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The Most Common Mistakes That Keep Us From Reaching Business Goals

Business

Does this sound familiar? You've been working hard (team no sleep!) at launching your business, but when you check the progress, it seems to be more stagnant than the advancement you've calculated in your mind. Before you throw your computer across the room consider this: In order to succeed in business, you need to learn how to set business goals.


Why? Without goals, you will never know if you are on track, or be able to create the right kind of strategy to reach them. If you don't know where you're headed, how do you expect to get there? Let's look deeper at what your business is probably like right now.

You have no idea how much you're going to make next month, also known as projections. You aren't entirely sure what you made this month if we're being honest. You have this overly-ambitious to-do list that you don't know how to prioritize. You have never done a business or blog audit, and make most of your decisions based on instinct and what you read on the Internet, rather than facts.

Translation: Most areas in your Google Analytics are dusty, you don't have a marketing plan to follow, and your metrics scare and confuse you more than they inform you.

Does this sound familiar? It has to be, because I used to be you. I also used to be stressed out and struggling. Now, I'm able to help people, pay my bills, AND have peace of mind every single day. My accounts are profitable, I know what I need to pay in taxes each and every quarter, and I have this renewed sense of clarity and focus in my business that I never had before. So what changed? I learned how to properly set business goals and stopped making 2 critical mistakes.

The 2 Most Common Mistakes That Keep Us from Reaching Business Goals

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MISTAKE 1: NOT BEING FULLY COMMITTED TO YOUR GOALS.

The number one reason you're not reaching your goals is because you have yet to fully commit to reaching them. They look cute in your notebook, but you're not really about this life. The truth is, you're letting self-doubt and fear stop you from trying. Because when you really try, failing feels like it will be the end of the world. But it's not. You have to want it more than you're afraid of it. Your lack of conviction is causing you to leave goals unattained, because you're constantly starting over or never start at all. Shift your mindset to a growth mindset and be open to doing what it takes to reach the level you aspire to be at.

MISTAKE 2: YOU AREN'T TRACKING THE RIGHT METRICS.

You haven't reached your business goals because you've been tracking the wrong things. You have let yourself get consumed by insignificant vanity metrics like followers, pageviews, time on site, and likes. Why don't these really matter? Because vanity metrics can easily be manipulated, and they don't help us make business decisions. The metrics you need to track are the ones that indicate the health of your business.

You should know some key things such as:

  • The conversion rates for your products, services and funnels
  • The cost of acquiring a customer
  • The referral source that drives the most traffic
  • The channel that drives the most sales
  • The channel that is most engaging for your audience
  • Your best performing content

You might be like: "Allllllllright Emm, chill out. You lost me at customer acquisition channel." My bad. I get carried away with this stuff. As a digital marketer, my job is to connect these dots for the brands that I work for, and I've transferred that over into small businesses. Just because you don't run a multi-million-dollar company (yet), doesn't mean you shouldn't apply the same practices. I want you to learn how to use your data to make better decisions in your business. But first, you need to get organized, so you can actually find this data and have the mental capacity to process it all.

How You Can Properly Set Business Goals

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First things first, you must stop everything that you're doing. You been doing too much, and you need to take a seat. Yes, you need to take a huge step back, so that you can make a comeback. To get organized in my business, I take December off every single year. I don't take on new clients, projects, or create new content for 60 days. I create my marketing plan for the following year and take time to dive into the metrics of my business. We spend so much time consuming information and trying new strategies, that we overlook the best resource that we have: our existing data.

You need to break down those business goals into monthly and weekly milestones. Those bite-sized, short-term goals are what hold you accountable and allow you to assess if you're on track.

How to Set a Monthly Business Goal

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  1. Decide what you want to accomplish for the year and why. How much money you want to make, how much merchandise you want to sell, how many people do you want in your class, etc.
  2. Divide your goal number by 12. That's your monthly goal. If you want your weekly goal, divide your monthly goal by 4.
  3. Calculate your conversion rate by dividing your pageviews by the number of sales you had.
  4. Take your monthly or weekly goal and divide it by your conversion rate. This will help you identify the amount of pageviews you will need to reach your goals.
  5. Break your goals down into tasks. How are you going to achieve your goal every week/month?
  6. Have an accountability system. How are you going to assess if you're on track?

It may be overwhelming to take this all in, but understand that learning how to set up realistic goals and attacking them will help you finally check off some items on your "Goals" list.

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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