10 Ways to Set Goals for Your Online Internet Business
After registering this domain name and setting up this blog I wanted to set some goals for its effectiveness. After all, how can you tell if what you are doing or want to do is working without some kind of ongoing self evaluation of goals reached or not reached. This goes the same for a small business and certainly is in place in large companies as well. I reached one of those goals this week, Reaching a Set Goal and Working on Others, and I wanted to look at some of the ways we set goals for our companies and what we can do with that information. Some of the suggestions below are specific, some are much more general in nature, but without a goal of some kind, how do you know where you are going or have gone? Remember, all goals are not the same. Setting a lifetime objective for your business is not the same as a goal to reach a certain sales revenue volume by a certain date. Some people set goals by the length of time it will take to reach them, others set goals by the accomplishment itself, but I would consider for the sake of this article there to be minor, intermediate, and long term goals, all of which are necessary for a well rounded business.
A goal properly set is halfway reached. Abraham Lincoln
Make Goals Realistic to Reach
Many goals set are realistically unobtainable goals which will breed disappointed when they are not reached. It is important to set some milestone goals that are realistically obtainable by your company, business, or blog. When you have achieved these goals, set new, higher ones knowing that you have reached a minor goal you set forth to reach.
Another question to ask here would be, do you have all the resources you need to be able to achieve this goal in the first place? If not, it may not be very realistic. One of the goals may be to get the resources to achieve the next goal.
Make the Goals Measurable in Some Way
You need some good way to measure the success or failure of a certain goal. This is pretty easy on a blog, just check all the traffic rankings, feed subscriptions, ad spots filled, but you do need some kind of standard to which you measure how close you are to obtaining that goal.
Set Minor, Intermediate, and Long Term Goals
You don't want to just set short term minor goals either. Set a well rounded mix of easier and harder to reach goals so you can judge when you have made some real progress. Whatever your goals, they will be reached, or not, over an extended period of time, setting a mix of goals will get your head out of today and now and get you looking at the future of your business.
Goals Should be Flexible, Not Set in Stone
What if you are moving right along and realize that your goals for the business have changed. Well your goals need to be able to change with your business. Don't make or think about them as set in stone. As you develop your business you may find that you no longer want to reach a certain point or it has less importance than it did when you first set the goal. Keep them flexible and change them when you need to.
Focus on Strategies That Will Reach Your Goals, Stay Focused
Stay Focused. This may sound dumb, but if you actually want to reach the goals you have set, do things that work towards those goals. We can often set goals and then what we actually do is counterproductive to the set goal. If we want to keep going in that direction, fine, just read the step above and change the goal you want to achieve, or change the direction you are going to try to meet the goal as you stated it in the first place.
Review Your Goals From Time to Time
If you don't look at them once in a while how will you ever know if you reached them or not? Do be obsessed as many of are with the actual numbers on a day to day basis, but if you have some short term goals, check on them at the end of the work week. That is easier said than done, especially on a blog. We all want to keep looking at our many different numbered areas like Digg, Technorati, Feed Subscribers and so on, but it is better time spent to check on them once in a while. You will also see larger jumps in the numbers than if you check them every day.
Focus on Your Goals, Not Your Competitions Goals
I actually went back with this one, simply because we all keep tabs on our competition, right? Well keep focused on your goals (some of which may be the same as your competition) and don't worry about what the Jones' business is doing, goal wise. If you work to achieve your goals you will probably be outrunning your competition anyway and it is always better, in my opinion, to worry about making your own business better than making your competition worse, they can do that on their own.
Be Specific, Don't Be To Vague
Setting goals that are very broad or vague are hard to reach for the fact that it is hard to determine if you have actually met the goal or not. Don't set a goal that says I want to increase the traffic to my blog or increase my revenue. All business want to increase their revenue, I think, and most blogs want their traffic increased. These are vague goals. Better would be, I want to increase the traffic to my site by 50% by the end of the year, or I want to increase our revenue of product ABC by 25% over last year.
Don't Focus on the Disappointment of Not Reaching a Goal
We are not going to reach all the goals we have set, we just are not going to do it if we have any aspirations other than the most basic milestone goals. Don't let this stop you from trying to continue to work toward a stated goal. Focusing on the disappointment of not reaching a goal will actually keep you from obtaining your goals. Focus on the positive.
Have Fun... When You Reach the Goal. Evaluate Your Success
If you have read any of my top ten lists you will know that, for me, number 10 is always have fun. If you have reached a goal, review how you met the goal. Did you meet it very fast, perhaps it was not set high enough, is it time to set another one? Do something you enjoy, go out to dinner, give your employees something, large or small, celebrate it in some (enjoyable) way.
I have a few more article editions to this one so stay tuned. I will outline my goals for this site and offer specific suggestions for your business goals and how to archive them. Since I just reached one of my goals for this site (obtaining an Alexa ranking of any kind) I think I will go to step 10, have fun.