Achieving business goals boils down to being able to identify the right targets, organize your resources to hit those targets, then execute a plan of action that leads to success. Many Black entrepreneurs have never been taught how to set short and long term business goals, let alone how to create systems for achieving them. In this article, we will do both.
This article is divided into 4 sections:
and Marketing goals.
To quickly jump down to a specific section, just click the links above. You can always click back to top to navigate more easily.
Here are the 17 business goals written as an affirmation that you should make to yourself this year:
- This Year, I Will Plan and Prepare for Financial Freedom
- This Year, I Will Make Exercise My New Religion
- This Year, I Will Become A Professional Learner
- This Year, I Will Power Up My Social Circle
- This Year, I Will Become The Most Organized Person I Know
- This Year, I Will Master My Financial Metrics
- This Year, I Will Learn How To Read And Prepare A Balance Sheet
- This Year, I Will Set a Daily Sales Goal That Matches My Freedom Number
- This Year, I Will Get A DUNS Number
- This Year, I Will Establish Financial Lifelines Before My Business Needs Them
- This Year, I Will Hire My Professional Dream Team
- This Year, I Will Add The Right Products To My System
- This Year, I Will Develop and Chart My Business Processes
- This Year, I Will Optimize My Business System
- This Year, I Will Set Up And Optimize My Email Marketing System
- This Year, I Will Build or Improve My Social Media Platforms
- This Year, I Will Get Printed Marketing Material For My Business
Copy and paste that list somewhere! Ready to get started? Start with yourself!
Personal Goals – Return to Top
Most businesses fail in their first year of operation. The reason for failure isn’t always because of a poor idea. Sometimes, the person behind the business wasn’t able to bring the idea to life. No matter how good your business idea is, if you are personally unable to execute, you will fail. To avoid that fate, here are 5 personal goals that will lay the foundation for your business success.
1. Plan and Prepare for Financial Freedom
This year, instead of saying “I want to be financially free”, start with a “freedom number”. Your freedom number is the amount of money you need to sustain your current lifestyle on a monthly basis. If your number is $3,000 per month, that is the amount of money your assets will need to generate to enable you to quit your job. In other words, $3,000 is the profit that your business must generate before you can quit your day job.
Unless you are as risky as I am, I dont suggest quitting your job the same month your business generates your “freedom number”. That could be a fluke month. Instead, wait a full quarter (3 months) to ensure that your business remains profitable before you step out on your own.
While you are waiting to escape the plantation, you need to save like your life depended on it. Save aggressively. If you are eating out, joyriding, or working on your wardrobe during this period, you are wrong. Cut all unnecessary costs from your life and place that money in an emergency fund.
Trust me, you will need it.
Your businesses profit is not guaranteed, and you dont want to risk having to crawl back to your old job. Having a fat emergency savings account will help you ride out the tough times and stay in business.
2. Make Exercise Your New Religion
Your health is the foundation of your wealth. You will need more energy and focus than you can imagine to pull off the massive success that you envision. The only way that your body will be able to generate the power that you need is through exercise.
- Exercise will prevent you from forgetting about important tasks. (Proof from Harvard)
- Exercise will help you work longer hours and produce a better quality of work. (Proof from Business Insider)
- Exercise will help you avoid unexpected medical costs (Proof from the American Heart Association)
There is no excuse. There is no way around it. If you are too busy to exercise, then you are too busy to succeed. Period. Click To Tweet
Specifically, your goal should be to exercise each and every day for no less than 30 minutes. Walking, running, weightlifting, pole dancing. Get it in.
3. Become A Professional Learner
Either you read and lead or stay ignorant and bleed. Click To Tweet
Human beings have been writing for the past 6,000 years. That means whatever problem you are facing, chances are someone has written a book with the solution in it. Make it your job to seek out, read, and apply the lessons found in those books.
To help you out, I have put together a list of the 100 best business books for Black entrepreneurs that you can find by clicking right here. You should probably also take this course below. Use the coupon code DEC10ALL to get this course for only $10 !
Of course, reading is not enough. As you read, take notes on the material. Afterward, either create a to-do list based on the book, or add the lessons into your day-to-day operations. This way you are actively applying what you have learned.
4. Power Up Your Social Circle
It has been said that you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. Make a list of those people, and answer the following questions about them:
- Are they committed to my success?
- Do they make a positive impact on my life or are they a distraction?
- Do they encourage or discourage me?
- Are they successful themselves?
- Do they have a positive attitude?
- Do they have intelligent and sound feedback to offer me?
If you are unhappy with the answers to those questions, its time to change the people you spend most of your time with. This can be tough, and the most heartbreaking part of your journey will be leaving behind those who cant grow with you. But sometimes you have to give up to go up. And that can include giving up negative relationships and distancing yourself from family members who prey on you for your resources. Those who were meant to be in your life will grow and go with you. Those who cant will move on.I am a firm believer that the people in my life either directly contribute to or take away from my success. Click To Tweet
Seek out new mentors and go to places where like minded individuals are sure to be. Join mastermind groups and go to events for the specific purpose of finding the right people to add to your entourage. When you come across potential additions to your circle, don’t be afraid to ask them what their goals are, or ask them for advice on a specific business challenge. Their answers will reveal to you whether they might make a good candidate for a position on your team.
Specifically, your goal should be to evaluate the 5 people you spend the most time with, eliminate those who are not headed in the same direction, and replace them with intelligent, resourceful, and encouraging people. Ideally, one of those people should play the role of a mentor for you.
5. Become The Most Organized Person You Know
If you have ever felt overwhelmed by everything you had to do, you know how frustrating it can be to move forward. Where do you start? What should get done first? What needs to get done urgently that got buried in the stack of other tasks?
If you cant answer these questions on a daily basis in a way that moves your business forward, you are in trouble. Feeling overwhelmed leads to frustration, and that frustration can lead to feelings of burn-out.
I currently run an organization that consists of 400 members spread across 12 departments. I also have 60 clients here at Legacy. On top of that, I have 2 side projects that generate a substantial amount of traffic and revenue each month. I know what burn out feels like!
Until I got organized, I wasn’t able to keep up my progress on any of these fronts. I constantly felt overwhelmed, frustrated, fatigued, and no one around me was happy. Fast forward to today and I have more time to do more great work, and rarely do I feel overwhelmed. This is a competitive advantage for me, and if you get serious about getting organized, you can achieve the same!
Here are three powerful books that helped me organize my life for success. Click on the title or book cover to read reviews and get your copy:
Financial Business Goals – Return to Top
6. Master Your Financial Metrics
Financial metrics are equations that will let you know whether your business is doing well or poorly. These numbers will let you know if you are headed for trouble a long time before you run off a cliff, so make it your personal mission to understand what metrics are most important to your business.
The 5 most important financial metrics you should be tracking are:
- Lifetime Customer Value. How much do you earn per customer? Per lead? If you know that, you will know how much you can spend to find them, and you will have your key piece of information for all of your napkin math.
- Income to Expenses Ratio Are you earning more than you spend? All other decisions hinge on whether or not you’re in the black or in the red.
- Break Even Point: In order to calculate your company’s breakeven point, use the following formula:Fixed Costs ÷ (Price – Variable Costs) = Breakeven Point in Units. In other words, the breakeven point is equal to the total fixed costs divided by the difference between the unit price and variable costs. Note that in this formula, fixed costs are stated as a total of all overhead for the firm, whereas Price and Variable Costs are stated as per unit costs — the price for each product unit sold.
- Net Profit: Add any other revenues received, then subtract the amount of all of your business expenses. In other words, your net income is the total profit your business has made. Calculate net profit margin using the following equation: (Net Income / Total sales) x 100
- Return on Investment
Of course, it is important to find a CPA who can truly help you make sense of the numbers, but it is your responsibility to understand what those numbers mean. I read Finance for NonFinancial Managers and that book breaks down everything you will need to know in plain language.
7. Learn How To Read And Prepare A Balance Sheet
A balance sheet is a statement of the assets, liabilities, and capital of a business. It will show you how much your business has brought in and spent – important information for any Black entrepreneur. Udemy has a great course that you can take at a discount (enter promo code DEC10ALL) that will help you read and understand how to use balance sheets strategically.
8. Set a Daily Sales Goal That Matches Your Freedom Number
Remember your ‘freedom number’ from your personal goals? Determine how many sales will generate the net profit per month that you need to achieve that goal. Write that number down. Now, determine your “Contact to Contract” ratio for each of your “sales channels”. In other words;
- How many phone calls do you need to make each day to land one sale?
- How many emails lead to sales?
- How many in person or over the phone conversations do you need to have to close one sale?
- How many flyers do you pass out before they lead to a sale (include “bring this flyer in for 50% off ” to count how many flyers walk back in)
Count these numbers. If your numbers show you need to make 10 calls to close 1 sale, and you need 60 sales per month to achieve your ‘freedom number’, then you need to do 20 calls per day to know that you are on track to meet your overall business goals. (60 sales = 600 calls (divided by 30 days in the month)).
Now go back to your organization system and schedule in those 20 calls for the first thing in the morning. You dont do anything else with your life until you have finished smiling and dialing.
9. Get A DUNS Number
A Dun & Bradstreet (or DUNS) number is like a social security number that tracks your business credit worthiness. According to SBA.gov:
Part of establishing a creditworthy company includes establishing positive credit ratings with major business credit reporting agencies such as D&B. If you are serious about establishing credit for your business, then the first thing to do is get listed in D&B’s database and set up your company’s credit file.
When you apply for a DUNs Number with D&B, the Data Universal Numbering System issues a nine-digit number that is unique to your company. This DUNs number is used to create your business credit file, similar to how your social security number is used to identify your personal credit reports.
DUNS numbers are FREE. Dont go paying someone to do this for you. The process is simple, straight forward, and can be completed online here.
10. Establish Financial Lifelines Before You Need Them
Once you have a DUNS number, you can prepare to get business loans and secure lines of credit. Just like you prepared your personal finances for potential disasters, so too should you prepare your business. Having a huge financial war chest will prepare you for long recessions, market downturns, and other misfortunes that are sure to arise.
This is also a competitive advantage that will help you do battle with competitors who come into your field. It is not unheard of for some businesses to buy out smaller competitors before they become real threats. Having a war chest will also give you the resources you need to invest in assets your competitors might not have or cant afford. It can also give you resources to explore game changing opportunities and do research and development that will keep you ahead of the pack.
Make it your goal to start and save a war chest for your business. Save a percentage of your profit in a money market account that you dont touch. Keep this separate from your personal savings account.
Operational Business Goals – Return to Top
11. Hire Your Professional Dream Team
Earlier we discussed bringing the right people into your social circle. It is equally important to bring the right people onto your staff. Having a professional dream team can save you money, keep you from being sued, and take your business to the next level.
Here are the 5 professionals I suggest you hire as soon as possible:
A Second-In-Command: This is a Co-Founder or business partner that you can offload tasks onto. If you have trust issues, deal with them: you need a partner on your team. This is so important that Sam Altman of Y- Combinator fame devoted an entire part of his Stanford College lecture to it in the video below. If you have a few minutes, grab a pen and pad to take notes.
A CPA: You are not as good with your money as you think you are. Trust me.
A Lawyer: Nobody wants to get a lawyer until its too late, but look at having a lawyer on retainer like having car insurance. Pay for it before you need it or you could end up in jail. Besides, you will be dealing with contracts, vengeful unsatisfied clients, and all kinds of fun stuff that a lawyer can handle for you instead.
An Administrator: An administrator is someone you train and pay to handle data entry, document processing, appointment setting, and any other administrative tasks that you should not be doing. The tasks you pass off to them will depend on your business. For example, if you are running a salon, this could be the person who sits at the entrance coordinating walk-ins, answering the phone, confirming appointments, ordering supplies, and sending out mail promotions.
A Customer Support Specialist: I can guarantee you one thing: you will drop the ball on a few customers unless you have someone there to catch that rebound. Without your customers and clients, you don’t have a business. Therefore, make sure you have a professional Shepard watching over your flock at all times. Early on in your business, this is a role that you should play so that you understand the ropes. But as you grow, shell out the extra cost to hire and train an in house customer support agent.
Many Black entrepreneurs put off hiring a team because they feel like the cost outweighs the benefits. But not hiring these team members could destroy your business.
I have faced numerous lawsuits and legal issues that would have costed me tens of thousands of dollars. I avoided those costs by retaining a lawyer for $500 a month.
I tried to do my taxes and the IRS politely informed me that I owed $50,000. I had my CPA review my filings and I got a few grand back instead. That CPA contracted at $200 per month.
I tried to do my own customer support, and lost 50% of my clients because I couldn’t keep up. That costed me about $9,000. I hired on a Customer Support Specialist and my client retention jumped up to 80%. That specialist only costs us $90 per month.
So you do the math:
$69,000+ versus $800 per month.
That doesn’t even count the amount of time I wasted doing things I had no business doing. If you cant afford to do things right, get ready to pay a lot more to do them wrong.
12. Add The Right Products To Your System
Business systems consist of people, products, and efficient processes. Products include anything that you can use that solve problems or that can help you achieve your business goals more efficiently. Here are some examples of how I use products to solve problems:
Problem: In the past, I would have to open 9 different social media accounts per day to check them all.
Solution: I use Hootsuite, open one tab, and can check up to 100 different accounts quickly.
Problem: I lost all my business files when my computer crashed last year.
Solution: I now use Google Drive and only Google drive to save all files. Now I can share and access my files from anywhere with anyone!
Problem: I would get calls at midnight from clients because I would use my personal phone number for customer service and tech support.
Solution: I use Grasshopper 1-800 number system to keep my personal number separate from my business number.
Problem: I wanted to send out emails to all my clients letting them know about changes and new items, but I would have to copy and paste 200 emails.
Solution: I use Aweber to automatically collect client email addresses, and I can write one email that goes to hundreds or thousands of people whenever I want it to.
When it comes to products, start by asking yourself if there is something that you can buy or use to take work off your plate or to make your processes more efficient. Do a quick search through our business tools to find that product, or do a google search for one. In this day and age, chances are that it exists!
13. Develop and Chart Your Business Processes
A solid business system consists of people, products, and processes. If you want to move from being a one person operation to being a serious entrepreneur, you will need to develop and chart your business processes. Your business process is a step by step checklist that combines people and products in the most straightforward steps that you can take from step one to done. Here is a very basic process map for selling an item:
- Order wholesale item from supplier.
- Have item delivered to P.O Box 1234.
- Item will be piked up by Sales representative.
- Item will be removed from shipping package and placed in 4×6 envelope
- Buyers will pay for item using PayPal.
- PayPal will send a ship now notice to this person (your sales representative)
- Sales representative will print PayPal shipping label and will place label on package with clear scotch tape around all edges of label as shown below
- Sales Representative will deliver package to post office or will drop in a blue mailbox
- Sales representative will mark item as shipped and PayPal will automatically generate a tracking number for the buyer
- PayPal will automatically add buyer to email list in Aweber (here is how)
- Sales Representative will write email and schedule email to follow up with buyer after 2 weeks to complete survey and offer discounts on future purchases.
The people in this system are the sales representative you train to do this job. The products in this system are Aweber and Paypal. The process answers every question that anyone would have about how to get the product and deliver it to the customer. You should include the who, what, when, and where of the entire process, and add images as necessary. Once you have mapped out all parts of your system, look for products that will do tasks for you automatically and outsource parts of your process to people who can do that job for you.
The ability to develop and chart your business processes will give you the power to do more work with less effort by giving you the power to automate or delegate tasks that take up your time unnecessarily.
14. Optimize Your Business System
Now that you have your system charted out, its time to cut unnecessary steps. Ideally, you want a system that works perfectly every time with zero effort on your part. For instance, in the past when a customer would order a product for me, I would deliver their item to the post office, then manually type out their tracking number in PayPal. Then, I would copy and paste their email address into my email autoresponder. I would then write an email asking for their feedback and offering them a promo code for future purchases.
Now, my products are fulfilled by Amazon. I never see the product. I never go to the post office. I never type out tracking numbers in Paypal. My virtual assistant downloads an order report every month, and copies the email addresses into my Aweber email list. It costs $5 for my virtual assistant to do that. I also hired a writer from Fiverr to write the email, along with 10 other followup emails that will keep us on our customer’s radars for the next year.
What I used to do over and over again, I hired individuals to do for me just once.
Optimize your systems by cutting out steps and finding people or products to do those steps for you automatically.
Marketing Goals – Return to Top
15. Set Up And Optimize Your Email Marketing System
If you haven’t set up your email marketing system yet, you are asleep at the wheel. There is a reason we talk about email marketing so much around here – because it works!
Take an hour and take notes on this video below. It is from one of the Most successful internet marketers of all time, John Chow. If you cant watch the video now, bookmark this page and come back when you can.
Now that you know how to set up your system, its time to go to work:
1. Get Aweber.
2. Set up your email autoreponder to email your list once per week for a few months. You can hire us to write those emails for you.
3. Add some forms on your site that users can use to sign up for your email list. We use Convertplug – that’s the pop up that you see when you visit our site and most other professional sites online. You can get Convertplug by clicking here.
The emails that you write for your subscribers are designed to do two things: to help them solve a problem they are having within your niche, and to convert them into a customer and later, into a raving lunatic for your brand.
If you are wondering what you should be writing about in your emails, schedule a consultation with us to get some ideas. Click here to pick a time that’s right for you.
16. Build or Improve Your Social Media Platforms
Whatever social media channels you choose to operate on, you should have a professional profile picture or header, lots of useful and/or entertaining content, and an active audience that you engage with regularly.
Contrary to popular belief, you dont need to be on every single social media platform on the planet. Snapchat may not be where your target audience hangs out, so spending your valuable time there may not make sense. Instead, find the top two or three platforms where they do hang out and become a force to be reckoned with on that platform.
Social media has become such a valuable marketing tool that if you decide not to use it, chances are your competition will. That could mean they take valuable ground from you before you realize you need it. I dont care if you run a notary company, a CPR training company, or a cactus-sitting service, you must have a social media presence.
Here is a very basic plan to get you in the game:
- Start by identifying the two platforms you should be on
- Once you have two social media platforms in mind, click here to hire a designer to create your profile header.
- Find tools that let you write your social media content ahead of time and post the on a schedule that you choose. We are fans of Hootsuite and use the service every day to schedule our posts up to a month in advance. This is what Hootsuite looks like
- Spend a few minutes every morning on Hootsuite responding to any messages and comments your social media followers have left on your page. Nothing is worse than leaving your followers hanging!
If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for what to post, here is one: choose one theme each month related to your niche. For instance, if you are a hair stylist your monthly schedule would look something like this :
January: Hair Style Inspiration (post pics of creative hair styles and ask for feedback from your followers)
February: How to month (do posts on how to do home hairstyles yourself)
March: Ethnic hair month (post images of ethnic hair)
April: Hair care beyond the salon month (post info on how to take care of your hair after salon visits)
You get the idea. You should be posting to your account regularly. Regularly depends on the platform you use. For twitter, that may mean once per day. For Facebook that may mean twice per week. Know your platform and know your audience to find the right operational tempo.
17. Create Your Printed Marketing Material
It is true that we are living in an increasingly digital world, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect flyers, brochures, and business cards. Go to Fiverr and have a designer create a flyer for one of your campaigns. This will cost you about $5. Brochures are like a physical version of your website, and potential clients will be reminded of you and your brand every time they pick your brochure up. Dont sleep on the power of having brochures for your offering or brand.
Click here to get business cards. Think about how embarrassed you felt when someone asked you for a business card and you didn’t have one! Have business cards on you at all times. Period.
So you have your website ready to go. You have your social media accounts set up. You have your printed material in hand. Now its time to launch a multi-channel marketing campaign!
A marketing campaign is a series of actions that you take over a specific period of time to achieve a specific goal. That goal can be launching a new course, or selling a new product. Marketing campaigns can be centered around holidays or around other special occasions. Most retailers have a marketing campaign that leads up to Black Friday as an example.
Your marketing campaign can be used to get the word out about your company, or to get media coverage to support other business goals.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this list, achieving business goals boils down to being able to identify the right targets, organize your resources to hit those targets, then execute a plan of action that leads to success.
Heres to seeing your business grow, thrive, and move into 2018 stronger than ever!