Christian Gap Year for Entrepreneurs

Ten was the magic number. I pressed my palms against my forehead and sighed while staring at my excel sheet. I have to do what ever it takes to find ten leads- ten people who wanted their house painted. I needed it this week because everything starts with leads. Without the right amount of leads, I couldn’t do any estimates, I wouldn’t have any houses to paint, and I also wouldn’t make any money.

Every week was the same process for my painting company. On Monday, my body was filled with stress as to how I could accomplish such a daunting task. 10 leads doesn’t sound like much until you try it yourself. Most of our business came from knocking on doors or calling people on the phone, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Some weeks, I found 5 people interested in having their house painted and some weeks I found 15. The marketing process and its results were volatile- so how on earth could I guarantee exactly 10 leads every week?

Let’s run with this this example of knocking on doors to find people who wanted their house painted. If I want to hit my goals, what about this situation could I control? Well, I can choose what neighborhood I wanted to canvas. That way, I could focus on wooded homes that aren’t brand new- people who actually needed my service. I could control when my employees and I worked- optimizing for the time of day when most people are at home. I could control the amount of time time we spent marketing and how efficient I was during that time. I could control what I said and what I trained my fellow marketers to say. We could practice and also test out what works best.

When you look at the list, there are quite a few “optimizing factors” that I could control, but now, let’s look at what I couldn’t control. It was beyond my power how many people answered the door no matter how much I optimized for it. That was in the homeowner’s court. I couldn’t control people’s moods. Maybe they were having a really bad day from external factors that didn’t involve my team or I at all. I also can’t control what the people I speak with say back to me. Perhaps the biggest one, is that I couldn’t control anyone’s final answer as to if they said yes or no to my painting estimate offer.

Marketing is both a game of testing, but also of calculated statistics. I can look at the factors that I can control, manipulate, and test to work in my favor.  However, at the end of the day there are wild cards I have no control over. If I’m knocking on doors, using a proven data-backed tactic, one day, I might find 3 leads in one hour and one day I might not find any in 2 hours.

So, here’s a question I’ve had to ask myself. Why do we select our metric of measure to be something we can or can’t control?

I want you to hold the 10 leads away from yourself. What ever your results based goal is, 10 leads for example, is a standard to test your optimizing factors. It’s not a metric to measure your personal success or worth by. Instead, I’d recommend measuring your personal success through creating process-oriented goals.

In our painting scenario. My result oriented goal would be to “find 10 leads.” But, my process-oriented goal might be “Spent 2 hours each day knocking on doors with a goal of hitting 40 houses in an hour.”

See the difference? These are factors I can control- the amount of time I’m working and how quickly I’m doing it.

Consider this, results come from process, not the other way around. If you’re jumping to the end goal without focusing on what it takes to get there.

So, what do you do with your results goals?

No, don’t throw them out the window completely. There are a number of ways that these results based numbers are important. You’re going to have monetary goals. If you want to profit $40k a year to live comfortably off your earnings business, you’ll need to know how you’re trending. Otherwise, there’s no way to see if you’re going to hit that goal or not.

Additionally, these metrics are going to be important when it comes to testing what marketing channels work. Especially in a start-up when you are exploring the most efficient way to gain customers, your results-based outcome (for example, the actual amount of leads you find per week) is going to give you helpful data on whether that channel is effective to keep or scrap. If you continue to reach out to potential customers on face book and continually end up with no leads, then, it’s a pretty good indicator that might not be the best place to put your energy.

So, if you’re building a business, have your eye on the sales metrics, but don’t let that define your success. If you are like me, and have large goals for yourself, this is going to be tough. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I’m more than the amounts of leads I get each week. Don't ever forget that process is king.  If you have a good process, you're guaranteed to find some sort of success.

We'd love to hear from you? Whether its business related or not, what is a results based goal that you can turn into a process based goal?