The Importance of Clear Business Goals

Bill Lawrence, VP and managing director at NuRun, makes a good point: “Get back to basics before you all jump off a bridge.”

In a recent article Lawrence reflects on how we as children likely used the But Everyone Else Is Doing It argument with our parents at one time or another, à la “But So-And-So’s mom is letting him do it!”  Mom, of course, would counter-argue with a question:  “And if So-And-So jumped off a bridge, would you too?”

Mom’s goal was to get us to think.

Lawrence’s point as related to business and marketing is that marketing efforts often echo that same argument: “Organization A has resounding success with an initiative, and organization B (usually a competitor) wants to follow suit.” For those helping clients to build a business and successful marketing platform, Lawrence advises, there may be a need to step in and repeat Mom’s refrain, in particular with exuberant clients bitten by the social media bug.

Clearly, it can be difficult to resist jumping into what appears as “fresh” and current—folks like being part of something that’s all the rage.  It does seem like everyone and every entity has a Facebook page and that the world is communicating in Tweets. However, per marketing your business, keep in mind that “there is no ‘conventional’ social media strategy that’s right for all organizations,” says Lawrence.

I recently attended an excellent internet marketing course (the Online Marketing Boot Camp) in Upper CA, taught by marketing wiz Tom Chandler (http://chandlerwrites.com). Both Lawrence and Chandler strongly urge businesses to take the time to stop and consider just what their business goals are before joining the mad dash to the social media arena.

Make a plan– a solid business plan is the underlying foundation for the success of your business. As Lawrence says (and Chandler also strongly reflects), “My experience has shown me that the best big leaps are made from solid, carefully thought-out ground—not fly-by-night whims. Once you identify your objectives, then you can determine the best blend of innovation and practicality to take…” [Note to Self: sometimes it is embarrassingly  obvious that we writers write about what we most need to hear.]

I’ll close with some questions that invite digging deep in order to clarify business goals and a solid business perspective. To those for whom the answers come simply, hat’s off to you, you’ve obviously done your homework.  To others, I think these and similar questions often prompt a process, and so are questions to revisit frequently—answers may change as we change.

Here’s to clarity.  ~Lisa

From Bill Lawrence’s Dec 1, 2009 OMMA magazine article on this topic Everyone Else Is Doing It:
– What are the business objectives?
– What are the marketing objectives?
– What do the resources look like – finances, personnel, etc.?
– Do we have a plan in place to do all of these things? (Perhaps most important)
– How can we apply our experience and current formulas to those innovations to take the business further?

From Seth Gordon’s December 15, 2009 blog post:

8 questions and a why:

Who are you trying to please?
What are you promising?
How much money are you trying to make?
How much freedom are you willing to trade for opportunity?
What are you trying to change?
What do you want people to say about you?
Which people?
Do we care about you?
(and after each answer, ask ‘why?’)

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