Today I want to share my thinking process for setting smart business goals with you. I like to work backwards from a financial goal to daily to-do lists. Here’s how that works.

It always starts with a money goal. It helps if that goal has a meaning beyond the dollar figure.

For example, let’s say that I want to buy a new car. The payment is around $400. To account for things like insurance and just to be safe, I’ll bump the goal up to $600. In other words, I need to add an extra $600 (or more… more is always better) to my monthly bottom line. Once that’s done and I am seeing that level of income on a regular basis, I’m ready to buy my new car.

Once I know how much money I have to make, I can start to think about different ways to do just that.

I could find more customers for one or several of my existing products. For example, if I have a $15 eBook, I would have to make an extra 40 sales per month. From there I can work backward. If I know that on average, 1 out of 10 email subscribers will buy the ebook within the first month of signing up, I need to add 600 new subscribers to my list. If my email opt-in converts 1 out of every 4 people who visit my site, that means I need 4,000 new visitors to my site. If that’s my plan, I know that my daily to-do list needs to include plenty of action steps to ramp up my traffic by an extra 4,000 people per month.

Of course, that’s not my only option. I could also create another information product or eBook each month and sell it to both my existing and new subscribers. I could create a higher priced item which would require fewer monthly sales to reach my $600 goal. For example, if I create a nice $100 product, I would only need 6 sales per month to pay for the car.

Since the car payment will be an ongoing thing, it also makes sense to look into recurring income.

This could be my own membership, or I could look into affiliate offers with recurring commissions. Depending on your market, there’s a lot out there that you can promote.

For me, one option could be to promote the WP DIY Club, a membership club for WordPress site owners who want to (or have to) work on their sites themselves. It’s currently a $50 per month subscription . I only need 12 new members to pay for my car. Once I reach that number, I only need to add the occasional new member to balance out cancellations. Getting one or two more members in each month going forward should more than cover that.

smart business goals

Now I have a concrete goal to work toward: 12 new members. My daily tasks will include things like:

  • creating content that includes an offer to the club,
  • a short report offering DIY WordPress tips to build targeted sub lists of people interested DIY, in general
  • driving traffic to the content and the opt-in offer
  • mailing regularly about the WP DIY Club membership.
  • maybe even craft a short autoresponder sequence to create an evergreen funnel.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

By thinking outside the box, it won’t take me long to get those 12 members that pay for my new car. Because I really want that new car, I’m going to be motivated to grow my business by those extra $600 per month.

This is just one example of how to work backward from a goal.

Smart business goals, in my opinion, are goals that are both achievable and meaningful. What makes them smart is that they are concrete and specific, and are tied to something that you care about. Because, let's face it…few of us do anything for very long, much less consistently enough to see results, unless we care.