Don’t Focus On Your Goals. Focus On This Instead.

“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”

– James Clear, Atomic Habits

Nothing makes me happier than achieving a goal for my clients.

As a marketer achieving client goals is arguably the most important part of my job, but what many people fail to realize is most goals will fail without proper systems in place to help execute the strategy to accomplish those goals. In his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, Scott Adams says that “Goals are for losers.

He goes on to explain, “Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out.  Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.

Seeing the quote above resonated with me as a new business owner, and as a marketer. Systems give us something to focus on immediately, while goals are often established for the future (typically quarterly, or annually). Because goals do not provide immediate information and gratification, it makes sense that when you focus more on your goals than the systems you have in place to help achieve your goals, you are living in a constant state of failure until your goal is met.

In my business I get around this state of failure by establishing micro goals monthly that allow me to provide almost immediate value to clients. These micro goals also allow me to predict whether or not we are on track to hit our quarterly and annual goals. Guess what! The act of establishing micro goals is actually an example of a system. It’s just one of many systems I have in place in my business to propel my clients forward.

Here are some of the ways I ensure the systems in place streamline and grow my business, and my client’s businesses as well.

Automation

At its core, a system should be something automatic that solves a problem in your business. One of the things that I struggled with when launching my own business was prioritizing my digital content. Between managing client work and working a second job, my own digital presence was taking a backseat. Using scheduling software like Later, I have been able to schedule content for my social platforms in batches – rather than having to find time every day to post content. Automated systems help you use your time effectively and improve your productivity and should be implemented by your business as often as possible.

Evaluation

Once your systems are in place you MUST make sure they are actually working for your business. When I started working in the marketing industry, on-boarding clients was chaotic. It took several phone calls, emails, and hours of planning before services even started being executed – and most importantly, it disrupted workflow for existing clients. After finding that process ineffective, I was able to implement new (and automated) systems to streamline the process. I traded in an initial discovery call for a quick, 10 question survey for prospective clients to fill out prior to our first meeting. The survey included a link to a calendar to schedule our first phone call/in-person meeting. This survey allowed me to collect data on their perceived marketing needs prior to our meeting, rendering initial discussions irrelevant, and allowing me to tailer the content I brought to our meeting specifically to their needs.

Revision

If your system isn’t working – fix it, but also be sure you’ve given the system time to work. Don’t change your system just because you forget to follow a week after you implement it or because the first few weeks you find yourself needing a checklist to ensure you are completing all steps as needed. While a system can work immediately, you will likely need some time to adjust to a new way of doing things. I prefer giving myself 60-90 days to evaluate a new system to determine what is working and what isn’t. From there, I try tweaking small parts of my systems in places I think it may be flawed rather than changing my entire system completely. This ensures systems ultimately have longevity so I am not constantly changing systems for my business (creating more hassle than it’s worth).

Setting up your systems will take time in the beginning but in the long run, your systems will save you hundreds of hours of frustration and stress. Do you have any systems in place?

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