"There's a vision, there's a purpose there...that's what a goal actually is...I have somewhere that I want to be...that's different than today."
When an artist steps into the studio, they have some sort of vision in mind: a purpose they’re trying to accomplish. The same applies to the creation of your business story. You need a purpose. Some direction to aim toward in telling your story. In this episode, we explore the exciting world of goal setting — the need for them and how to employ them in your business story.
Joe: Hi there. I’m Joe Dudeck, President and founder of Keyhole Marketing.
Shannon: And I’m Shannon Jirik. I work for Keyhole as the Assistant Brand Manager.
Joe: And this is Metaphorically Speaking, a podcast that explores the mysterious side of marketing.
Joe: Welcome back to season 1 of Metaphorically Speaking where we’re continuing to explore how to craft your business story. Today we’re going to talk more about how to create a plan for that story, like what are the goals you’re trying to accomplish and the purposes that you’re trying to run after?
When we think about an artist who enters a studio, they don’t just go in and magically create something and come out of the studio with that. They have some sort of purpose of why they went in there, a message that they wanted to convey, a crowd that they wanted to send some sort of piece to, or speak to. So, we’re trying to do the same thing with your business story today, of thinking, what are some of the goals that you need to run after to identify, maybe, in the first place? And then start to run after them so that you can best accomplish your own business story.
Shannon: I’m so excited for this conversation.
Joe: Yeah, so we’re going to try to help you with that…
Shannon: It’s one of my personal favorites.
Joe: Yeah, I was going to say, we’re going to help you with that, but mostly Shannon’s going to help you with that. She’s great at setting goals on a personal level. So, she’s just going to be a good resource for today.
Just to get us thinking a little bit on goals, I heard a great quote from activist, Frances Kissling, who really is an abortion rights activist, but really speaks to both sides of the conversation, and kind of offends both sides of the conversations at different times. But, she had a great quote that loosely applies to our conversation on goals but really is applicable in any realm, and certainly applicable in today.
The quote is, “When people who disagree with each other come together with a goal of gaining a better understanding of why the other believes what they do, good things can come of that.” And I just think that certainly, we tend to, a lot of times, focus on the differences that we have and trying to bring somebody to our vantage point and think the way we believe on these things. And I just love that somebody who’s really been on the front lines of these tough conversations understands how you really manage those conversations.
Shannon: Yeah. And the goal isn’t to convince the other person. It’s just to understand them.
Joe: Gain a better understanding, exactly. So, speaking of goals…
Joe: …Wow. Shannon’s really excited about this conversation. So, obviously, we’re just going to really lean on Shannon for her expertise in this realm. I’m just not very good at setting goals. I’m not even going to try to hide it. I see value there, for some reason, it just doesn’t translate into me actually spending the time to do that. But, I’ve also seen good success for Shannon and other people like that who do these things.
So, I just wanted to have you tell a little bit of why you think these things are important…I mean, why do we all need to set goals for ourselves personally, but also as a business?
Shannon: Yeah. Absolutely. I would love to share some.
Joe: Let’s sit back and listen to Shannon, then.
Shannon: Yeah, I think I would just love to start by touching back on what you mentioned in the beginning, just with being an artist. You know, the masterpiece doesn’t just happen automatically. There’s a vision, there’s a purpose there. And for me, that’s what a goal actually is. We have to find a purpose. And if you don’t have a plan to get to that purpose or to attain what you’re trying to do, then I would argue you don’t even have that purpose. Or, you don’t have it truly identified at this point.
So, that’s what I love about goals and setting goals is that they are just like tangible reminders and points to track that… I have a purpose. I have a vision. I have somewhere that I want to be tomorrow, or in a different year, whatever it might be that’s different than today. And that’s exciting just to be a human and a business person that’s growing and evolving.
I mean, full disclosure, I have self-diagnosed myself with short-term memory loss, so I have to actually write things down and set goals in order to remember anything. So that’s part of the reason that I had to get into it.
Joe: Do you remember what you’re talking about right now?
Shannon: Honestly, I have no clue. It’s just flying out. What’s our topic today?
Joe: Goals. I’ll remind you in 10 minutes. Go ahead.
Shannon: So, that’s a strategy that I’ve had to use, a discipline that I’ve had to use. And one of my top strengths is actually competition. And as funny as this might be, setting goals and meeting goals is a way that I can compete with myself and hold myself accountable. So, I know it might not be fun for everyone, but it can be fun. It’s fun for me, anyway, if you’re wired more like I am.
On more of a tangible level, without setting goals, I think we’re at a much higher risk of wasting our time, our resources, our staff, our money. We spend so much time doing day-to-day tasks. And rather than just doing them to check it off a list, I love being able to match it up with a bigger goal, a bigger purpose, and say, “I know why I’m doing this. I’m doing it for a reason.”
So, I think it’s that exciting process to attain something more than just…what’s easy? What’s in front of you? What’s on my to-do list today? It’s inspiring for me to be able to look ahead like that.
Joe: It’s inspiring for us, now, as well.
Shannon: Oh. I know, you’re truly touched.
Joe: I think when we apply the thought processes of setting goals though, where we see it the most is in creating a content marketing plan, which is really just a way of managing the stuff you want to put out there for people to see, whether it’s audio content, video content, written content. So, creating a plan to put that out there. We have helped clients, and we suggest to people… first, leave the marketing department for a second.
Shannon: Not for too long.
Joe: Yeah, come back. Come back to the safe spot. But leave there and go talk to your financial department or your leadership, and understand a little bit more of like, “What are our overall business objectives? What are we trying to accomplish as a business?” So you, as a business owner may know those answers. Maybe you never spent time to write those down and you need to start there writing those down. What are you trying to accomplish within the next year, in the next five years? And then, now take it into more of a financial realm of saying, “Okay, well how are we going to accomplish that from a numbers perspective?” Revenue goals, profit margins, what types of things do we need to pay attention to there?
And then you want to think maybe from a marketing standpoint of what things might you be planning to release? Or, from a business perspective of the products or services that you’re offering. There might be a new product or service that you’re going to launch in the next year, or maybe you plan to enter a new marketplace that’s going to affect the marketing. Or maybe you want to buy another business and that’s going to affect the way you do some things as well.
And then you really want to think about… what are you trying to accomplish in the marketing realm? Do you want to become the leading authority on some industry challenge that everybody’s facing and you want to be that top person there. Or maybe you want to educate more buyers on how to address a certain issue. So, some of those not-very-specific-yet, but very overarching goals and objectives you want to do from a marketing standpoint. And again, it all filters from the top conversation of what are your overall business objectives. You start it there and then it goes down to the others. And then you get into the really measurable goals. And these are often referred to as SMART goals. Shannon, they stand for?
Shannon: They stand for Specific, Measurable…
Shannon: Attainable… Achievable. We disagree on this one. Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.
Joe: Yeah. Well, even Timely.
Joe: For the most part, we got the letters right.
Shannon: Wow, yeah. Same idea. They’re all synonyms.
Joe: No, so these are just ways to be a little more specific about what you’re doing. Don’t just go, we want more money in 2019. But more of like, “We want to generate a revenue of one million dollars.” Or, “We want to convert 25% of our website users into customers”. Or, “We want to increase new leads by 10% over the next six months.” Those are some things that you can now step back after a certain period of time and go, “How have we reached it?” or, “Have we not? Where are we short?”
Shannon: Yeah. And like you referenced earlier, you come up with some of those numbers or those metrics after you’ve discussed this with maybe the financial department or other departments.
Shannon: It’s easier than you might think.
Joe: This is true. Okay, well, I’m going to take your word for it, I guess, actually. I do think that conceptually makes sense. You have those conversations and you put those lines in place of, “We want to accomplish this, this, and this.” Maybe on a more practical level for you, Shannon, how do you think that that plays out, as far as writing those goals down, documenting them, getting them going?
Shannon: Yeah. I mean, you already said it, writing them down. Well done. You do know what you’re talking about. Yeah, I know a lot of people say it, but it’s actually been scientifically proven that if you write your goals down, you’re more likely to attain them. And that has proven to work for myself.
Joe: One case study, here.
Shannon: One case study. But again, in that challenge to unbury yourself from the screen a little bit, just close your screen for a minute and take some pen and paper and write out some of these goals for yourself. I think that that translates into really making them even more impactful.
Then I would definitely say, just remember to keep going back to them. Keep referencing them. You’ve got these overarching goals, but you want to set some specific objectives, you know? Some of these objectives are your daily to-dos, but again, with that larger picture in mind. So keep going back to them… and that could look different for whoever you are, whatever your preference is.
I write them down and then I hang them up so that I see them actually every single day. Some people use sticky notes or put them in calendars. Or, if you’re a journaler, I would encourage you to mark and date your time entries and then reference back to those entries. It’s just a way to check your progress and look to see how far you’ve come. And I think that’s exciting.
And to kind of segue into that, talking about checking your progress, I never want people to forget to celebrate your victories. Don’t forget to be proud of what you’ve accomplished along the way. Because it is hard work and it is a lot of time. And it can be easy to get caught up in this huge goal and caught up in the stress of, “Oh, there’s a lot to do before we can get there, and there’s a lot of time in between.” That’s why you’ve got those specific objectives that it’s so fun to just celebrate individually or with your staff and just affirm people for their work there. So, Joe, don’t forget to do that.
Joe: I will not.
Shannon: Yeah. And if you’ve got a team, this can be just another fun exercise to do together. Hold a meeting, talk to people about, maybe, what their specific goals are. Or, share with them, after you’ve met with these other departments, where you’d like to see your company grow this year. Make an infographic if it’s easy to show that way. But again, during those meetings, don’t be afraid to celebrate key players or just be excited about what you’ve done maybe, in the past year. So, those are a few strategies.
Joe: Yeah, a few. Those are awesome. Now that I’m an goal-setting expert after this podcast… But actually, I’ve taken a few notes. And things that I’ve been wanting to think about is… There might be some key takeaways you might have from this podcast as well, but some things that I took away was your point about really pursuing the “why” of our business. If we’re not setting goals, then we don’t have a purpose in mind. So, the act of setting goals really helps us pursue the why of our business. I think that was important.
Again, we need to start those conversations outside the marketing department, understanding what the leadership really wants you to run after, what are your overall objectives for the business. And again, if you’re a small business owner you can set those. But start that conversation there. And then write them down. I thought that was really interesting about our case study of one. One person’s written them down, and the success rate. No, but I’m sure–
Shannon: And now it’s relevant for everyone.
Joe: I’m sure that’s definitely been proven. And I can see definitely value in there. And so, taking that time to have them in front of you and reference them regularly. And then, celebrate, which we all should do more often, right?
Shannon: That’s so true.
Joe: You know, I see that a lot I think, with clients who, you’ve had a good campaign or you’ve done something well, and it’s always, “Well how about the next thing? How about the next thing?” We all forget to celebrate that sometimes.
So, cool. Thanks so much for helping me out, personally.
Shannon: I’m excited to see how this translates for Keyhole. We’re gonna have such a good year in 2019.
So, just to close it out, I would love to leave us all with a challenge. Of course, you know it’s going to be me saying that we should set goals. You’re right. That is the challenge. If you’re not used to doing this already, then I encourage you to just start with one this week. Just filter it through who you are and who you’re trying to reach. If it’s maybe starting those conversations with some other departments. Get yourself to a place where you could be excited about where you’re headed.
If you’ve already been one to set goals, then I would challenge you to take some time to revisit those this week. Maybe you’ve kind of forgotten about some of them, or some of your day-to-day tasks haven’t been necessarily pursuing that goal. So, get yourself back on track if that’s the case. I’m excited to do this for myself. I’m getting Joe to do it with me…even if he doesn’t want to.
Joe: Did you hear that laugh?
Shannon: We do this for our clients. We love doing it for our clients. So, if you are in a position where you would love to have a conversation about this, or you don’t know what goals you need to be setting, or where you need to be headed, we would love to have a conversation with you about it. Reach out to us at Hi, spelled H-I @keyholemarketing.us if you’re interested in getting that conversation going.
Joe: Cool. Thanks so much.