Last year I joined a sales masterclass for women — which in itself is a great idea, let me tell you that.
What I loved about it, is that it truly spoke to women as salespeople, and discusses how us, as ladies, can feel more at ease with selling and the masculine energy surrounding it.
As a full disclaimer, I’d need to say that I am a type-A driven human (if you are a loyal follower, my dear reader, you must know this already).
Therefore, it may not be such a surprising thing for you to hear.
Among a lot of points and conversations, we reverted back to setting targets and creating a structure for our growth. This is where the dreaded five-year plan came in.
Most of us shivered, a lady simply admitted:
” I struggle to plan my weekend, let alone the next five years”
Now, she is not alone. As someone who has been in business for herself short of eight years now, I have a complicated relationship with long-term commitment.
This is mainly because I changed my direction about gazillion times. One year I was practising as a health coach, business coach, networking marketing representative, and personal trainer.
I slowly finalised my offerings to reflect my ten-year marketing experience, but then I started the Health Bloggers Community (now Creative Impact) and felt like I had to start it all over again. (Cue party poppers).
Truthfully, I had done a hell of a lot experimenting, so in a way, I felt prompted, ready and excited to get my five-year plan together.
If you are a fellow commitment-phobe, do not fret. I know your palms may be sweating now, but I swear this is for the greater good. Creating a five-year plan does not mean micromanaging your future.
The way I developed my plan was simple and absolutely stress-free. These are the simple three steps you need to follow.
Choose your medium and set it up right
Are you a digital or analog kind of person?
I personally love a bit of both, but for my five-year plan, I wanted a spreadsheet I could look at whenever I needed it.
I created the simplest spreadsheet in the world. The sheet includes three goals (one for each row), then 5 columns, one for each year.
I went as far as adding an extra column each year to check whether I achieved my goal, but that’s just me being a bit of a Virgo.
I want your plan to be easy and to the point. All you need to know is the end goal, and we’ll then be working back from that.
Set up your end goals
The fun part is that we’ll be working on your last column first, the one with the year five.
This is where you’re going to write three big bold goals. One of them, for me, was to help over 10,000 creatives making a positive impact on other people.
I know, right? Ambitious.
At Creative Impact Co we do not believe in failure. We are a stubborn bunch.
That’s why we believe that goal setting is a key aspect of creating a great strategy and a glorious brand. This leads me to another key point of this discussion.
If you are not seeing the results you expected, chances are you’re not going to achieve your goals by accident: it takes purposeful planning. If you don’t define those goals and create a plan to work toward them, you’ll never reach them.
This is why, today, I am introducing one easy way of setting meaningful goals for your business. It all starts with SMART goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that helps you set the right type of goals.
This is quite straightforward. The more specific you make your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Instead of saying “I want to make money from my content” make sure you set a specific goal to make enough money from your content to pay, for example, for a week-long holiday.
Setting targets can be scary, hence why we are more likely to shy away from them! Just like how people struggle to “grow their Instagram” because they do not know what that actually entails, you need to get clear on what true results mean to you. You want to know how many new followers you are expecting, how many articles you want to write in a month, how many new emails you want to collect in a specific amount of time – this makes your achievements measurable and more manageable.
Less is more, especially when it comes to goal setting. Choose one big goal, and work toward it. Then move on to the next one. Remember, you can only achieve so much before your willpower dwindles and you jump straight into burnout. Don’t get fooled by the shiny object syndrome: if you create many goals to accomplish at the same time, you’ll burn through your willpower very quickly.
Your goals should be consistent with what you want to achieve with your brand, hence you need to know WHY you are in business altogether. There’s no point in wasting time on a goal that won’t help you achieve your overall purpose. Think carefully about how your goal is helping you to achieve your purpose in your brand. Is doubling your Facebook likes really going to help you make the money you want for that holiday?
A time-bound goal gives you focus and allows an end date for achieving your goal. Let’s use the weight-loss analogy just one more time. You don’t want to just set a goal, such as “I want to gain 1,000 followers”. Instead, you want your goal to be time-bound, such as “I want to get to 10,000 followers by the end of the year.” By adding a deadline for achieving the goal, you will be able to see how close you are and keep yourself on the right track. Remember, you are always encouraged to adjust your deadlines accordingly to the goal, and how achievable it is.
They have been used by many very successful professionals and individuals for many years. SMART is an acronym that helps you set the right type of goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound).
Your five-year goal may feel slightly out of reach.
However, since this goal is hella SMART, it was easy for me to work it out backward.
Time to work backward
What do I need to achieve first, in order to get to the end goal?
This is the question that will help me filling year one, the one I can clearly see in plain sight. After that, it’s all about incrementally growing from there.
Let’s take my goal for example.
- Year one: help 1,000 students through our courses each year
- Year two: welcome 1,000 more members to our collective
- Year three: set up 1,000 campaigns on our marketplace
- Year four: sell 5,000 copies of my books
- Year five: help 10,000 creatives with our products
As you see, goals allow for incremental growth. By welcoming 1,000 new students each year and adding to that growth in other areas of the business, we can massively amplify our reach outside of our own audience.
What I do NOT do at this point it outlines how in detail. Why? That is the step-by-step monthly review and strategy that you need to account for.
What if my goals change?
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” — Pablo Picasso
At the end of each year, look at whether your goals have changed, whether you met your yearly goal, and what needs to be adjusted. Once again, I have been in business far too long to worry about things changing. Evolution and change are at the base of growth and business, and as such should be celebrated.