Performance Goals vs. Outcome Goals

UPDATED: February 7th, 2023

I talk with clients all the time about ROI – Return on Investment.

One of my main objectives when building a new website & digital marketing strategy is helping the client SEE the ROI as quickly as possible.

Naturally goals come into the conversation.

To help a client set realistic goals, I ask questions:

Where are you now?

Where do you want to be in a year from now?

What’s your website doing for your business to help you get there?

If we do ___________, how will that affect ______________?

What does success look like for your business website?

These are all important questions we review early on in the Discovery Process.

When I think about goals, the Serenity Prayer comes to mind:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I can’t always control everything.

Sometimes, no matter how much work I do on a project, the results aren’t coming as quickly as I’d like.

I have to make adjustments.

Making Goal Adjustments

I love sports.

I played a lot of sports as a kid. And I learned many valuable lessons that have helped me as a business owner today.

One of those lessons is that I can’t control my height.

Growing up I played basketball nearly every day. But no matter how much I practiced, that practice wasn’t going to change my height (something I couldn’t change).

Eventually I had to change my goals and focus on other priorities.

That experience, along with countless others in business, brings me to the point of today’s conversation: Performance Goals vs. Outcome Goals.

Performance vs Outcome Goals – What’s the Difference?

Have you ever heard of these concepts?

Performance Goals?

Outcome Goals?

Why are these types of goals even worth considering?

performance goalsWe all want outcomes, results, money in the bank.

But before that happens we have to take the necessary steps to get everything in place.

As I’ve studied about goals and goal setting, a couple terms kept coming up: performance goals & outcome goals.

The summary of the two goals is simple:

I CAN control a performance goal.

I CAN’T control an outcome goal.

In other words,

“Performance based goals can be controlled by the person who sets the goals while outcome based goals are frequently controlled by others…Performance goals focus on the person’s performance while outcome goals focus strictly on the outcome or result.”

This is really helpful when thinking about goals for a business.

What CAN I control?

What CAN’T I control?

Help me to know the difference!

The Danger of Outcome Goals

Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond my control.

For example, I might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still be disqualified due to a mistake by the judge.

If my outcome goal was to be in the top three, then I’m screwed.

However, if I set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then despite the outcome or the decisions of others, I’ll have achieved the goal and can know I did my best.

Another example of an outcome goal is to make a certain amount of money.

In my Moller Mission Statement, I set some specific “outcome goals”.

But, in front of those outcome goals were well defined, written out action steps (or “performance goals”) that I committed to in order to give myself the best chance to achieve the final result.

If I want to make a certain amount of money, I’d better set specific goals I have control of that lead me down that path.

So here’s an important question:

What performance goals can I set that will help me achieve the outcomes I’d like to see?

The Power of Performance Goals

I have control of performance goals. They are measurable, things I can track.

In an online business, performance goals may be things like this:

  • I will write one article per week on Wednesday.
  • I will contact 2  businesses today in my target niche.
  • I will reach out to 2 podcasts today to offer to guest speak.
  • I will create 3 videos on Friday of this week & schedule them to publish.
  • I will record my performance on a spreadsheet.
  • I will report back to my mentor.

Do I have “outcomes” in mind?


But the outcomes are based more on my performance than anyone else’s.

It doesn’t say I will close 2 deals this week. But by contacting 2 businesses this week, I’m giving myself the best chance to make connections that will result in new business.

Here are some questions to consider when setting “performance goals” for your online business:

  • What do I need to do today to make a sale?
  • How many people do I plan to contact every day to build my network?
  • When I contact these people, what am I going to ask them?
  • What content am I going to consume to get ideas for help with my sales?
  • How many current clients will I talk to about their purchases and attempt to get repeat business with?
  • Do I have a “Plan of Attack” on what I’m going to do each day to increase the chances of making more sales?

How Do I Apply This Information Today?

Here’s a real example that I’m working on in order to implement the performance goal ideas:

I have a goal, maybe it’s an outcome goal, to use video more as a marketing channel in my business.

Ultimately I want to create online courses that help my clients grow their online businesses.

Video is an essential piece in that puzzle.

So I need to get going with video creation.

Where am I now?

I have two YouTube Channels.

One has 1,150 subscribers, 1,164,471 views, and was started on May 19th, 2013.

The other has 20 subscribers, 30,989 views, and was started on March 16, 2012.

The first one has all kinds of random videos: a funny dance recital video that has over 1 MILLION views, family stuff, DIY handyman stuff, a pool install, and some website tips and tricks. Not very focused or niche.

The second one has mostly just website tips, tutorials, & guidance. But obviously very little traction.

The first is currently titled VID801.

The second is currently titled Nate Moller.

My natural inclination is to continue to grow the VID801 channel. But in all my video research, there’s a lot of clean up that would have to happen.

And the majority of those subscribers are probably mostly interested in the funny dance recital – NOT digital marketing.

So, my decision is to work on the Nate Moller channel.

Here are my performance goals:

1.  I will have my designer create a channel style guide (banner background, icon, color scheme, logo implementation, etc.)

2. I will review content I currently have and create an editorial calendar, focusing on creating 3 videos every Friday.

3. I will watch 2 of the the 400+ Watch Later videos  every day and take detailed notes on what I’m learning.

4. I will IMPLEMENT those notes in my video strategy.

5. I will record my progress in a Google Spreadsheet.

So that’s my plan.

Sharing it with readers like you can be helpful.

Now that I’ve written it out, printed it, and put it on my desk, I plan to remind myself of it each day.

Let’s get your take on this.

What are “Performance Goals” you plan to set the help you get the “Outcomes” you want?

Leave a comment below! 👇

10 Social Media Marketing Books To Read in 2010

I know, 2010 isn’t here yet.

But the Holidays are right around the corner; they’re playing Christmas music on the radio, and snow is on the ground in Utah!

So, I’ve started thinking about what my goals and objectives should be for 2010.

Speedometer - Reaching Your GoalOne of the things I really want to commit to doing more of in 2010 is READING! I’ve been working harder (not tonight – it’s almost 12:30 a.m.) to stick to a schedule. It consists of the following morning activities:

  • waking up at a certain time – TBD 🙂
  • reading a motivational book for 30 minutes
  • meditating
  • writing down thoughts and goals for the day

In the evening, I’ve set these priorities:

  • finishing “work” by a certain time – TBD too 🙂
  • planning out the following day with a “To-Do List
  • reading a business book for 30 minutes
  • meditating
  • lights off by ____?

When I follow this “agenda” – my entire day and week seem to go better.

Do you follow a specific agenda?

As you can see, I’ve designated at least 30 minutes per day, 7 days a week, to read a business book.

As I start to think about my goals for 2010, here are a list of marketing books I plan to read:

Top 10 Social Media Marketing Books I Plan to Read!

  1. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
  2. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media)
  3. The New Rules of Marketing and PR
  4. The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success
  5. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business
  6. Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day
  7. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
  8. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
  9. Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
  10. the-tipping-pointThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The Tipping Point is the highest rated book of all of these according to Amazon – it’s number 74!

I’m excited for the upcoming year and look forward to setting and achieving the goals I write down and review frequently.

I’m also excited to hear about your online marketing success and how these books help you become the best social media marketers and online business owners.

[Video] How To Be the Best at What You Do

being-the-best-at-what-you-doWhat does it mean to be the best at what you do?

Why is that important?

Is life all about competition and being better than everyone else?

Let’s see what it takes to be the best at sling shots:

That’s right, Rufus Hussy, from Ashborough, North Carolina is the best at what he does!

Now, how does this relate to starting an online business?

Being the best at what you do doesn’t necessarily mean you’re competing directly with everyone else.  In fact, that’s the beauty of online marketing: no matter what you’re selling or trying to promote, there’s always going to be a different way it could be done.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that being the best at what you do, in this case running an online business, is all about setting goals, monitoring your progress, and working to improve on your individual performance.  If you are not making progress with your online business, you’re probably regressing!

So, now the tips:

  1. Do What You Love:  I’ve talked about this a lot lately but truly believe it – if you’re doing what you love and not just chasing the “get-rich-quick” ideas, if you have confidence that you will succeed, and if you follow the Tuesday Tutorials 🙂 (along with other tips and tricks), success will come in one form or another.
  2. Practice + Persistence = Progress: In order to be the best sling-shooter I’ve ever seen, Rufus Hussy had to practice a lot.  In fact, his “practice” was for his actual survival – the things he hunted for were what he ate growing up in a big family.  Not only do you have to practice and implement strategies to be successful with an online business, but you have to test things out and adapt.”That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Persistence and Practice equal Progress!
  3. Set Goals: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra.  Setting goals, especially performance goals, is the “secret sauce” in my opinion.  If you haven’t read it already and written your own, read my first real-life experience with the Moller Mission Statement.  After you read that I challenge you to write your own mission statement and share it with the Moller Marketing readers.
  4. Monitor Progress: “Small Success leads to Big Success!” – Nate Moller. If you don’t keep track of where you’re headed and what you’ve accomplished, you’ll never really know if you’ve arrived.  The adage “…when performance is measured, performance improves” is as true in running a business online as it is in success as a sling-shot expert.

I recently read an article about 10 Ways to Fail Successfully. Yes, the title is ironic but the content was great:

People always say “never give up.” But how do you not give up when things are working right? Simple, you readjust your plan.

The main goal or end result you desire to achieve shouldn’t change, but your approach should if it’s not working.

To be the best at what you are doing doesn’t mean you keep pounding your head against the wall when the door is two feet to your left.  You have to make adjustments, monitor your progress, set goals, practice and persist, and love what you do!

How do you plan to be the next Rufus Hussy with your online business?

What is Persistence and Why do YOU Need It?

Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying.

Persistence is having the same goal over and over. – Seth Godin

What a great quote from a world-famous marketing guru.  What a coincidence that I found this quote today: I recently watched the classic football movie “Rudy”.  Yes, I know, this is one of the best sports movies of all time and for some reason I’d never seen the show from start to finish. Rudy had a goal and boy was he persistent at achieving that goal. He wasn’t the best athlete, he wasn’t blessed with all the gifts of height, speed, or quickness; however, we was persistent and had “the same goal over and over.” Look where that persistence took him.

I have a passion for setting goals and the effect goals have on success in anything. Here are just a few reminders why you need to be persistent and achieve your goals in Q2 of 2008:

  • Goals give direction
  • Goals motivate
  • Goals push us to levels we never thought we’d get to
  • Goals help us use our minds more effectively
  • Goals help us monitor our progress

Now, I dare anyone to say goals aren’t necessary 🙂

Setting Sales Goals for an Online Business

One thing I’ve realized lately is how important it is to not sit back and “wait” for sales to happen on a new eCommerce website. No, you don’t have to be a jerk like the picture below explains 🙂 but you do have to go out there and make things happen.

I run one website that sells clogging shoes and dance bags. One of the initial ways I made sales was to start contacting people I already knew that may be interested in what I was selling. Yes, I had to take a few big steps out of my comfort zone at first; however, as I talked to friends and family, they were willing to give me good feedback and even criticism which helped my site make progress.

How to set goalsSome of that feedback was positive. I used this feedback as the start of a “testimonials” section. Am I positive that it had a direct effect on sales? No. I do know that many large companies use feedback and reviews to give their products and services more credibility.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about goals and how this ties in to sales online. I heard that Monday, January 21st is known as “Blue Monday” because people realize they probably aren’t going to keep their infamous “New Years Resolutions”. Three weeks have come and gone, they realize they’ve fallen in to the same patterns as always – they decide to give up and quit.

Why does this happen? Were they not serious when they set these goals in the first place? Were they not committed? Did they not want to succeed or overcome a bad habit? Of course they were serious; of course they were committed (at least at first); obviously they wanted to succeed or cut the bad habits. But, in my opinion, their goals were probably based on “outcomes” and not individual “performance”.

I would say that my greatest “discovery” to date as an entrepreneur has been a better understanding of how to set and accomplish goals. When it comes to sales, some things are obviously out of our control. I really wish I could just turn on a magic button and all of a sudden the money would flow in to my merchant account on a consistent basis. However, this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Why, Why, Why? I’ve actually heard a few clients ask this very question: “Why the hell am I not making sales?” My simple response, “What have you done TODAY to make a sale?”

So my advice is this: as you think about your goals, what you want to accomplish with your online business, or with anything, ask yourself the question – “How much control do I have of that outcome?” If you can honestly say you have COMPLETE control, this is the type of goal you go after. Here’s a ficticious example:

Goal: Make $60,000 this year with my online business.

Let’s break it down:

  • To make $60,000 this year, assuming we are starting today, Tuesday, February 19th, means we have 10 and 1/2 months.
  • $60K / 10.5 = $5715 per month.
  • $5715 / 4 weeks = $1430 per week.
  • $1430 / 7 days = $205/day.

By doing this break down I can actually see what it’s going to take on a day to day basis if I want to achieve this financial goal of $60,000 by Dec. 31, 2008.Now I have to ask myself that important question: How much control do I have of that outcome – to make $205 per day?” Some might say this is debateable but think about it, can I actually MAKE a visitor to my website buy the products I am offering on a specific day? From my experience, the answer to that is NO. However, there are things I can do every day that will improve the likelihood of this happening. What are they? Phone calls, emails, weekly or daily promotions, testing different wording strategies, client feedback and referral systems, offline marketing, joint ventures – the list can go on and on. But look at this list – “How much control do I have of [these] outcomes?” All the control!

I can set a goal to make X amount of phone calls today, send Y amount of emails to my database. Then, after doing these things, I can monitor my progress. Maybe today I called 20 people and 5 of them purchased for an average of $50. That means 25% of my contacts purchased something and I made about $250 today. If I contact 50 people tomorrow I have a chance to sell to 12.5 people for about $625 in sales. The numbers won’t always be perfect every day, but keep track of your progress (what was working, what didn’t seem to work), and then duplicate your successes more and more and more!

I’ve rambled long enough today. These strategies will pay off with your businesses. As the cliche states: “Practice makes perfect!” Now start practicing!

“Why Do You Do That?” – What Motivates You?

First watch this:

Now ask yourself, “Why do I do what I do?”

I think this is such a great question to ask yourself. If you don’t know why, you need to figure it out.

Goal setting is such an important part of success with a business. As I’ve talked about before, we have to set goals that we have control of – performance goals. Outcome goals are good to have too – but if we have no real control of the outcome, it can be really frustrating to not achieve the final result.

A goal is defined as:

The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective.

One of my favorite basketball players is Larry Bird. Was he as fast as everyone else? Was he really that strong? Could he jump over cars? NO, NO, and definitely not! However, he set goals he had control of and busted his butt. This is what he has to say about goals:

A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. – Larry Bird

Since it’s the new year, I’m sure many of us have at least thought about goals. I encourage you to really think about what you have control of. If you focus on things you have control of, the outcomes will come. 2007 was a great year; there’s no reason 2008 shouldn’t be better.

Beware of Greed!

I think Jim Westergren said it best:

Don’t make a web site to make money, make a web site to the benefit and help to your visitors and you will see that the money will come.

This is hard for many people, including me. We want to see ROI sooner than later, especially after investing time, money and effort in to such big projects. However, if we give people what they want – good, quality information and products, “…the money will come.”

What are you waiting for?

Grrr…. 😉 Now that I’ve got your attention – Does procrastination get us anywhere? Are we satisfied with what we’ve always done? Did we maximize our potential in 2007? The obvious answer for most of us is NO!

What are you waiting for?Do we really believe we can achieve whatever we set our mind to? Do we really want to make changes? Do we feel that “Now” is the time?

As I read Rob Schaumer’s Blog about goal setting, I thought a lot about clients I currently work with: they all want to make changes, see results, and succeed. The one’s that see the most success all have one major thing in common – “[they] never worry about [what they] can’t change, [they] labor only on what [they] do have control of: attitude, knowledge, skills, and work ethic.” (Moller Mission Statement)

A key part of goal setting is implementation! As the saying goes: “Getter Done!”

Where can confidence take you?

At “Confidence” is defined as:

1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.
2. belief in oneself and one’s powers or abiliites; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.

Why is this imporant when it comes to building a new internet (or any) business? Does it really matter if I’m confident in my own abilities?  Isn’t “self-confidence” like being boastful or proud?

In my experience with small business management, I would say the main factor that separates the successful businesses from those that are not is that one small word – CONFIDENCE! Synonyms for confidence are faith, belief, trust, reliance, dependance, and self-assurance.  I really believe strongly in the idea: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t – You’re right!”  I don’t know anyone who has achieved a high degree of success, be it money, leadership, recognition, or even a great family foundation, that didn’t have confidence.  It is one of the vital keys to reaching our full potential.

How can we gain confidence in our own abilities?  What steps can we take every day to build our confidence if we feel it isn’t there yet?  Here are a few steps I take that seem to help:

1. Write out a plan: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I haven’t always done this but the more I do, the more I believe all the information I read about it.  A plan is crucial in any endeavor: football teams have a playbook of plans, contractors plan things out before building a home, professional speakers have a plan before they take the stage, teachers use a curriculum.

2. Review your plan frequently: Remember, remember, remember!  It’s so easy for us to make the excuse – I forgot to do that.  That’s why reviewing your plan at least daily can help.  Post the plan on your bathroom mirror, tape it to your car dashboard, write it in your planner, do whatever YOU need to do to remind yourself of steps you need to take.

3. Tell someone about your plan and ask them to hold you accountable:  It’s far too easy to quit and give up on yourself when things don’t seem to go as easy as you think they should. That’s why it’s good to have someone there to help you through and encourage you to stick to it.  Your confidant may be able to give you feedback that can help you get to new levels too.

4. Record your progress:  “Small Success leads to Big Success!” I know, many of my clients probably hear this too much.  However, those that do it really seem to be getting to levels that they never imagined were possible.  It can be so rewarding to read back over the steps you’ve taken to get where you are, even if they are very small.  It’s always the little things we do every day which help us get where we want to go.

5. Revise your plan from time to time: Don’t be afraid to make adjustments.  If a certain defense isn’t working for a basketball team, a good coach will change things up, give the offense a different look to see if it will make a difference.  If he keeps doing what he’s always done, he will most likely get the same result.  So it is with our business plan: we will have to make revisions from time to time; especially if what we are doing isn’t taking us where we want to go.

What do you all do to increase confidence and bellief in what you are doing?