Setting long term goals is a vital part of achieving long term success but when starting a business, how do you know if your goals are realistic? Goals are useless unless they are clearly defined and measurable. Many businesses think they have set their goals when they write some esoteric mission statement… “We will do our best to be the very best we can be to the best of our abilities until everyone knows we are the best”. Really? And how will we measure that?
The Bible says “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. It is from that Scripture that we chose the name Vision Quest Virtual Tours. Your long term goals are your VISION but your VISION must include short term objectives. Brian Tracy, the world renowned guru of goal setting, states “An average person with average talent, ambition and education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society…if that person has clear, focused goals”.
Short term objectives are different than long term goals. For example, a measurable goal of hitting a certain income must start with shorter term objectives that are designed as stepping stones to that goal. The problem with focusing only on goals is that one may overlook important steps that are necessary to reach the goal.
In virtual tours as in any business, income is an important and obvious goal but in order to achieve a desired income level, there must first come a level of competency and proficiency in the process of marketing, photographing and building virtual tours. The best way to build that level of competency is practice, practice, practice but you don’t want to necessarily practice on those who are going to be your best customers.
One of the objectives on the path to your goal of income is to develop a fundamental understanding of your art before asking people to pay you for your services. This is not to say that you must be an expert prior to getting paid. You will constantly be refining your skills as your experience increases. Greg was a professional photographer for over a decade prior to starting the virtual tour business but for him there was still a learning curve for learning this particular style of photography.
When we started, we asked our friends and family if we could do free tours for them to build our portfolio and begin to develop our systems. We photographed our chiropractor’s office, family and friends who had homes for sale, a cousin’s rental cabin. We partnered with a cabin rental agency to do all 45 of their cabins at less than a third of what we would normally charge. We bartered for stays as we built our bed and breakfast portfolio and offered significant discounts anytime we shot a new type of business.
Surgeons don’t practice on real patients…they use cadavers first. Firemen don’t want until they are at a fire to test their hoses. The only way to know if there is a leak in a hose is to turn it the water on full blast and see if the water comes out where it should. By doing all of these tours during our first year at greatly reduced prices — and for people who agreed to be our guinea pigs, we found our leaks and perfected our system. By the time we launched Vision Quest Virtual Tours as our full time business, we were ready for anything!
In 2010, we shot 54 tours while working two full time jobs, remodeling a house and planning a wedding. In the first quarter of 2011, we shot 53 tours but made enough on these to replace both of our previous incomes. In June of 2011, we shot 55 tours in two weeks and earned three times as much as we did our first year in business.
Sure, one of our goals is income — any business that forgets that goal will soon be out of business. But more importantly, our goal was to be able to showcase our best work and get paid what we are worth for our services. Price is only an issue in the absence of value and at Vision Quest Virtual Tours, we provide an exceptional value for a fantastic service and we deliver an excellent product. With that formula, our goal is certainly in reach.
To learn more, visit us at www.VisionQuestVirtualTours.com or give us a call at 404-863-9769