Goals Versus Solutions

By Stephanie Riley

When I have the exciting opportunity to talk with an entrepreneur, I like to learn about their business by asking them what their goals are. However, these are not the type of answers I generally receive. I might hear responses like “I want a fancy website” or “I want to develop a Google advertising campaign.” But these aren’t actually goals. Rather, they are solutions for goals. 

So, how can we solve a problem when we haven’t even defined the problem?

Let’s start with an example. Suppose you own a salon. As a beautician, your initial goal shouldn’t focus on gaining 15,000 followers on Instagram in one week. Instead, try booking more weddings or adding $20,000 in product sales for this year. Why? Because these are easily attainable goals that address one of your major concerns related to profit. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would applaud anyone who obtains 15,000 Instagram followers in such a short time frame. But is this not a goal; it’s a solution for a goal. 

Keep in mind that a goal can also be used to solve a problem. For instance, if you recently moved, your goal could be centered around the idea of increasing brand awareness. Or maybe your goal is to simply retain your current customer base. Regardless of where your business is progress-wise, remember to define the goals and opportunities first. Then the solutions will follow. 

So ask yourself: Instead of gaining a huge Instagram following, how about building a display to showcase your products near the checkout counter instead? Or a product party (with wine of course) that lets you educate potential clients on the products you sell? You could even create a rewards program to serve as an incentive. What about creating an automated email campaign that follows up with clients right after their first purchase? These are the type of tactics that will help you reach your product sales goal — not Instagram followers.

Now, I understand that not every goal and problem focuses on making a profit. But since many of them do, I provided a list of questions below to help you get your wheels turning.

  • What areas of my business have the biggest profit margins?

  • What areas of my business do I enjoy the most. Hopefully this answer is the same as the previous questions.

  • How can I grow the high-margin areas of my business?

  • What areas of my business have room for growth?

  • Are there any areas of my business that need revising? Any problems to solve?

Just remember, the solutions should come only after the goals are identified. If this is an area you need help brainstorming, we’d love to sit down and talk with you more. Feel free to contact us here.