Set a Quarterly Target
Let's start breaking this down so that instead of saying, I don't know how to get there, I at least know what the first step of the plan is. That's what we're gonna look at. Now, my quote for this, or my inspiration for this particular chapter is not from a business book. It is from one of my favorite writing books, which is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It's in the reading list materials. I find that book such a good planning and goal setting and business strategy book but it's a book about writing. (laughs) So if you are a creative-minded, as I know you all are, and you want a completely different approach to planning for your business, I could not recommend that book more highly. Now this is not an Anne Lamott quote, this is an E.L. Doctorow quote, but it's simply, "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. "You can only see as far as your headlights, "but you can make the whole trip that way." Alright, when we start off in our car on a big trip, we can't see the destination. W...
e know where we're headed, the GPS has a map to get us there, but we can only see as far as the headlights are, or we can only really see as far as the next turn. And growing our businesses is exactly the same way. You can't expect to ever be able to see the whole journey at once. Instead you have to be willing to plan out just as far as you can see, and that's why quarterly planning is so important. Breaking things down into 12 week goals, or maybe even smaller. Maybe you wanna do monthly goals, or six-week goals, but I think quarterly is generally pretty good. It gives us room to do something big, but not enough time to get lost in the weeds. So that's why we're gonna focus on quarterly here. You can kinda break this down and do with it what you will for your own scale, but that's what we're gonna do here. So looking just three months out, thinking about your 12 month goal, in actually 12 months, not in 12 weeks, thinking about your 12 month goal, and looking just three months out, kind of aiming yourself in that general direction of your 12 month goal, but looking about three feet in front of you, what is one target you can fully complete to get you closer to your goal? So in other words, what's that one thing you want to have created or accomplished 12 weeks from now, three months from now? What is one target you can fully complete to get you closer to your goal? I'm gonna pick on some of the same people just so we can keep continuity. Leslie, what's one target you could complete to get you closer to being featured in a major home decor magazine?
Well, part of it, I just finished taking the first module of Make it in Design, how to be surface pattern designer. And so starting in April I wanna take module two, which is of the, it'll be all about creating your identity.
Awesome. So it's about creating your identity as a designer?
Cool, so could you actually say then, that by the end of this 12 week period that you will have created your identity as a surface designer?
Fantastic! I love it. That's a perfect 12 week goal. Thank you. Melissa.
Well I could have a conversation with Therese to find out how much I could actually, like what would be involved in working with her, working with her to do the legal stuff.
So maybe you actually have, it sounds like you actually some knowledge gathering to do
Yes! to actually be able to set that quarterly target.
Yes. That's okay. I will allow that.
Knowledge-gathering. You need to do some knowledge gathering. But it needs to be quick knowledge gathering.
Yeah, that wouldn't take three months.
No, that's not gonna take three months. So then in your knowledge gathering, part of what you're going to do is actually set that three month target. You're gonna find out what the process looks like, and in finding out what the process looks like, you're gonna be able to say, well then at the end of three months I'm going to have this thing accomplished.
What she said.
Okay, Patrice how about you? Quarterly target.
The quarterly target, do you need to know the goal first?
Yes, tell us your goal first, sorry.
Okay, so the goal is to identify my unique process of taking my clients from no IP to executing revenue generating new IP strategies in a year and a half.
Is that a okay goal?
And then the three month target is to document all of my existing client processes.
Excellent, yeah I love it. Megan, one more.
I would like to test with just 10 women and get feedback.
Fantastic, so you can test, and you feel like you can test that in the next three months.
Well I've been testing it with a few and I wanna test it with a few more.
Okay, great, perfect. And what will constitute a successful test for you? Not necessarily successful in that everyone had a wonderful experience but like that I got the information that I needed.
Yeah, I think designing the feedback processes probably needs to be a bigger part of this than what I'm focusing on.
So yeah, it's not necessarily to prove that it's going to work but to prove whether to move forward or not.
Perfect, yeah, yes, love it. Alright, questions about setting quarterly targets. Yeah, Annette.
My shorter term goals are more about finding my tribe and use that as a base with which to reach my longer term goals. Is that, does everything have to necessarily be revenue generating goals?
No, definitely not, definitely not. So yes, that sounds perfect. The one thing I will tell you, I forgot to mention this, so thank you for actually asking that question, is that, how many of you set revenue goals for your 12 month goal? A few of you, okay. Here's the thing about revenue goals for that long term 12 month goal. You have to feel motivated by money. Not necessarily that ya know, like everything you do has to be related to money or you're just not motivated, what I mean is like if you enjoy playing the game of money, if you enjoy shaping your actions based on that financial target then that's a good goal. A lot of people don't actually enjoy playing that money game and so sometimes those financial goals need to get subbed in for something that has more meaning for people. So that's something, that's something for you to consider if you have set a financial goal. But yeah, I think that's a great point, Annette, that these quarterly targets aren't necessarily, well first of all, they're not necessarily revenue generating, that doesn't necessarily matter, obviously money matters, cash flow matters, but those are byproducts, or should be byproducts of the action that we're taking in our businesses. And so sometimes those targets, like Patrice documenting her processes, or Melissa setting a project goal based on her IP, those aren't revenue generating goals either, but they get her, they get them both one step further to that end goal. And so it's the same thing for you. If you've set a financial goal for your 12 month goal but you know there are different systems or processes or just projects that you need to complete in order to actually make that a reality, then that's exactly the kind of thing you wanna be setting for your 12 month target, or quarterly target.
So you launched a business and made the leap.
Congratulations! But now you are a year or longer into being a business owner and you are HUNGRY for more.
You have put in the hard work to build your business to where it is today but big decisions about what to focus on and what opportunities to pursue, threaten to slow your progress.
You want to make the right decisions for your business and your customers so you can feel confident, focused, and accomplished as a small business owner.
Goal-setting & Planning To Grow Your Standout Business helps you make the right decisions about your ideas, opportunities, and plans so you can earn more money and save time on the path to your dream.
Whether you’re offering a service, selling online programs, or designing a product, Tara guides you step-by-step through setting the goals and creating the plans that will grow your business.
By the end of the class, you’ll have a framework for knowing:
- What to focus on to grow your business without working harder
- How to know which project comes first so you’re never backtracking
- How to know you’re making the right decisions for your business so you can achieve your vision
- How to set goals you can actually achieve with the resources you currently have
Tara is a bestselling CreativeLive instructor, with a wide variety of business classes including the first step for entrepreneurs, Build a Standout Business. She is the founder of CoCommercial, the business association for digital small business owners and the author of the book Quiet Power Strategy. Tara’s work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., and Design*Sponge. Her podcast, “Profit. Power. Pursuit.” was named one of the top women-hosted podcasts for entrepreneurs by Entrepreneur magazine.
By the end of this class, you will have a clear vision of what you are building, a clear path to build it, and a project plan to take you closer to turning your vision into reality.