This is a transcript of episode 27 of the OMGrowth Podcast, published on May 19, 2021
In January – or maybe it was in December – you set all these smoking hot goals and income targets and numbers to hit for the year ahead… but then the end of Q1 rolls around and you find yourself having to move those Q1 goals into Q2… and now that we’re closing in on the end of Q2, those smoking hot goals aren’t quite as lit as you had planned for them to be.
So how do we fix this vicious cycle of moving last quarter’s goals into the next like it’s a game of musical chairs? That’s what we’re discussing on today’s episode.
MARGINS (%) > REVENUE ($)
If you want to talk about OMGrowth moments, you have to be bringing numbers to the table. You need to have a starting point to improve on and from.
The problem I often see, though, is when bosses prioritize revenue and dollars over margins and percentages.
Dollars and revenue increase because percentages and margins increase, and not the other way around.
Unless you’re increasing your prices, the revenue itself isn’t where your focus should be if you’re looking to generate more income; you want to be looking at how you can improve your percentages and margins and, in turn, this can then impact your revenue.
“I want a higher percentage of people coming to my sales page to increase my chances of making the sale.”
“I want a better conversion rate on the landing page for my ads to increase my profit margins.”
“I want to increase the click-through rates on my evergreen emails to build my passive income sources.”
When you focus on making improvements to your percentages and margins, the revenue and dollars will follow.
What’s more is that by focusing on percentages and margins, you’re better able to control the impact you can make to your revenue and dollars in a way that setting arbitrary income goals will never do.
For instance, let’s say you’re running Facebook ads on $100/day to a $37 product and you know your ad converts visitors to sales at 10% conversion rate. Cool beans!
Now say you have a cost-per-click – or what the cool kids call your CPC – of $2.00. This means you would sell $185 worth of your product and profit $85 with an 85% return-on-investment – or what the cool kids would call your ROI.
But if you drop that cost-per-click down to, say $1.80. With everything else holding stable, you’re looking at $222 in sales per day with a profit of $122 and 122% ROI.
There’s a lot you can do to impact that 20 cent drop – you can work on your ad copy, your creative, your targeting – but the point is that you HAVE something you’re able to work with and do something about.
And over the course of a year, that 20 cent drop in CPC amounts to an increase of over $13,000 in profit.
The margins and the percentages are where the little Mario magic mushrooms are: if you can improve your margins, you will improve your revenue.
GOALS = WORKLOAD
Another reason you may be moving last quarter’s goals into next quarter is that the goals you create exist separately from your daily workload and tasks.
If you want the daily things you do to contribute to your goals, those goals can’t be created in a silo; your workload needs to be connected and accountable to the big picture of what you’re trying to achieve each and every day.
As a solopreneur, this is easier said than done because it’s all on you, and that’s a whole lot to keep front-and-center.
I preach the gospel of Airtable a whole lot but this is one of the main reasons:
With Airtable, it’s easy to connect what you’re working on to what you’re trying to achieve in a way that you never, ever lose sight of your big boss vision.
Furthermore, if you are doing work that doesn’t contribute to what you set out to achieve this quarter? The way I use Airtable sets you up so that it is all-kinds-of obvious that you are doing work that isn’t connected to anything that matters.
When that sinking feeling of overwhelm creeps in – you know the one that has you crying in the shower or in the Target parking lot, feeling like you have more work to do than you’ll ever get done and it’s somehow not getting you any closer to where you said you wanted to be?
Yeah, that’s just a connection issue. And all connection issues feel like holy-effing-frustration. (I mean, if you’ve ever had unreliable Internet, you feel me on this, amirite?)
I have an AIRTABLE LIBRARY of free resources available if you want to explore that kind of connected way of managing your projects, and I have a flash sale going for my signature course called Airtable Like A Boss.
STABILIZING vs. ENHACING
Finally, another struggle bus I see a lot of bosses riding when it comes to not achieving the goals you set out from one quarter to the next is that they don’t take a time-out.
Growth isn’t always a result of enhancing; you do need to integrate stabilizing periods in order to hit that next growth spurt.
When you hear people talk about “scaling vertically” versus “scaling horizontally”, this is what they’re talking about.
Scaling vertically is when you’re raising your efforts and investments. We’re talking about things like increasing your conversion rates, increasing your ad budgets, or hosting events like webinars or summits.
Scaling horizontally is when you’re expanding your reach. This is about reaching new audiences, either through ads, collaborations, visibility or offers.
Get intentional about whether your growth is focused on reaching “higher” versus “wider”.
And before you come at me saying, “Lanie, I want to do both!”… of course you WANT to do both, but it’s unlikely that you can do both well at the same time.
Improving and stabilizing – or scaling higher/vertically – is a totally different gear than enhancing and expanding – or scaling wider/horizontally – and each will require a totally different level of effort and focus.
Yes, you can spread yourself thin and do both, but you can also choose a lane and get better, more concentrated results.
What’s more is that you have to be balanced in your approach. You can’t always be in improvement mode without reaching new audiences, just like you can’t always be in promotion mode without taking the time to get better results from how you’re doing that.
So how are you going to do all of this? What ACTION ITEMS are going to help you quit moving last quarter’s goals into the next?
1) CALL THE NUMBER
I know you’ve done this before for your revenue targets – whether that’s for the quarter, the month or the year – but let’s shift gears and call out the numbers we want to see for our profit margins (helloooooo take-home pay!), conversion rates, open rates, click-through rates, cost per clicks… ANY-thing you can point at and say, “you! let’s give YOU a makeover!”
Because what we’re talking about is improving what you’re already working with to have a trickle-down effect – or heck, maybe it’ll be the waterfall effect! – on your revenue. Maybe you don’t need more traffic so much as you need more of your existing traffic to see your sales page, so by creating more or better calls-to-action guiding visitors like air traffic control, your bottom line will reap the rewards.
Same goes for dropping the cost of your ads by a few cents by experimenting with the creative, or getting more people to open your emails using better subject lines, or any number of seemingly small improvements or low-lying fruit that can and will have an impact on everything else.
2) FOLLOW THE LEADER
What’s leading to your biggest profits? (Not just revenue, either – profit! Like, money leftover from the revenue after all the expenses are covered.) Which offers or efforts or products or events are your money-makers? And is this where you’re spending your time?
Sometimes we put so much time and effort into things BECAUSE they aren’t working, and we neglect the things that ARE working.
Sometimes the “easy” stuff feels “too easy” and we tend to the squeaky wheels, even though the lubed ones get us further and faster.
Look at your current numbers. Look at your performers. Look at what people are showing you they want from you.
And have an honest conversation as to whether that is what you’re delivering on or whether you’re making things harder on yourself than they need to be.
3) GET CONNECTED
I’m a solopreneur, too, so I “get” how tough it can be, feel and seem to have to be the plow horse AND the show pony for your brand. But listen, nobody is going to do it for you and there’s no way you can do it all at one.
Force your tasks and checklists to be accountable to your big boss vision, and set your vision up to easily remind your tasks and checklists what page they need to be and stay on!
I haven’t found a better way of doing that than using Airtable – it’s a totally visual, connected way for you to plan your To Do list without sacrificing or losing sight of your big goals in the process.
Whether those goals are financial and you want to see what sales would have to look like to get you there, or maybe you want to plan that sabbatical you keep talking about, or maybe you have a launch to prepare for – I’d love for you to find ways to make that impact you’re looking for on your income goals rather than putting the responsibility on those numbers to have an impact on you.
After all, you’re the boss, apple sauce, and you ARE the impact you want to see in your business.