The first step in any planning process is to set goals and objectives. It’s supposed to be easy and obvious, but it isn’t always – especially when you are so close to your business.

I like to start by setting goals. Goals are larger, more general statements of intention. So my goal might be to launch a business, for example. That’s fairly general in nature.

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  • An objective, however is more specific. Your objective typically focuses on a single goal; I want to start a house cleaning business.
  • Be sure that you can measure it by the ideal customer’s behavior and resulting sales. “30 working moms will purchase my weekend clean-sweep package”
  • Focus on a time period to achieve your goal: 3o working moms will buy my clean sweep weekend package every quarter.
  • Focus on Ideal Customer behavior: This is what sets marketing objectives apart from every other business objective. Here are some examples:
    • Retain customers – you may create an objective that focuses on keeping great customers.
    • Increase sales by existing customers – this is a step above retention. Selling more stuff to customers you already have.
    • Increasing frequency of purchase – getting customers to purchase more frequently

When you are setting objectives, be sure to set objectives for EXISTING customers as well as NEW customers. Existing customers are often a source of higher profits because you don’t have to convince them to buy.

Just for fun. Take your financial goal and write it on top of a piece of paper. Then circle it. Now you’ve got a goal. The next step is to identify some more detail around how you will reach that goal. Chances are some of that number will come from existing customers and some will come from new customers. So create those two revenue channels that lead to your financial goal. Now you are ready to start setting objectives from these two points.

A final word on setting objectives:

Be honest with yourself. You’re not going to accomplish objectives that come from a feeling that you “should” be doing something, You will only spend your time and money on things that you are motivated to accomplish.

Adapt other ideas. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out “what your really want to accomplish,” start by taking some “standard” objectives and adapting them for your business. For example, an objective might be to “sample” new product. In what ways can you provide samples of your product or service? Set an objective around that.

If it’s not working, find something else. The important thing is to start. Live with objectives you’ve set, but be open to change them if they are not working. Nothing is cast in stone.

Setting objectives is the only way you’re going to know to what degree you’re making progress in your business. Make sure to take the time and energy to set objectives that will inspire you and make your marketing plan playful and fun! ?Making marketing fun will make selling new customers and serving existing ones a joy!