The holiday season is officially upon us! Time to get your shop ready for action. And that starts with identifying what you want to accomplish this season: Drive a certain number of sales? Boost visitors? It can be anything you want, but you’ve got to figure out what your goals are early on.
Why set goals?
If you don’t set goals before you begin, it’s extremely hard to measure if you’ve been successful or not, and that not only impacts your short-term goals, but your long-term strategy as well. Think of an archer shooting an arrow at a target: If he’s not aiming at anything, how will he know where to shoot? Setting goals gives you a baseline for measuring success and the motivation to keep on course when things get crazy (and during the holiday season, they will!).
How to set goals
Before you can start setting goals for yourself you need to define exactly what you want to achieve. This can range from ‘X’ amount of sales, visitors or return customers, all the way to getting press coverage on your favorite blog. Everyone’s goals are different. But no matter what you set out to achieve, make sure that you are ready to commit to hitting them. Otherwise your efforts will be in vain.
A popular and effective method for giving shape to your objectives is setting “SMART” goals. It’s an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Related. Using this framework will help you understand what you need to do to get where you want to go!
When you’re thinking about your goals, make sure they’re:
Specific — The more specific you can make a goal, the better. Instead of simply saying, “I want to sell more than I did last year,” define a dollar amount you want to hit and break that figure into certain products you plan to push to make that goal. You’ll find it’s much easier to hit your target when you break it down in this way.
Measurable — If you’ve made your goal specific, this should be easy since you’ll already have dollar values, specific visitor totals, and so on to measure against. By setting measurable goals, you should be able to figure out if you’ve been successful or not.
Attainable (some say “Agreed”)— This is extremely important! Make sure your goals are realistic. Look at your past sales performance, visitor history, or any other relevant information to get a decent baseline to measure against (think of this as your “before” and “after” shot for metrics). Also, take a look at how you’re spending time and see if, given your schedule, your goals are realistic or not.
Relevant — Make sure that the goals you set make sense with what you want to achieve long-term as a business.
Time-Related (or, “Time-Bounded”)— Setting a timeline–and more importantly, a deadline for when you want to achieve your goals–is crucial. It should have some sense of urgency but be achievable. For example, if you’re planning for the holidays, keep in mind the “big” dates like Christmas, Hanukkah, and so on. Think about the last day you can ship to get your goods to their recipients in time for the holidays and work backwards from there to build a timeline.
Setting goals can be a difficult thing to spend time doing–we get it! And it’s even harder to do the things you need to do to accomplish them. However, by following the guidance above, and taking the small steps you need to along the way, you’ll be on your way to crushing your goals and growing your company!
Awesome apps for help with tracking and goal-setting
Everest. Everest is a free iPhone app that does a beautiful job of helping you set goals, track those goals and capture your progress along the way.
Lift. Lift is also free but works on both iPhone and web. Lift is more focused on daily habits but does a beautiful job of making you feel accomplished on a daily basis. You can also see the activity of your friends on Lift and also keep track of how many times you have done a habit.