I’ve Set My Objectives, Now What?

What How Long and When Image
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You’ve defined your goals, set your objectives and you’re ready to go! Whether you’ve set out to earn five figures in revenue each month or grow your mailing list to 200 people, you’re going to have to figure out “what,” “how long,” and “when.”

‘What’, ‘how long’ and ‘when’ describe the building blocks of any project or activity. The more jargon-y terms for these three things are scope, estimation and planning; and they are a critical part of reaching any kind of goal.

The ‘What’ is Scope. What kind of projects, activities and deliverables are required to meet your objective? What do you need to grow your mailing list? Scope items can be anything from regular guests posts, to traffic boosting activities like SEO optimization to redesigning your website’s home page to more prominently feature you’re mailing list subscription fields.

The ‘How Long?’ is Estimation. How long will it take you to write two guest posts a month?  Are you going to spend a month doing nothing but SEO optimization or is it an ongoing, weekly activity that you will do for 3 hours twice a week? Will it take you a day, a week or a month to redesign your home page? If you’re hiring someone to do it, how much time will you need to allot to overseeing the work?

The ‘When’ is Planning. If you have a goal around increasing revenue, presumably by a certain date, what needs to happen beforehand and when?  When do you need to have that homepage redesigned to start reaping the benefits of increased sign-ups?

When do you need to launch a store on a new online marketplace to start seeing an uptick in sales three months later?

We’ll explore the nitty gritty, tactical details of each of these activities in upcoming posts. Which of these activities are you doing already? Which ones do you need to do more of?

8 thoughts on “I’ve Set My Objectives, Now What?

  1. I have a lot of goals. Long and short term goals.

    What: increasing the number of subscribers, increasing the traffic to my site, finding an appropriate voice for my communications, increasing sales, diversifying income channels…(and a lot more)

    How Long: It’s an ongoing process. I try to improve myself each month and a long the way. For my newsletter i try different things every month to get people to become a fan on Facebook for or to get them to click more links.
    I don’t set exact numbers i just want to achieve a growing number…..a rising curve.
    Setting financial goals i try to set yearly goals but break them down to monthly sale goals and then to average amounts i would have to sell to reach monthly goals..
    I try to plan sessions once or twice a month to focus in communication/financials/technical growth to achieve my goals. Sometimes it ‘s difficult not to spend to much time on one subject an over analysing it. (take action for g’s sake)

    When:
    It depends greatly on the what…some things are more urgent than others. When i look at communication it’s an ongoing process so that means I try to incorporate a sessions to be more efficient. Like planning ahead on blog posts, writing mailings a week before i send them (leaves time to edit and check for mistakes)

    Still I feel that I could do a lot better by specifying goals in more detail…….I guess it’s another ongoing process :) Right now it just feels random at times and I am making it easy to avoid the hard parts like sales.

  2. I’m new to the whole blogging scene and the building a business scence.
    I really like the What, How Long and When.

    I guess I’m a little impatient and that is one of my weaknesses.
    The thing for me is to just concentrate on the “Learn and Do” instead of just learn, learn and learn some more. Ha.

    I’m slowly getting there though 😉

    Ali

  3. Like the idea of scopes – and the development of these goals into smaller achievable results and when all combined, can assist in the creating the overall resulting estimation of time needed (the when) for these objectives to have been completed.

    I see that this is a very important overall step (one I may have been overlooking) into creating those goals and turning them into realities! Success Demands Organization.

  4. I must be honest and say that I’ve had a little trouble moving forward with creating action items for my goals. I’m not sure if they are too large or if because I have so many ideas i’m not able to focus. I am definitely stuck in a place of what to do first or next. My lack of focus also adds to my doubts of my goal being tangible.

  5. When I first learned about ‘defining scope’ it was a revelation; not only do we have to set goals, we have to understand WHAT we have to do to realize them.

    @Jean M: My upcoming posts are for you! I’m going to dive into detail about how to break your goals down into scope (projects and activities) how to prioritize it and then how to estimate and plan.

    Stay tuned!

  6. Eleanor – Thank you for the great post that breaks down basic project management into very simple concepts. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

    P.S. – Congrats on escaping cubicle nation! 😀

  7. Oh Eleanor, your series and I are going to be great friends!

    My what(s): Average 1 sale/week, have 100 blog followers, do one guest post and host one guest post/month, purchase some “big” ticket tools, participate in a wedding show, and begin expanding my line horizontally.

    I’m finding it easier to make an action plan the more I review my list of goals.

    My how long: I want to meet all of those by January 31, 2012

    My when: ummmmmmm

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