To be able to plan strategically for the future, you must reflect on your goals and analyze the numbers of your previous works to see if you were able to achieve your goals and perform well. Tracy gives a little bit of perspective on strategic planning and the things that she goes through and what she does every year not just with their podcasts but with lead generation and driving revenue to their business as well. She also shares her goal to reach and serve 1,000 podcasters with better data and information that can help them grow in their niche, get their message out, and draw in a bigger audience.

I thought that I would give you a little bit of perspective on strategic planning and the types of things that I go through every year and what I do. The first thing that I really do is make sure that I’m looking at things analytically. That’s the number one thing that I want to compile. It’s my numbers. I want to know where we stand. How are my episodes? Did they generate the traffic that I thought they would? What number of downloads did I hit? What was my high, what’s my median? What’s my low? Is the low worth it? How many episodes did I actually produce? Did I hit and do 52 weeks’ worth or did I not? Looking at all of that, thinking through it and saying, “What was my goal last year and did I achieve it and what did my numbers show me?”

We attended a mastermind with our good Podcast Peeps partner, Scott Carson. Scott also has the Note Closers Show, which you may have heard on the client call because he’s one of our clients. During that mastermind, while we were there, someone said something really interesting. He said that there is one number in your business that if you don’t have time to pull all the numbers in or you don’t have access to everything, but if there’s this one number and you know that it’s critical in your business, then that’s the only one you need to pay attention to on a weekly, daily or whatever’s meaningful to your basis. You don’t need to reflect on the others maybe semi-annually, quarterly or whatever. The pace of the growth of your business will dictate that.

That’s something that I put a lot of thought into and I had my gut reaction as to what I thought our number was. I’ve been really reflecting and going through our detailed numbers and that’s not the numbers of how my episodes are doing and how my podcast is doing, but what the revenue is in our business. Where those leads are all coming from and just overall looking at that. Each one has a different thing. There’s a lot of lead generation that happens straight from the podcast. There’s a lot of lead generation that comes straight from my website and there’s the lead generation that comes from my speaking out there doing webinars and that kind of thing. It’s not always a direct path. It’s not I do a webinar and then I immediately get a phone call. That happens sometimes, but it’s much more of, “I saw you on this webinar,” “I heard you on this podcast,” and then, “I read your website.”

It’s actually a combination of the things that bring people to us. I have to look at that as there is a lot of have-tos and should-dos. There are all of these things like, “I have to have a Twitter address.” “Should I be posting?” That’s the question. Just looking at all those things, is the time where I reassess it. I then set some metrics in place if I’m going to evaluate it. If I said, “I’m going to give Twitter another chance,” I would look at that and say, “In three months I’m really going to look at the engagement and see if it was worth the amount of time I put it in the last three months.” For me, especially if it’s something that I’m unsure about, I want to put a short-term metric in long enough that it makes sense, but a short-term metric in so that I can evaluate it and say, “Was that worth my time put?” Rather than go a whole year and then go, “What a total waste of time that was.”

Time is way more valuable than money. Click To Tweet

The last thing I want to do is waste my time. My time is way more valuable than my money. Wasting time on something that’s not generating business for me, generating good relationships, building the goals of what my business is about and who I am as a person, it’s not building me up either. I definitely don’t want to be wasting my time doing that. That’s something that I really look at. Some of that is evaluating my network and evaluating the communities that I participate in. Whether it’s Facebook groups or actual places that I’m going live to visit and looking at that and saying, “What’s the return on investment there for me? It’s not just dollar, but did I get something out of it? Did I learn something? Was it valuable to me? Did it grow my business? Did it grow my relationships?”

Some of these are intangibles, but I use them as evaluating tools. Did that community just drain me? I have a few of those and I’m looking at them going, “Do I need to be a part of them? Is it going to hurt my business to no longer be a part of them? Is it a have-to? Can I participate from a distance? Can I cut it off to one time a year?” Looking at those things, this is a time to really reflect on that because otherwise, we make decisions with gut and emotion, and we don’t sit back. It’s not a reflection and it’s not analytical.

I believe that the numbers show you where you’re at, what you’re doing, that there is a certain amount of intuition and an intangible that you must tap into and you must hear and know. Unless you have the numbers indicate to you this needs evaluation, then I don’t look at it. In other words, if the numbers are saying, “That doesn’t look like I got a lot out of that this year,” maybe I need to rethink that and then I want to sit and reflect on it. I might make a pro/con list. I’m a list kind of person. You might meditate on it. It’s up to you how you want to reflect on that. Maybe you want to talk to some other people who are also participating in that and say, “Are you experiencing the same thing?”

I want to do something that’s an outreach or an internal reach, whichever way you want to go and reflect on that and say, “I really have to consider was this worth it or not? Does it feel worth it?” I know we don’t like to tap into feelings in our business. Some of us don’t. That’s okay. I have to say that you’re not going to always get to the innovation, intangibles and that thing, “Should I keep going in? Should I push through?” You’re not going to get that straight from your number. If you’re only looking at it from that side, you’re missing that other component as well. This is where I try to balance it, but to be quite frank about it, if you don’t walk away from your business, to sit down and look at it, it’s hard to make these decisions.

PDZ 27 | Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning: Make a final decision as a team. Share your numbers and your thoughts, and then let your team think through it from their perspective.

 

That’s why I usually take time off. Last time, I took it home. I had a staycation and the whole rest of the family went skiing. I stayed home and I got a lot of stuff done. I got a lot of stuff thought through. I didn’t have all the noise and the chaos and other people’s opinion informing mine. I didn’t make all those decisions alone, but I made a list of things and said, “This is where I’m at on these. Let me sit down with Tom and talk to Tom about where he’s at with those and let me sit down and talk to Alexandra and see where she’s at with those.” That way we can make a final decision as a team.

If they didn’t have time to think about that or a time to reflect on that, I share with them my numbers and I share with them my thoughts and then let them go back and think through it on from their perspective. Maybe I didn’t find it valuable, but Alexandra thought it was amazingly valuable. I don’t want to make one-sided decisions in my business because we’re a team. It’s not that everyone’s opinion matters because there’s a vision here and it needs to keep to that vision, but everyone’s input matters because I need to hear that. It’s as valuable as my own thoughts and my own intuition in that as well.

Anyway, that’s a little bit of what I think about it. I get this a lot from you who are reaching outgoing, “Should I keep podcasting? Am I doing okay? I just reached 10,000 listeners, is that good enough?” or “I only hit 500 an episode. Is that good enough?” It’s not about that number and specific for you because each number is different for each one of your businesses. Some businesses, if you don’t hit 10,000 or a million, you’re never going to achieve what you want to achieve because of the kind of business, because of who you’re competing with. In some businesses, reaching and having 500 listeners per episode is amazing because it’s generating buzz and engagement. It’s keeping your community active. For that, that’s invaluable because what would you do? Would you have to post five times a day on Facebook? What else effort would you have to put in? Is podcasting less effort or videocasting less effort? You do it once and then now you’ve got content for your entire week across your platform.

Thinking about those things, that’s also something you really have to weigh. It’s like, “How do I feel in this? Am I being authentically me? Is this energizing me? Is giving me what I need?” Yet, it’s filling all of this should-dos and have-tos that are in my business. Taking it away would mean I’d have to fill the void over there with something I don’t want to do. That’s also something to consider because we all have to account for our business. We all have to market. We all have these things that have to be done. We might as well do them in the most energized, active, authentic way where we get to be on us. Whatever we can to do that is going to help us achieve our goals and yet still keep us on pace.

We all have to account for our business and we all have to market. We might as well do them in the most energized and authentic way. Click To Tweet

What I hate for you to do is to say, “I’m done with this. The numbers didn’t show it. I’m going to take it away,” and then you’re like, “The business completely dropped off. All of this effort dropped off.” That’s what we call the marketing rollercoaster. We are trying to level that out and keep the continual growth on that marketing side. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to do lead generation activities. You still do. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to go out there and speak. You still do. You have to draw an audience in, but what you don’t have to do is keep that engagement going for the people who are out there looking for you, for the people who are already a part of your community and keeping them engaged. That’s the void that we fill. We also fill the void of obviously if you didn’t have a platform, to begin with, we’re giving you that.

I hate for you to cut that off as well before you’ve even gotten it going. You have to give it enough time. You have to give it enough effort. I invite you to message us, to join in at Podcast Peeps Mastermind call, to come into the next client call, to get with me and get with Tom and ask us the questions that are burning about whether or not you feel that you’ve got the value going for you. Are you on pace? Are you on target? If you reflect and you don’t have the answers and you would like our perspective, that’s what we’re here for. My goal is to make sure that no podcaster feels left behind. I do not want you to feel like you host with us, that we just process your episodes. No. We’re here because we’re building your business with you. We are you. Our team is taught to act like you and think like you as much as we can.

Obviously, we’re not mind-readers. I wish we were. I really do, because it would make everything. I could just give you this plug system and that would be so easy. You’ve got to do some work on your end. You’ve got to participate and have conversations and help our team learn you. In that process when we’re getting you, we’re building you because we’re giving you stuff that you may not have heard of, that you don’t know, that’s working across 150 podcasters. We hit 150 in 2018 and I am so thankful to all of you who referred, who came on board with us, who trusted us, who give us your business and let us serve you every single day.

I’m so grateful for that and that has helped us hit a milestone, but in 2019, our goal is 1,000 of you. If we can grow 1,000 of you, think about how much better served the world is. Think about how much impact you all are going to have. With 1,000, I’ve got even better data and better information that I can bring to you to help you grow in your niche, in your area and be more competitive and get your message out there and draw in a bigger audience. I’ve got more to share with you. That’s also my goal as well. Reach out to us. That’s my message here. We are here for you, we’re here serving you and we’ve got a lot of information to share with you, so you just have to ask.

I’m looking for an awesome year because awesome implies really big and I want to be bigger for you. I want to live for you. I want the brand to be bigger. I want the platform to be bigger because if we are bigger, then you are bigger. That means you have a bigger impact, you’re serving more of your customers, your clients or your community. If we can serve you in a bigger way, then you have time, you have energy, you have everything you need to serve your communities and that serves everyone well. That’s my goal and I wanted to share that with you here and invite you to contact us, connect with us and let us help you.

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