First year goal setting

The act of goal setting is something that every small business owner needs to recognize as a priority in the fact that growth will not occur haphazardly, and if you want to see your ideas and vision progress through the years you will need to know how to measure them. Year one goal setting can prove to be slightly more challenging simply because you have no idea where your baseline starts. It's easy to say, "I want to expand by 50% of what I was doing this time last year," when there is an entire 'last year' you can compare your results with, and I think this is why a lot of stylists get overwhelmed when they try to do it blind.

The first seven years I grew my mustache for Movember, I never really had a goal in mind. It was mostly me asking for random change thrown into a collection box I would keep at work and my efforts were little more than educating others about what Movember was. About 4 years ago, I decided to try and help organize a fundraiser at Spacebar. I had a ton of fun and we talked a lot about Movember and their causes, but again, I didn't have any personal fundraising goals.

This year, I felt like I had something to offer that was relevant to the cause, so I decided to set a fundraising goal of $1,000. I had no idea if I would be able to make it or not, but for me, that number became the tape at the end of the 100-yard dash. I was either going to run through the finish line victoriously, or the finish line would become the vanishing point in my horizon that kept me focused on the path ahead. In an effort to be entirely transparent, I will be honest in saying that $1,000 was an arbitrary number for my first year. I came to the decision by simply looking at the requirements to be recognized as a platinum mo bro. It was an easy number to base progress off of, and it would be able to provide a personal sense of accomplishment, but I really didn't think I would be able to succeed on my first attempt, so it became my goal.

The entire month of November introduced me to new people, new partnerships, and new experiences. I provided more shaves for first-time clients than I had any time since I became a barber. When we were originally talking about The Barber Story working with Spacebar to do Movember trivia, I hadn't anticipated it coming at the same time as me being thrust into business management, so I feel bad that I didn't communicate as effectively as I could have. I constantly feel like I'm distracted by the 34,312,827 things I need to do to keep building the growth of The Barber Story and developing my goals for the next five years to have more definition, and I tend to have a difficult time reigning in on the here and now. But recognizing that, I know that once I can get my thoughts organized, I can return my focus back to the immediate future. Even with all of that said, this year's event turned out to be a great success.

In the midst of learning my new discipline, planning the event at spacebar, and making sure all my bills get paid on time, I was offered an opportunity to go to Paul Mitchell and teach a class on business preparedness. I don't think I'm at a place where I'm comfortable teaching haircuts just yet, but I know that hair schools as a whole are doing a piss poor job of preparing students on what it takes to properly run a business. With the perspective of my prior career, as well as the experience of leasing a station in a salon following the departure of working in a commission shop, I can help fill in some of the educational gaps that schools suffer from by giving the message in the midst of learning the lessons myself. One of the questions I was asked most consistently from different students was, "How do you choose to market yourself?" It's difficult to answer since it is you, and only you, that has access to not only the intimate knowledge of who you truly are but also the reality of how you want others to perceive you. Make no mistake, those two personas are not always the same person, so in an effort to discover what motivates each persona, I want to know what your passions are. I give the same answer every time I get asked that question.

"Find your passions and turn that into your marketing strategy. Get people excited about the same things that get you excited. For example, I believe that Movember does great things, and I want to see them reach their goals, so I'm willing to work for free on their behalf, and that has become the marketing campaign I've used in my first month of operating. All I'm trying to do is educate people about something I believe in and would be talking about anyways. The difference is this, now I've given them a catalyst to participate in donations, and this catalyst rewards them with a personal benefit. Now, on top of doing something I love, I get to watch my annual efforts towards Movember extend further than what I was capable of on my own. That is how I market myself, I stay true to what drives me, and I find what wins for everyone. I've experienced that choosing to market yourself in this manner can help refuel your motivation when you get to the times that frustrate you the most."

So now that my first month is over, I can finally ask myself "Did I achieve my goals?"

Did I raise $1,000? No, but that wasn't what I focused my goal setting around. November for me was all about education. I've learned what some of my opportunities are, and I've learned what my baseline for future fundraising ventures can be based around. On top of that, I have been able to take my first step towards an interest in education, while still maintaining my ability to pay all of my bills on time. As an added bonus, I was able to raise $500 for Movember, which is more than I have in all my years combined.

I think November was a huge success, let's see what December does.