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Creating the Map to Your Treasure: Defining Your Input Goals

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Last time, we talked about how to get real clarity on your goals for 2024.

If you haven’t yet gone through that exercise, please do yourself a favour and go back to the article and do it now. It will be worth it!

It’s like designing a map to the treasure – and here, the treasure is your success!

OK, so I’m assuming you’re now crystal clear on your goals for next year, right?

That means you know your three or four key metrics, and you've broken them down to daily, weekly, or monthly goals.

Pulling on the example from my previous article, your metrics might be any or all of these:

  1. Number of new customers
  2. Average sale amount
  3. Re-Purchase Rate

These are your ‘Output’ Goals.

That’s because they represent the fruits of your labour - much like the perfect cake, we’re looking at the end result here.

But you can’t achieve these by just wishing upon a star. The next step is figuring out what to DO to achieve them. These will be your activities – also known as your Input Goals. It’s like knowing how much flour, sugar and chocolate you need for that cake – the essential ingredients.

Today, I'm going to simplify this (we can get fancy another time). Our goal is to identify the key input figures that, if hit regularly, will make your goals a reality next year.

So let’s get into it.


What’s at The Top of Your Funnel?

For the purposes of this article, I will focus on the ‘Number of New Customers’ goal – but the process is the same for any Output Goal you’ve defined.

You’ve probably heard people talk about how each business has a ‘funnel’ – you put a bunch of prospects in the top and hope some come out as customers. It’s like making popcorn – some kernels pop beautifully, others... not so much.

You can also think of it as your customer journey.

At the very top of the funnel is the state of ‘Awareness’.

To determine your Input Goals, the first question you need to answer is – how do you know when someone has become aware of you? In other words: what is the action that you need a prospect to take to enter your funnel?

For us at Toddle About, the top of our funnel for attracting new advertisers is adding a free listing to our website.

We know that, for every 8 free listings created, 1 of them will want to do more with us and will start paying for some sort of advertising or promotion.

What is your Free Listing? This is your ‘Top Funnel Action’.

It might be email enquiries, downloads of your lead magnet or prospectus, booking a discovery call or a trial, or something else entirely. Normally, this first step will be free (or very low cost), because you want to make it as easy as possible for a prospect to join your funnel.

So… what is it for you? I encourage you to give this some real thought.

If you’ve just realised that you don’t actually have a defined Top Funnel Action, that’s OK! Realising you need one is the first step to business enlightenment.

If you need a hand defining what yours should be, please feel free to ping me a reply to this email as I’d be happy to help.

So, now you understand your ‘Top Funnel Action’. Use it as the 'Call To Action' in your marketing – this will improve the results you get from your marketing AND you will be able to measure how many people are entering your funnel.

NOW we’re ready to define those Input Goals.


The Real Deal: Input Goals

Your Inputs are the ACTIONS that you need to take to get prospects to carry out your ‘Top Funnel Action’.

You’ll know if you’ve found a true input because Inputs are things you can control.

Unless you’re Derren Brown, you can’t control what other people do. You can only control what you do.

That’s really important distinction: Focusing on your Input Goals means you are trying to influence things within your control - which is a much more effective way to reach your goals.

So, what do you need to do? Some of these might be on your list:

  1. Outreach Sales Calls
  2. Digital Outreach, such as emails or messages via Instagram or Facebook.
  3. Digital Advertising
  4. Print Advertising
  5. Asking for Referrals
  6. Content Marketing
  7. Mailshots
  8. SEO

Work out what the key actions are for you and your business, and Hoorah! These are your Key Inputs!

Now we just need to set a goal for each of them, to determine how many of each thing we need to do in order to reach our goal.

If you know what your conversion rates are for each of your marketing techniques, then you can get all scientific about it – but if not, that’s OK. Instead, you can look at how much of these things you did in the previous year and increase them by the percentage growth you’re aiming for next year.

Or, if you did none of these things (or very little), make an educated guess at how much of each activity you need to do.

The important thing is that we start with a goal, then we can measure how we do and adjust of course as we go.


A Real-World Example

Let’s take someone who runs a Children’s Activities Business.

  • * They need to make an average of 2 sales a week to hit their goal.
  • * Their Top Funnel Action is getting parents to book a trial session.
  • * They need to run 3 trials to get 1 person to sign up to a full block. So their goal is to have 6 new people coming to trials each week.
  • * In order to achieve that, they need to do the following:
    • Social media posting (posting every day)
    • Targeted, local advertising (Regular ads)
    • Running free ‘guest sessions’ at local parent & tots groups (1 per month)

And that’s what they focus on – posting very day, running regular adverts and holding a guest session every month.

If they stick to their recipe, some perfectly baked customers will follow.

I hope that makes sense and that you find some time to do this exercise. If you do, I promise you won’t regret it. Please let me know how you get on!

Good luck!



About The Author

Tim FreedTim Freed is the Co-Founder of both Toddle About and Book That In.

Having built and managed a 50-strong team of door-to-door sales people in his early 20s, before joining the corporate world and building a multi-million pound recruitment team, Tim turned to entrepreneurship - founding Toddle About in 2010, which is now a thriving franchise business. He went on to launch Book That In in 2017 with his business partner, Alec Wadey, which is now one of the fastest growing online booking systems in the UK.

Tim is always learning and striving to improve and loves nothing more than sharing his hard-won knowledge and experience in sales, marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship with other business owners to help them on their own journeys.