I often wonder how people without a plan know where they're going. Or, how they know when they've arrived at their destination.
Think about it.
If you never specify what your goal is, how do you go about achieving it? And how do you know when to celebrate?
Having a clearly defined, and written goal is the first step in creating a successful business.
How Will You Measure Your Success?
Whether you choose to measure your success in number of clients or revenue per month or year, or in any other terms, is up to you. The point is to establish a measurable goal.
The second step to creating a successful business is creating a plan to achieve your goal. This is your marketing plan and it ensures all your time, energy and money are focused on achieving whatever it is YOU want to achieve.
But it doesn't stop there.
A Goal And A Plan Are NOT Enough
Just having a goal and a plan are not enough. You must track your progress so you can determine if it will require more or different effort to achieve your goal.
So how do you track your progress?
You Need Two More Things . . . One
First, you track your progress toward your overall goal. I recommend you evaluate this at least every couple of months.
But why not just make a habit of doing it once a month?
Make it a practice to review your marketing plan and how well it is moving you toward your goal, at the end of every month. A good day to do this is the day you take care of your end-of-month administrative tasks (things like paying bills and running sales and financial reports).
If you break your goal down into twelfths, you can easily tell each month if you're on track. And, if you're not, you can easily make adjustments, like increasing your level of marketing if necessary, to get back on track.
By keeping close tabs on your progress toward your goals, you greatly increase your odds of achieving them. Partly because you give yourself time to make adjustments and take a different route if necessary.
And, partly because you are constantly reminding yourself of your intentions.
And . . . Two
The second way to stay on track is to track each of your individual marketing activities. This is how you'll know if each activity is moving you toward your goal.
For Example . . . Tracking Your Web Site Stats
If you're generating your prospects or clients via your web site, do you know how many visitors you need to generate the number of clients you're shooting for?
It's pretty easy to determine if you utilize web site tracking reports. Your web host should provide tracking reports to let you know how many visitors your site is getting, and ideally you can track this for each page of your site.
WebStat is a great tool that provides detailed reports on web site traffic. I use it as a supplement to the reports provided by my web host, and I love it. You can try it out at no cost, plus there's a free version, or you can subscribe for a very low monthly fee. Learn more about WebStat here.
If you have a newsletter or special report that web site visitors can subscribe to you can then determine what your conversion rate is: Total Subscribers divided by Total Visitors equals your Conversion Rate.
Do You Know What Your Conversion Rates Are?
You can then take this one step further by determining what your conversion rate is, from subscribers to clients. Or, to measure what your sales conversion rate is if you are selling products or services on your web site.
Once you know your sales conversion rate, you should be able to calculate how many web site visitors you need to generate to achieve your sales or “number of clients" goal.
This will tell you pretty quickly if you're on track to achieve your goal, or if you need to generate a lot more web site traffic to do so.
A Little Bit Of Math Upfront Will Guarantee Your Success
While at first it may be disheartening, especially if you're way off the mark, at least you have a clear picture of what it will take to reach your goal. Then it's simply a matter of finding ways to generate the traffic. And then it's only a matter of time until you achieve your goal.
Track Your Speaking Engagements or Teleseminars
You can track other marketing activities in a similar way. For example, with speaking engagements or teleseminars, what percentage of your attendees typically subscribe, and then what percentage of those typically become clients or buy?
You can determine how big of an audience or how many speaking engagements or teleseminars you need to do to reach your goals.
Track Your Public Relations Efforts
For public relations, how many people do you need to reach, or impressions do you need to achieve to generate the return necessary to meet your goals? You can then send your releases out more frequently (just make sure they're newsworthy) or to media with a larger audience.
Again, if you monitor your results every month, you'll have a very good idea if you're on track to meet your goals. And, you'll have plenty of time to make adjustments to your plan if necessary.
So, What's Your Goal For This Year?
And do you know if you're on track to achieve it? If you haven't committed your goal to writing, I encourage you to do so today.
If you're not sure what you can achieve, then take your best guess and work towards that.
You Can Track Your Way To The Top!
Put some tracking practices into place and stay on top of them every month. If you do this, I guarantee you'll achieve a lot more than if you just “wing it!"
If you'd like some help creating your goals and developing a marketing plan to help you achieve them, check out The 10stepmarketing™ System. It walks you through the process in a simple, step-by-step manner, making it easy.
Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free 10-week Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at http://www.10stepmarketing.com