t a virtue; focusing on one thing at a time is. Here are the reasons why multitasking might be killing your productivity.
Our Brains Aren’t Designed to Multitask
You may feel like you’re productive when you’re multitasking, but you’re actually putting a great deal of strain on your brain. The human brain isn’t designed to switch between multiple tasks at once. Although it may seem seamless, you’re actually shifting gears slightly every time you move to another task. This gives your brain more to do, and this is the reason why multitasking burns you out.
Paying Attention Is Productive
We mistakenly think that multitasking is more productive. You’re doing more stuff at once, so you’re getting more done, right? But the truth is that narrowing your focus and zeroing in on one task at a time makes that task go faster and more smoothly. It will take more time to do multiple tasks at once than it would to do them in order.
Multitasking Multiplies Errors
You may not have noticed, but when you multitask, you make small errors you wouldn’t usually make. Go back over your work and check. Chances are you’ll find tiny mistakes which are the result of not giving the work the full attention it deserves. Focus on one task at a time and you’ll see higher quality work without the mistakes.
When you start off with your multiple tasks, you might feel that you’re highly productive and getting things done. But it’s likely that after a while, a feeling of stress and burnout will descend upon you, and you’ll find your nerves frazzled, snapping at your team members, and feeling like your computer could use a sound drop-kick. Multitasking causes stress, and this is why productivity experts and psychologists warn against it.
Prioritizing to the Rescue
There’s never any need to multitask when you know how to prioritize. Let’s say that you have five things to do. Why not do them all at once? Because instead, you can take each task and assign a level of priority to it. Now, you have five items on a list that goes from most important to least important. The truth is, you always have some tasks that are more important than others. If you prioritize, you’ll get the most important things done quickly and right.
Rub Your Tummy and Pat Your Head
Now, rub your stomach while patting your head and, if you really want to see why multitasking doesn’t work, whistle the melody of the last song you heard on the radio. You’ll find these three simple things exceedingly hard to do and this is a clear demonstration of why multitasking isn’t a good way to work.
There are probably a thousand marketing strategies you could employ at any given time. They come in all shapes and sizes. All you need to do is pick one and get started. But before you do, it’s important to have a strong foundation underlying your marketing. This is the basis on which your ultimate success rests.
Your core values are the principles that underlie everything your organization believes, says, or does. It’s important to define these core values since they have such a huge effect on the direction your business will take. Without clearly defined core values, you’re just wandering around rudderless.
For example, you might choose “innovation” as a core value. This means that everything your business does should be somehow innovative. If your customers know you for this, you’ll know to avoid products, strategies, or methods that are outdated or appear ordinary.
An important part of a business’s foundation is an understanding of its natural strengths. Natural strengths are the things you’re good at without really trying. These are the qualities of your organization’s “personality.”
Your natural strength might be your effortlessly friendly customer service. Knowing that you talk to your customers just like old, close friends, you might choose an email marketing campaign as a marketing strategy, since it’s an intimate and friendly way to market to your audience.
Your organization’s foundation should rest on clear and well-defined long-term goals. Long-term goals should show the direction you’ll take in the next five, ten, or even twenty years.
Long-term goals align with the core values and fundamentals of your business. But they also tell you where to go once you’ve reached a short-term goal. For example, you might grow your social media following to 1,000 people, but what then do you do with them? Look to your long-term goals to guide your next efforts.
Getting Everyone on the Same Page
The foundation of your organization gets its members on the same page. It provides a map of where your company is going. It also defines the culture of your company and makes it clear, so that everyone within it knows where they stand.
Before you get started on any marketing push, start by defining a few key business fundamentals:
1. What are your core values? Core values can be expressed as single words like “diversity,” “results-oriented,” “service,” or “flexibility.”
2. Identify your natural strengths. Try to think of the compliments you get from customers. What do they praise you for that comes naturally to you?
3. Identify a unique value proposition. This is a statement that explains what benefit you bring those who use your product or service, and what separates you from competitors.
4. Create a list of long-term goals that reach beyond the next year or next few years. Imagine where you want your organization to be at specific points in the future such as five years, ten years, and so on.
Once you’ve done this, write it up in a way that’s easy for those in your organization to understand and communicate it clearly to them.
Prioritize Your Goals
A common objection is, “But my business has multiple goals. I can’t just focus on one.”
Focusing on one goal doesn’t mean giving up the rest. What it means is focusing on one for the time being, and putting the others on the backburner for now. “For now” could be just this week or the next few months. The important thing is that you’re focusing.
You can decide which goal is the most important through prioritizing. Take a look at everything you’re working on now. Which of these will have the most positive impact on your business when it’s completed? This is the one you should focus on. You should also keep in mind your resources. You may have an important goal but lack the resources right now to carry it out.
Working Towards Your Goal is a Learning Experience
When you focus fully on one goal, you can learn valuable lessons from it. This is especially important if you’re a small business or solo entrepreneur with little experience marketing your business. As you work towards your goal employing marketing strategies, you’ll learn along the way which work and which don’t, and how to carry them out effectively. You can use this knowledge for future goals.
For example, you may decide to write guest blog posts in order to drive traffic to your site and spread awareness. Once you get started, you realize that you could write an email template for sending inquiries. The template explains who you are, why you’re an expert, and how your content could enrich the person’s blog. This saves a great deal of time and you can send out more inquiries, which leads to more blog posts.
This is the sort of thing you may not have learned if you were bogged down with several goals or strategies at once.
One Goal and One Marketing Strategy
If you want to really focus and get results, try focusing not only on one goal but on one marketing strategy as well. As the guest blogging example above illustrates, choosing just one strategy allows you to learn, streamline, and hone your skills. You can then add this strategy to your arsenal of techniques that you’ve used before.
People in the business world still sing the praises of multitasking, but any time management expert will tell you that, more often than not, it kills productivity and leads to burnout. Instead, the key to success is to narrow down and focus, and then move on to the next.
Guest Post by Kimberly Gypsy LoSavio. Kim is the sassy spark behind Blogging with Gypsy – https://bloggingwithgypsy.com, her blog about blogging – smattering of mentoring, teaching, guidance, sharing, and whatever shenanigans she can think of. She helps her clients create a fabulous space on the interwebz to share their awesomeness with the World! Ms. LoSavio is a full-time momma to her autistic 7-year-old son she lovingly calls Master Beastie. She is seriously addicted to coffee. When she’s not creating websites or helping clients with their blogs, and Master Beastie is having a quiet moment of his own, you may find her crafting, writing, or even reading a trashy novel she found on Kindle unlimited.Click for your Free Blogging Toolkit
Keeping up with your blog can have you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed if you don’t have some sort of plan in place.
And keeping up with your tribe and mastermind groups just adds to the madness, right?
I have found myself not posting to my blog regularly, even though I have a list of topics to write about.
Worse, my workspace gets cluttered with pieces of paper taped to my laptop or wall, post-it notes scattered all over and several different notebooks in different places – with no order or organization going on whatsoever – which also leads to forgetting a LOT of things I want to share.
I know I am NOT the only one this happens to!
I’m not always good about commenting and sharing other bloggers – especially those in my tribe and mastermind groups. And my friends.
It’s horrible! No wonder I’m always so frustrated and overwhelmed.
And did you know this kind of disorganized chaos affects your readership, your list (people start unsubscribing) and can start diminishing your traffic as well? Yeah … that kinda sucks!
Especially when the whole idea of having a website and blog is to build your empire, keep those subscribers and grow that traffic.
So, what can you do, you might wonder? Or you might wonder what I did.
Yeah, I’m still wondering and I’m still doing but I’m going to share with you my not so secret secret! Or rather 5 things that will definitely help you out!
5 Simple Ways to Rid Your Blog of Chaos & Overwhelm So You Can Grow Your Reach and Community
1: Get Yourself Organized
Seriously! GETTING YOURSELF ORGANIZED is the first thing you NEED to do to feel less frustrated and overwhelmed. Even if you are one of those who thrive on “disorganized” chaos (like me), you still need to have some semblance of order.
I have a large white board that I use for a monthly wall calendar to write on next to my desk. I’m learning to make better use of my post-it note addiction. And I now use a combination of my Desire Map Daily Planner and 2 Happy Planners for keeping my soulfull biz & life in a fairly somewhat not-so chaotic mess.
Seriously! I’m lost without my planners!
I also find that I NEED to declutter my desk at least once a month. And I’m a firm believe in smudging! Yes, it’s woo-woo. But it makes me happy!
Figure out whatever works best for YOU! And what helps you stay on top of things!
2: Penning in Time to Plan your Month Ahead
This is so important!!! And what you can do with your PLANNERS!!!!
PENNING in 2 – 3 hours to plan out your month will save you a large chunk of that chaos. I say “penning” because if you “pencil” it in, that just makes it easier to erase. So, use a pen! Better yet, use a permanent marker.
I’ve found penning in planning sessions the last weekend of the month helps me keep on track, but you can choose whenever the best time is for you.
What are you waiting for?
Grab that permanent marker and do it right now! … I’ll wait.
Okay! Ready for #3? Good!
3: Write Your Blog Posts in Clusters and Schedule Them Out
Pick a day during the week to write your post(s) at once for the next week.
You can save them all as drafts and then edit them on the days you want to want to publish them. Or you can choose one day to write and the second day to edit and schedule to publish. This is easier for those that only post 1 -3 times a week on their blog. If you post daily, you can always pick 2 different days.
It’s even easier if you’re an every other week or once a month blogger. Just figure out your perfect schedule and plan ahead the drafting, the editing and then schedule it to publish on the day you want it to go live. I love WordPress!
4: Pick one day a week to Comment on other Blogs
Commenting on others’ blogs helps build community and ultimately brings traffic back to your blog if you are listing your blog URL with your comment. But it can get so overwhelming as you add more people or mastermind groups to your tribe. I bookmark all the blogs in my tribe into one folder in my browser bar, so I have them all in one place; then I PEN in (YES with a permanent marker) the times that I am going to dedicate to just commenting on blogs and sharing them in my planner.
If you do this once a week, you are leaving 4 comments a month on each person’s blog! I call that a win in my book!
5: Being consistent!
Being consistent is really the key here.
If you stick to your plan, I promise that you will feel the frustrated and overwhelmed energies less and less.
Oh sure, the Procrastination Monster will reel its nasty head sometimes, but so long as you face it head on, take a deep breath and move forward – this is called taking action, and continue to be consistent, it will get easier and easier.
It will start to be a habit … like getting out of bed and making coffee every morning. Or breathing! LOLz
These are just a few things that you can do to keep from feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and from stopping cold in your tracks.
These steps also help guide and move you forward, to build your business and grow your community.
And don’t worry if you fall off the wagon! Just get right back up and start where you are!Click for your Free Blogging Toolkit
Magic Mirror on the Wall…. Who’s the Fairest of Them All?
Why YOU my Queen.
There are some days that I wish I had my own Magic Mirror to tell me that I’m “fairest of them all”. But, the truth is … mirrors lie.
Well, not really lie, but mirrors miss things. And, the things that the mirror misses are the exact things that are going to help you and your business stand out.
Here’s a classic story that illustrates this,
Back in the 1950’s Schlitz beer hired an advertising agency to help boost the company’s sagging sales. The ad creative team went on a tour of the factory. There, plate-glass rooms where beer was dripping over pipes that were filled with filtered air, so the beer could be cooled in purity. Every pump and pipe was cleaned twice daily, to avoid contamination. Every bottle was cleaned 4 times by machinery. The ad execs were amazed.
They asked why the Schlitz never talked about their process. Schlitz answered it was because everybody does it that way. The process wasn’t unique to them. But… nobody else was talking about it either. So, Schlitz started talking about the process, people were amazed. And, beer sales went up. Schlitz became the number one beer.
What are you hiding in your business?
Are there things that seem very obvious to you that would amaze a potential customer? The best way to find out is to show somebody else what you do? The easiest way to do that? Join the Time Traders Club. Want to learn how that works? Come to our free webinar on 4/6 and we’ll lay it out for you.
Try to come live – I’m giving away prizes!
Girl Scout cookie season is finally over in New Mexico! For the past month, we have been spending every weekend sitting in front of Wal-Marts and Walgreens selling cookies with my daughter’s Cadette troop. We worked over 30 hours in total. Just from working the booths and some online sales, my daughter sold 500 boxes. I worked most of the booths as an adult volunteer. You can learn a lot about business working at a cookie booth.
Here are some important lessons:
You need to ask (really!). There were a lot of times when somebody was walking out of Wal-Mart, totally absorbed. When the girls didn’t ask, they kept walking. When they did ask, the person would stop and buy cookies. Are you asking enough in your business?
No doesn’t always mean no. Often someone would say that they didn’t want cookies, but they wouldn’t leave the booth either. In that case, the best thing to do was to ask again, a little more personally. “It looks like you are getting ready for a party, would you like some cookies to serve?” I was surprised at how often that worked!
Hard work trumps “cute” in the end. My daughter belongs to a YUGE girl scout troop serving grades K-12. In order for the older girls to get to do the things they want, their cookie booths are separate from the younger girls. I would have guessed that the cute 5 year olds would outsell the slightly awkward pre-teens every time. That was not the case. The older girls did better because they worked harder. Sometimes it is tempting to go for “cute” in business. You are better off putting the hours in rather than relying on the gimmick.
Advertising works. Usually the Walgreens’ booths were a bit quieter. We doubled the number of cookies sold just by standing out on the corner waving signs to attract passing traffic. Are you using ads in your business? How are you getting in front of the people who need to see what you are doing?
Planning is key. There were a few girls in my daughter’s troop who sold over 1,000 boxes. They worked the sale from multiple angles They brought cookies to school, they sent them to work with their parents, they sold in the neighborhoods. They also had a written plan before they started out. Do you have a plan for your business? Is it written down?
Want some help coming up with a plan for YOUR business? Sign up for a free strategy session and we’ll get started.
It’s Girl Scout cookie time again! This year my daughter is in a troop that takes its cookie obligation very seriously. The troop can committed to sell 40,000 boxes. There are 80 girls in the troop. When I was a scout, if you sold 100 boxes you were doing well. My daughter’s goal is 750. We are signed up for booths every weekend in March.
Every year (this is Suzanne’s 6th year selling cookies), I learn something about sales or marketing from taking part in the cookie booth. This year was no exception.
Our first booth of the season was at the corner drug store. Booths at drug stores are never quite as busy as booths at Wal-Mart (either because fewer people are at the store, or everyone is sick and in a hurry to get home!). And, our table was strategically positioned behind a pillar.
The troop before us at that store sold exactly 25 boxes. For a girl with big goals, like my daughter, getting credit for a portion of 25 boxes wasn’t going to cut it.
So, she and her troop mate decided to go down to the main road and dance with a girl scout cookie sign.
The corner of two busy streets was a MUCH better location. WIthout having studied marketing at all they nailed the classic AIDA marketing steps.
First, they ATTRACTED attention by being their cute 12 year old selves dancing on the street corner in their Girl Scout vests.
Then, the created INTEREST by holding a sign that directed people to pull into the drug store parking lot to buy cookies.
The girls at the booth in front of the drug store stoked DESIRE by showing the different types of cookies.
Finally, the customers took ACTION and purchased.
Those girls are smart cookies!
The girls ended up selling 178 boxes of cookies instead of 25 – at 86% improvement.
So… what does this mean to you?
Make sure that you are really arousing your prospects interest in your lead and sales pages. The best way to do that is to speak to a problem they are having – using the words they would use describe it.
How do you know if your page is interesting? Sales are one way. Another is to have someone else take a peek at it and let you know what they think.
One of my most popular time traders “gigs” is a sales page review. I love looking at other people’s pages and making profit-boosting suggestions. I have a few spots open for non Time Traders members
Would you like me to look at your page? Go to http://bigbark.marketing/review and sign up for a slot.
Lately, I’ve been writing a lot. Not only have I increased the amount of emails I’m sending to Solo Biz Bite subscribers, I am writing twice as much content as I used to for my clients. I’ve been busy and really loving it.
A few people have asked me how I’m getting all this writing done, so I thought it was time for a short Q&A session.
Q: How do you find new topics to write about?
A: Lately, a lot of my inspiration has come from hanging out with you. I spend a little bit of time each day in Facebook groups reading and listening to people’s questions. It is amazing how much information you can find in groups about what people are thinking, where they are struggling, etc. I also use a website called http://buzzsumo.com. Even on the free plan, you can type in topics and get a general idea of what is popular and trending. Usually, I find the articles are missing “something”. I try to fill that in with my blog posts.
Q: How do you have time to write a daily e-mail?
A: I generally write my e-mails on Sunday nights. I find that once I get into the writing zone, it is easier to keep writing. Throughout the week, I post ideas for topics in a to-do list so when Sunday rolls around I’m all ready to go.
Q: What is the most important thing to include when writing an email or blog post?
A: A call to action (CTA). A CTA doesn’t have to be a direct sales link. All you need to do is have an action for people to take at the end of the post or email. That action could be buying your product (if the product is relevant to what the post is about, and including it is not too salesy). The key is to inspire your audience to take an action. By including a CTA, you can begin to tell whether or not your email sequence is
This week’s Solo Biz Hack is all about how to write less and get more love from Google. You can check it out here.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was working as a Public Information Officer near Washington DC and I had just spent 6 weeks planning a recycling carnival. There would be clowns! Face painting! We would recycle bikes, paper, eye glasses, cell phones!
I had done my homework and lined up press coverage for the event. I had commitments from the Washington Post, the local news channel, the local paper.
It really rained that day so nobody came (not even the clowns!) and
An airplane crashed in the Potomac River – so we got no coverage.
6 months of my life wasted. Ugghh! I was totally crushed.
Have you ever felt like that? You work HARD and it just doesn’t turn out. You write the sales page, promote the event and nobody shows up.
Fortunately, life does do-overs.
I did the same event the next year and it won a national award. I built on my previous work – and lucked out a bit (i.e. the weather was much better and there were no crashing planes).
When your marketing campaigns don’t work, don’t start with a whole new product. Build on what you have! Why waste the work that you’ve already done?
And make sure that you have the information you need to make your project a success. We think solo biz hacks is a great place to get that info. Check it out here https://timetradersclub.thrivecart.com/solo-biz-hacks/