Business Operations

The Goal Post

It’s that time of year again. Everyone has set their New Year’s goals to lose weight, make more money, and be a better person…. but I’m guessing very few people have thought about HOW.

I usually recommend against basing goals on outcomes.  The best goals are process-oriented and are based on what you are committing to DO.

You have zero direct control over your sales.


If I offered you to $1000 if you could make a $400 sale at exactly 2:00 PM tomorrow, the only way you could do it is if you paid someone to make the purchase at exactly that time (and hope they don’t mess it up). All you can do is take the best possible actions you can in order to influence that end result.

Instead, focus on the things you can control. For example:

  • I will redo the keywords on 3 items and track the results of the changes in views this week.
  • I will retake 5 photos and ask questions if I need help on getting them right next week.
  • I will create a new automated email campaign this month.
  • I will take a course on email marketing
  • I will apply to 3 juried shows in the next 3 months
  • I will define my target customer and find at least one group of them on Facebook for each product line I want to make before I make the product.
  • I will cold call two new businesses about carrying my products this week.
  • If the one above terrifies you, then try I will read a book on sales techniques and practice them at least once a week

You have all the control in the world over those actions. There is a specific action and a time when you will complete (or repeat) them.

That said, it’s totally valid to set a target, like $5000 in sales in a month, and then work backwards to determine what steps you need to take to get there.Those tasks are the actual goals. The number becomes a motivator to help you do the work.

It’s totally ok to revise your goals if they are not getting you the results you wanted. You might need to revisit your goals and see if they are not the right goals to reach the outcome you wanted (either the goal itself is not right or it needs to be taken to a higher level).

If your revenue is not what you wanted, then you need to figure out which goal needs to be revised. Maybe you were focused too much on one area, like photos, when your problem is in another, like market validation.

Make sure your goals are things that you can control so you and only you can take credit when you achieve them… and the blame if you don’t.

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