One of the things I want to do with Original Fuzz in 2016 is share more of what we’re learning and what we know that might be helpful to our customers and audience. Some of that might be guitar-related, such as the trick to learning to fingerpick, but a lot of it is actually business stuff. Much of what we're learning right now comes from this startup journey.
Yesterday I was listening to an episode of the Tim Ferris podcast with Derek Sivers. Derek founded CD Baby back in the late 90s as a way for independent musicians to distribute their music. He stumbled into a great business by scratching his own itch and solving a real problem that he was feeling.
On the podcast episode, Derek said something that I found very applicable to Original Fuzz. He was talking about how you should document what you’ve learned for the purposes of helping others right after you learn something new. So, we want to share our notes on what we're learning as we go in hopes of helping you help us.
With any business, goal setting is as important to its vitality as giving it a name. So this blog post is dedicated to what we are working toward in the new year.
Our Goal for This Year
Our goal for Original Fuzz in 2016 is simple: Grow our retail sales by 30% over last year. Not our overall sales, not our wholesale, but our direct-to-consumer sales. We put a lot of thought into the reasons why we chose this goal, but the short answer is that we believe it’s the key to unlocking everything else we want to achieve this year. That’s why we bother setting goals and that’s why we think hard about setting the right goal.
I’m a big believer that you should only try to change one thing about yourself at a time. For me, if I try to change multiple habits at once I’ll fail at all of them. When I needed to start flossing my teeth every day, I made that my only personal goal for two months. It was long enough for it to become ingrained as a habit. Now it’s easy to stay flossed. I didn’t try to exercise more or do anything else on top of that. I just focused on developing the habit of flossing before moving on to anything else.
Setting one goal at a time is the organizational equivalent of learning to floss your teeth before working on your exercise routine. It focuses the entire business on developing the processes needed to make a longterm change. Once the business has developed a new habit, then it's ok to move on to the next one.
Here are some other benefits of choosing one goal at a time:
- Everyone at the company is aware of exactly what we’re trying to achieve, so they can prioritize their individual workload and time accordingly.
- Having a single goal that is simple enough for everyone in the company to say aloud leaves no room for vagueness. A simple, shareable mission must be clear.
- The constraint of one simple goal forces you to figure out the lever that will drive everything else you want to see happen at your company. Everyone has big dreams, but what is the most important thing you should be doing now to reach those dreams?
- A single goal organizes the entire team, no matter their role, around a clear mission. This encourages collaborations across all roles and discourages people building up walled gardens in their department. Rather than have multiple business units, it organizes the whole company around a single P&L and a single objective. It facilitates collaboration.
Why Did We Choose Our Goal for 2016?
The goal of growing our retail sales by 30% this year will force us to get much better at selling directly to the consumer through our website, we’ll have to get better at events and pop-up stores, and it will force us to grow our audience and reach. It’s the lever that we need to pull to do everything we want to do in 2016, so it’s our single goal for the year: grow our retail sales by 30% over 2015.
I’ll be tracking our progress on a monthly basis, and checking in weekly to adjust our tactics and priorities. Everything we do will be prioritized through the filter of this goal.
So look out for more posts about what we’re learning on the Original Fuzz startup journey. A lot of it won't be guitar or gear-related, but hopefully it will be interesting and useful.