A quick reminder.

When you’re setting your goals for your mailing list, your Facebook “Likes,” your Instagram Followers, and so on, keep in mind that the numbers are only part of the story.

Having giant lists or tens of thousands of social media followers, on its own, means nothing.

Sure, it could mean that you’re a giant among giants in your field.

But it could also mean that you hopped on Fiverr and paid a few shady characters a grand sum of $50 to artificially inflate all your numbers using “get followers quick” techniques.

Or it could mean that you’re great at driving TONS of traffic to your website and social media pages, but you’ve got shockingly terrible conversion rates behind the scenes, which is why it’s necessary for you to have such huge numbers on the front end — because you know you’re only capable of converting an embarrassingly tiny percentage on the back end.

The numbers, my friends, are not the people.

What I mean is this:

While we’ve gotten pretty comfortable with using numbers as a shorthand way of sizing each other up, they’re actually a really lousy way to make any kind of reliable judgment.

Sort of like looking at the people with big houses and assuming that all of them are flush with cash because they have big houses.

The recent housing crash taught us that’s absolutely false: a lot of those big house dwellers were flush with debt. The big house was a facade.

Ditto for big numbers.

Big numbers might indicate success, but they’re just as often a facade of success.

And you never really know until you get the full story on the business behind the numbers.

The numbers, by themselves, don’t tell you squat.

What does this have to do with YOUR business and YOUR goals?

Just this:

When you’re setting goals, think beyond the ego-numbers to what those numbers MEAN for your business.

Example: You want X00 new mailing list signups… for what? A context-less number is arbitrary and usually just about ego.

A better goal might be that you want $20,000 additional revenue this quarter, and to do that you need to sell 20 additional coaching packages. And based on your current conversion rates, that means you need approximately X00 new mailing list signups to accomplish that revenue goal.

Voila, a mailing list signup goal with context.

And one that answers the crucial question that every number goal you set MUST be able to answer.

For every number goal you set, you must be able to answer this one question: So what?

Goal: To add 2,000 Facebook Likes to my page.
Question: So what? What’s adding 2,000 Likes going to do for your business?

If you can’t answer the “So What?” question*, it’s probably an ego goal, not a business priority goal.

* (in concrete terms, not just theoretical, fluffy, “well, maybe Oprah’s hairdresser will be one of those 2,000 people and she’ll tell Oprah and the rest will be history!” sort of dreamy terms)

In the “I want to add X00 new mailing list signups” example above, the first goal didn’t answer “So What” — but the second one, the one with context, did. (Hint: When you’ve got the context, you’ve got the answer to “So What.” Nifty, eh?)

Gurus aren’t exempt from the So What rule, by the way…

If you hear a Business Guru talking herself up based largely on her numbers alone, ask yourself: is she also providing a “So what” for those numbers? Or is she just spitting out numbers?

A guru who just spits out numbers is pulling a fast one — it’s part of her shell game, part of how she tries to keep you from looking closely enough to notice that there’s no substance under her Big Impressive Numbers.

A guru with real substance will give you the So What behind her numbers — she’ll give you some of her impressive numbers, but she’ll do so in the context of why those numbers mattered, how they were used, how they helped a specific goal of her business, or why she aimed for that specific target.

A guru spouting numbers without any context? Red flag, friend. Red flag.

Rule of thumb: Better to have smaller numbers and a successful business, than to grow braggy numbers and a laggy biz

Cultivate smaller numbers comprised of highly engaged raving fans who love you, buy your stuff, tell other people about what you do. Leave the “big number boasting” to someone else.

Someone to whom you can later grinningly pose the question, “So what?”

Y’know, if you’re so inclined.

To your “So What” vetted goals,
Marissa

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