Welcome to 2013!

2013 is an open book filled with magicThe New Year has begun, filled with all sorts of possibility and wonder. For some reason, the changing of the years seems to remind us to look back at what’s behind us, and eagerly anticipate what’s ahead of us.

However, in business (and in life), each new day yields the same opportunity. Learn from the past. Plan for the future. Dream big, live fully, love deeply, fail fast, and grow more.

With 365 new beginnings lying before you this year, what dream are you pursuing today? Or are you simply trying to keep up with the demands of Life?

Set aside time each day to step back, think about where you are right now, and where you want to be in the future. Are you positioned to get there? If not, what changes do you need to make to adjust course?

For your business, review your business plan. (This applies, even if you are a personal brand!) If you don’t have one, sit down and write one. Without it, you have no discernible measure of where you are in relation to your goals. If you have one, is it current or does it need updating?

The process of having to document your business, your products and services, your position in relation to competition, etc., helps to clarify and define your business. This makes it easier to make decisions about growth opportunities, future direction, prospective client projects, and much more. Without a business plan, you’re simply reacting to events as they unfold, left to the whim of others.

Michael Hyatt, former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, also recommends having a life plan for your personal affairs as well. Certainly if you want to be in control of your life, instead of reacting to events all the time, knowing what you want out of life is important. Having a plan will help you balance the demands on your time and resources, while also allowing you to create the legacy you want to leave.

How does your business plan align with your life plan? Are there areas of conflict that need resolution? For example, if spending time with family and friends is a huge part of your life plan, does your business plan ensure you have the time and freedom to do that?

By understanding where you are now and where you want to go in the future, you’re well-equipped to figure out the steps required to get from here to there. Check back regularly to ensure you stay on target. Keep both plans updated as things change.

You don’t have to wait for a New Year to create the life you want. You just have to decide here and now, in this moment, that you’re starting. Then, let nothing stand in your way!

As a thank you to my readers, and with permission from its creator, Dave VanHoose of the 7-Figure Speaking Empire, here’s his Success Goal Workshop worksheet to get you started thinking. I’ve already filled mine out and have been re-reading it frequently the past few days.

And if you’re free today at noon ET, join Dave for his Be Legendary BlogTalkRadio show. Today’s topic is on planning your goals for 2013, and you’ll be able to call in to get your questions answered. If you miss the live show, you can always explore the archive!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below. We’d love to know what your big goals are!

How to Calculate Your Social Growth

I’m reading Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform, at the moment. What I love about reading material fromknowledgeableexperts is that it makes me think more in-depth about ideas I don’t normally consider.

How to calculate your social growth - http://alewbsocial.comI’m often asked by clients about which metrics they should be noting. It doesn’t matter if they are an author or speaker looking to build a platform, or an entrepreneur looking to get found online. The question is always the same.Which metrics are important?

My reply is often this. The metrics that are important differ depending on the goal you’re trying to reach. Without knowing that goal, collecting data is almost pointless.

But here’s a metric that Michael pointed out that jumped out at me, because it’s more of a self-reflection. It’s the percent change in the last twelve months. This can apply for a website (as in Michael’s example in his book), or a social profile. It reflects the rate of growth in the last year.

Understanding this number helps you to recognize how effective you are at doing what you’ve set out to accomplish. Whether you’re building a platform or increasing visibility for your brand or product, you need to build a following, and that starts with creating relationships with people who value what you have to share. Whether or not they are coming back to your site on a repeated basis, and whether your information is finding it’s way out into the Ether is a huge part of that. But time spent on the site also has an effect on:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Subscriptions
  • Sales

Here’s an excerpt from Michael’s description that explains how to calculate the percent of change in the past twelve months:

Here’s the formula: unique visitors in the last thirty days, minus your unique visitors for the same period twelve months ago, divided by your unique visitors for the same period twelve months ago, multiplied by one hundred.

A similar formula could be applied for a Twitter profile, Facebook page, LinkedIn account, etc. so long as you have the numbers needed for the calculation.

Looking at my own site, I’ve had a 347% increase in my website traffic since November 1, 2011. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full year’s worth of data yet, since I migrated my website in October last year. But in another couple of months, I will. The main point here is, I must be doing something right, and that’s encouraging to know.

If we base our assessment of our success on the number of comments we receive, it can seem like our efforts are getting us nowhere. But knowing that my message is being heard and noting that my page/visit count is also going up means I have more people coming to the site and they’re digesting more of what I’ve shared. And they’re doing that because they value what I have to share. In the process, relationships are being built as we engage with one another, content my readers value is shared within their networks, and more people are being helped by what I have to offer.

That makes the effort worthwhile.

So, how about you? What are you doing to influence and monitor your social growth?