When I start working with clients, the first thing I tend to do is an assessment of how they set goals about their project, identify initial strategies, define actionable plans, support those plans, and, later on, measure the results – it doesn’t matter which order they came in, but to get to know them closely and see all the potential, importance and level of priority their projects carry. Some of those clients came really well prepared, and others just need some sort of support on identifying and setting these goals and tasks. That is ok, because this is part of working collaboratively and efficiently too. This assessment is generally a short conversation, despite them having different roles in certain situations in their businesses.

In general, people use to set business rules and worry more about metrics and future stats; they wish to get any number pertaining to websites or online projects ranks, hits, visits, revenues, profits and even customer and audience engagement. But, what happen to their real online business goals? They rarely think about them carefully – since they will give answers to their main concerns down the road when put in place. These are, for example, few goals you as business owner or professional wanting to bring a project online should also think about first:

Ownership, admin, and general business goals:

The idea is to get to know who will own your project, who should manage it, who should supervise it, what key skills are needed from assistant and admin users, and how this new implementation will affect your general business goals.

Online business goals:

In here, you will focus on what do you want to do, see, show, improve, etc., with your business being online. What are your initials interest? or what is your first intended small purpose? what do you feel you need to take this project to the next level? what things do you lack experience or knowledge that could propel this project to finally getting made? – just think about things like these ones. It is not only overthinking on how it may look like, what feature it should have, or colors and fonts to use – these are tasks that can be improved later on. What is more important, however, is that you realize and understand that bringing a project online should have a purpose that hopefully will start bringing you ROI in the shortest amount of time as possible. And you, only you, are the person that is completely capable of understanding what you want and why while also transferring that knowledge to your hires (developers, designers, assistants, admins, managers, etc).

Customers, potentials and even friends goals:

At some point during the project you will need to set a plan on how are you going to address your online business communications, how are you keeping in touch with customers, visitors and potentials, what messages should critically be delivered at what time during the week, and even how to address and switch complains. Are you planning to ‘convert’ strategic target visitors or segment of your audience into ‘friends’? asking questions like these, deeply enough for you to get an idea, serve you for strategies that you may study and search around for ways to implement them in the future. Having a successful business online is also a matter of setting the foundation for appropriate online business communication and virtual customer service, e.g.

Financial goals:

This is one of the scariest one. Yes, I know! But it is a really important one, and you need to get comfortable speaking about, and realistic on, money and the other resources you really have. At some point during the first meetings, if not the first one, you will be asked what financial resources, or what budget do you have for your project – and you should not be shy to share it. Hopefully, initial conversations give you a better idea of the person you expect to work with as well as to his/her experience, flexibility and negotiability skills. Bringing a successful business online should not be framed based on the theory of availability of money (even though, it is a critical factor). In my plain opinion, there are, however, lots of things that could be also taken into account and that if used and negotiated strategically can help us all deliver so many wonderful projects. Projects that many people can benefit in so many different ways.

So there they were, many of the goals I considered will help you get and share not only a general idea of what to accomplish, but the resources that you will use and could need. Don’t get overwhelmed about them, you just think them up and write them down – casually.

Most of the time, few people, and I do too, instead of focusing on the goals to be set per se, we’ll have our clients focus on answering first, few critical questions, and then single questions as they arise– and that is a nice idea to work on as well and get a project moving step by step. Pen and paper do well in here; be completely honest with what you want and have, with where, when and what you expect to position the business to start – getting online is a continuous process that assumed smoothly but professionally make it an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Start by focusing on achieving whatever goal you consider is key and set it as is.

Most of my clients haven’t set goals initially because many reasons involving few things mentioned above and sometimes they unintentionally believe is a bad beginning. In situations like this, I assure them everything will be fine and bring on track, and suggest them not to focus on what couldn’t get done or planned previously to meeting or talking with me. Instead, I tell them to keep focus on what is it that they envision and expect to see and get when their business project be online. That is one of the whys we all (me and clients) came into a nice game. Let’s enjoy it when we are still playing. Let’s become a real team.

Have a good day everyone!

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