Yogi Berra said “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

And it’s the truth.

In branding and marketing, I ask people all the time “what are your goals?” I get answers like:

“Find More Customers”

“Fix my website”

“Make more money per month”

“Increase our social media effectiveness”

And these are admirable goals. But the question a lot of us have is: how do I know if what I’m doing is working? We have a Facebook account and we have a lot of likes and a lot of followers, but I feel like we aren’t making any more money per month. I put new photos on my website and re-arranged my menu, but it seems like it didn’t work!

Our next line of defense is to fire the website designer or marketing coordinator. I feel bad for those guys for several reasons: no one has shown them how to ask the right questions or how to measure ROI. And to be honest…how the hell are you supposed to measure ‘make more money per month’?

An increase in customer spending could be attributed to the fact that gas prices went down or the weather got nice and may have nothing to do with that new photo you posted on your blog. And when the weather gets bad, the spending goes down.

I call these THERE.

Your THERE is what you are trying to achieve. Simply put, a goal of mine is to launch my new Facebook page and have 200 followers in 30 days. Now that I have a definitive goal, I can map out how I’m going to get THERE. I can pre-load content onto the page (remember posts with images do over 100% better!). I can add diverse content. I can then take out ads and boost posts to see how well it performs.

My THERE is now measurable. I can track how well it does. I can track who opens and who doesn’t.

Maybe next month, I have a new goal of converting social media into potential customers. (remember, social media doesn’t equate money directly, they point potential customers in your direction. What you do with them from there equates a sales conversion) I can add a download to a Facebook ad with a separate and trackable landing page which gives potential customers incentive to get to know my business better.

The point is, it’s useless to say “use social media to get more business”. It’s too vague and it’s the equivalent of someone asking you where you want to go on vacation, and your answer is somewhere in the country. WHERE in the country? In state? Out of State? South? North? Different continent?

I’ve also heard a lot of entrepreneurs say “I’ll know when I get there”. Sorry, that is a bad idea too. How do you know if you’re there? Is it a number? A feeling? If corporations ran this way without a projected plan, they would sink faster than the Titanic. Even small households have to have a THERE. How much is enough money to buy a house? If we want to buy a house, hopefully we are making enough money?

Things you should be writing down:

I want to sell more product/service: how much more? What will you do to sell more? Hire someone? Go door to door? Send more emails? = category increase sales

I want to increase my social media: which one and by how much? 5 people? 20,000 people? How much will I spend to do it? = category awareness

I want to open more accounts: how many per month? what will I do to get more accounts? Email marketing? Social media ads? Traditional print? = category increase sales

Put your goals into phases. Ask any salesman what a 30-60-90 is and you’ll start to realize that perhaps yours isn’t set in number of days, but can be categorized into phasing: phase 1, clean up the website and get my content clear and organized. Phase 2, incorporate social media and set out a calendar of when to post and come up with topics that you need to post. Phase 3, add on video.

As business owners (and salesman) we can do everything, but we have to prioritize when to do everything. When you start to put a timeline on your THERE, it starts to make sense what works, what doesn’t, what needs more time, and what you should and shouldn’t be focusing on. You then start to develop a budget that works. For example, if you spent $200 on social media ads and they did nothing, but you spent $300 on a freelance email marketer and the email marketer got you two more accounts…should you DOUBLE your investment in email marketing and decrease your social media spending?

And just to think…defining your THERE is just the tip of the iceberg.