Ad image

Backwards Goal-Setting - PPA Today

Backwards Goal-Setting

Business tip from Carol Andrews Jensen, M.Photog.Cr., ABI (Imaging USA 2011 Instructor)

Andrews_Carol.jpgWorking backwards to a goal? If you stop to think, you'll realize that it works! 

Goals are a huge part of reaching our vision and our dreams, and they are so important in creating business models (and life models) that are attainable and achievable. But as small business owners (and creatives), we have to get out of our set patterns to reinvent, refresh, restore and create. Backwards goal-setting is a tool to help us do that.

One of the questions I am asked frequently is how to create a business and marketing calendar. Surprise! Step one is to start at the end. (This "backward" planning method is often used in educational settings, as well as professional training techniques.)

Start at the End
Let's start with the ultimate end goal and think backwards. As always, write down your achievement/goal and your completion date. BE VERY SPECIFIC.

For example, I will have a Valentine's Day promotion, running February 10-14 and featuring mothers and daughters with fresh roses. My goal is 20 sessions at an average of $1,500.00, and the featured product will be a custom album with 10 retouched images.
Figure Out What It Will Take
Now, begin to ask the questions: What is it going to take to hit this mark? Well, we're going to have to have some promotion. When is that going to take place? What method? To whom? It's time to reverse gears and think backwards.

I would break up these steps like so:
  • Promotion by [Name of Magazine] magazine ads in January, deadlines are December 26th.
  • Pull photos, write copy and reserve space by December 10th.
  • E-mail campaign to young mothers' organizations to go out 10 days prior to shoot dates.
Next, step back in time again: what does it take to complete the campaign to the young mothers? Step back again and again...until you have completed the process for this promotion.

Ensure a Logical Progression
Once these steps are assembled onto your physical calendar, you can review to ensure that there's a logical progression of work and steps to carry out the goal.

STOP & Think
When we can take time to think--and then push to "think differently"--our creativity is activated more easily. Then, with the written steps and calendar to guide our actions, our goals are much more reasonable to achieve. With more thorough planning, our preparation level is more polished, allowing our achievements to flow more easily!

So get crazy--think backwards! Summer is the time of year when you can review and renew, and start it all over again for 2011.

Carol Andrews Jensen, M.Photog.Cr., ABI, is a PPA board member from Texas. She is also instructing at Imaging USA 2011 in the "The Business of Portrait Photography" class (January 13-14).


Great insight into goal setting. Starting at the end, and planning backwards, is a great way to make out a strong action plan for yourself to achieve your goals.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on August 17, 2010 6:35 PM.

Kubota Image Tools To Host its 20th Digital Photography Bootcamp Along With a New Business-Focused Event Dubbed Summitupâ„¢ was the previous entry in this blog.

Imaging USA: Cook up Something Special is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Live Chat is closed