How MeetEdgar Grew to $4 Million a Year with Proper Goal Setting

How MeetEdgar Grew to $4 Million a Year with Proper Goal Setting

Most team planning is a mess:

  • Bunch of meetings to discuss company and team goals
  • Talk in circles about goal ideas, barely make any progress
  • Weeks go by and you still have no idea — so you panic and pick a last-minute goal

The result reflects the process: Bad goals which lead to a stagnating business.

But there are some companies who do goal setting better than anyone else.

MeetEdgar is one of those companies.

Recently, my friend Laura Roeder — the CEO and founder of MeetEdgar — showed me how she used effective goal setting to grow her company to $4 million ARR last year.

😳 Damn. Can I borrow some money? 💰💰💰

MeetEdgar uses a variation of the Rockefeller Habits to create killer effective goals and grow rapidly.


I'm using the Rockefeller Habits to grow my 8-figure biz too — I share above.

I was so impressed I had to get ALL the juicy details.

Take it away, Laura...

Before launching my social media scheduling tool MeetEdgar, I ran a social media consultancy.

One of the biggest questions my clients asked was how to plan and set the right kinds of goals for a business.

After years of experimenting, I finally found the formula which worked for me and my businesses.

For MeetEdgar, proper goal setting and creating meaningful goals has meant $4 million ARR in three years.

Even better, we’re poised for BIGGER growth this year.

You’ll notice our growth is slow, but steady. No ups-and-downs, no big dips.

Best of all, understanding how to set goals and achieve them doesn’t mean you have to list a million different to-dos and work 17 hours a day.

This is the EXACT goal setting worksheet we used to focus MeetEdgar’s goals in the first quarter:

Get the goal setting spreadsheet you can use for your own business

Setting manageable goals is how you reverse-engineer success — and see growth in your own business.

To help you and your business, I’m going to give you the step-by-step strategies and goal setting examples I used at MeetEdgar to go from $0 to $4 million ARR in only three years.

  1. The BIGGEST goal setting mistakes your business is making
  2. Start goal setting with Your “Painted Picture”
  3. Creating effective goals with a few big “Rocks” every quarter
  4. Behind-the-scenes: MeetEdgar’s 2017 goals (including some we missed)

You’ll learn how to set goals and achieve them — but first, let’s take a look at what you’re doing wrong.

The BIGGEST goal setting mistakes your business is making

Effective goal setting isn’t focusing on the end result. Instead, it’s focusing on steps you take to reach your goal.

Here’s what that looks like in an everyday business context...

You might say, “My business goal for next year is to build a better marketing strategy.”

This is too broad.

What does a “better marketing” strategy mean in practical, actionable terms? How do you know when you’re on the right path?

My favorite strategy is to take a big, broad goal and break it down into specific action items. For example:

  • “Spend 1 hour sending LinkedIn messages to potential mentors tomorrow”
  • “Pitch myself to 5 podcasts a week”
  • “Write and submit 3 guest posts this month”
  • “Participate in a Twitter chat every week this quarter”

Effective goal setting needs to be specific if you want to grow your business.

Setting goals the right way is how I’ve grown MeetEdgar to $4 million ARR with 30 employees.

Noah used the same strategy to build an 8-figure business.

But like everything in business, you need to be careful of the extremes.

Goal setting isn’t always as easy as saying “I’m going to go as specific as possible.” There’s a balancing act between art and science.

Start goal setting with Your “Painted Picture”

Your “painted picture” is what you want for your business long-term.

This means thinking about more than only the numbers.

At MeetEdgar, our painted picture and is broken into three parts:

  1. Our product
  2. The industry
  3. Our company

In each of the three parts, we focus on dreaming three years into the future. This helps get our creative juices flowing.

Here’s an excerpt for the painted picture for our product:

Edgar is a focused tool, and a tool with a point of view. Edgar guides customers through best practices of how to be effective, like suggesting categories and how frequently to post. Customers just point Edgar towards what they’ve created and he does the rest! Our customers love how easy and hands-off using Edgar feels, and love all the support we provide for the best possible outcome both within the tool and in one-on-one conversations.

2. Our painted picture for the industry:

We are no longer pitching our team to speak on stage, be featured on podcasts, be featured in blog posts, etc. Instead of our entire team is swamped with these kinds of requests because we’ve become so well known in our industry. Instead of soliciting these opportunities we spend our time choosing the most effective ones.

3. Finally, our painted picture for the company:

Our workplace feels like a place where our values (kindness, ownership, and Value For Value) are really lived every day. Limiting the size of our team was the right choice as we are past the churn of constant hiring and are able to keep improving and optimizing our structures and workflows. We are a small but mighty team and we love how fast we can move.

Other successful entrepreneurs — like Noah — set visions for business succes, too.

Now, it’s your turn. Here are 3 questions to paint your business picture and vision for success:

  1. What’s your dream product for your business look like in three years?
  2. Your industry?
  3. Your company?

Once you have a clear idea of your long-term vision for your business, you can start thinking about where to focus.

Creating effective goals with a few big “Rocks” every quarter

Meetings, emails, Slack messages, and “fires” to put out.

Most entrepreneurs live their days reactively. When the day is over, they look at their calendar and think… What did I really get done today?!

FOCUS is critical.

Quarterly, every team at MeetEdgar chooses three “big rocks” for themselves.

The term “rocks” comes from the “Rockefeller Habits,” discussed in the book Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) — and on a a recent episode of Noah's podcast.

The goal of “big rocks” is to align your company on the most critical growth focuses for your business.

As structured in the Rockefeller Habits, your company rocks are goals each team is going to meet within three months.

Here’s a goal setting rock example from our company...

Providing stellar support is important to our three-year painted picture.

To progress towards the goal, here are the big rocks from our Customer Experience team:

  1. Hire 3 new pros (we hire at a rate of at least 1 per 1,500 new users)
  2. Improve training outline
  3. Create more step-by-step process documentation

Even if they’re not creative, focus on big rock projects to move the needle for your business.

You might have noticed that none of the big rocks in that example from our Customer Experience team were actual KPIs:

  • No “Reduce median response time by an hour”
  • No “Improve average satisfaction ratings by 10%”
  • No “Decrease refunds by 15%”

Instead, the Customer Experience team’s goal setting focused on actionable goals we could more easily control:

  1. Hire 3 new pros
  2. Improve training outline
  3. Create more step-by-step process documentation

Big rocks are what you can control (something actionable and concrete).

Completing a big rock should put you closer to achieving quantifiable results, like reaching a certain number of new customers.

Want another example? When Noah was the Director of Marketing for Mint.com, he used similar goal setting to grow from 0 to 1 million users in six months.

To keep it simple, we don’t plan for projects longer than three months, because the tech industry changes quickly.

If our big rocks took years to complete, we’d run the risk of not being able to adjust to industry changes (or new interests in our biz).

The result of focusing on “big rocks” has been insane for our business.

Our Customer Experience team median response time has gone from about six hours to less than one.

Happy customers = better retention = more 💰💰💰

In your business, use my 5 favorite questions for finding your biggest rocks

  1. What are you not doing but you know you should be doing?
  2. What feels messy or confusing for your team?
  3. What have you been putting off because you’re scared you can’t pull it off?
  4. What’s the future you’re currently headed toward, and what don’t you like about it?
  5. What’s the most obvious change that would benefit you or your department?

Maybe you want to…

Don’t stop there. Think about the actionable steps you can take to get closer to your goals.

If you want to create your own rock goal setting template, here are a few tips:

  1. Organize your rocks by team. Keep them all in one central Google Drive location, Dropbox folder, or somewhere else everyone in your company can see
  2. Color-code according to progress. Keep it simple: Something is either “In Progress” or “Complete”
  3. Review your spreadsheet regularly. Give your team the opportunity to show off their wins, ask for advice, and hold each other accountable. We do this in both company-wide emails or Slack messages, and regular all-hands meetings
  4. Review uncompleted big rocks at the end of each quarter. What went wrong? Dig in with your team, and see whether the goal should be modified or re-attempted

BONUS: Here’s a goal setting spreadsheet you can use for your own business

Keeping your big rocks in a spreadsheet helps, but only if people actually look at it.

Put it front and center, so nobody — including yourself — can use the “We lost track of the goal” excuse.

Behind-the-scenes: MeetEdgar’s 2017 goals (including some we missed)

When a new quarter approaches, each of our team leaders decides on the three big rocks for their department.

After each department defines their three big rocks for the upcoming quarter, we review them together as a group. Everyone knows each other’s priorities.

Here are our big rocks from Q1 2017:

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the Customer Experience (CX) rocks.

How did we do and what did we learn in Q1?

Some of our Q1 big rocks were successes for the entire company, even though they were determined and completed mostly by a single department.

Four example, our Development team improved our onboarding process. This means better retention and less support requests.

On the other hand, our Development team team also failed with a second rock: Writing three blog posts.

This taught the team that choosing goals outside their usual routine might be too ambitious.

With failures and successes in mind, we adjusted for the big rocks for Q2:

All three Development goals match the team’s usual routine.

Once every team decides on their big rocks, we keep them front and center throughout the quarter.

We hold a company-wide kickoff call every Monday, so each department can provide rock updates — and so we never lose focus on what’s MOST important to grow the business.

Here’s a reminder of your new quarterly planning process:

  1. Think in terms of actions you can take, not results
  2. Paint a picture of your company’s long-term future
  3. Create attainable, actionable “big rock” goals for each quarter
  4. Keep those goals front-of-mind throughout the quarter and hold yourself accountable

Do this each quarter and actually accomplish those goals with consistency, and you’ll find that getting yourself to the future you want for your business happens a whole lot faster.

Here’s to helping your business reach $4 million ARR (and beyond)...

If you're serious about growing your business with goal setting, you should do two things:

  1. Retweet this article (click the retweet button on the embedded tweet below)
  2. Leave a comment with your biggest takeaway from MeetEdgar's goal setting tips

For every person who retweets and leaves a comment, you'll get a free month of MeetEdgar ($49) value.

EVERYONE who comments and retweets will get a month of MeetEdgar to help double their social media traffic for free. 👍

And don't forget to say hi to Laura and the MeetEdgar team.

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14 responses to “How MeetEdgar Grew to $4 Million a Year with Proper Goal Setting”

Carolien
July 31, 2017 at 8:12 am

Just applied Edgar's goal setting strategy to the next 6 months coming up! The spreadsheet really helped getting into the actionable items to move the needle on each project.

Reply
Bernadette Johnson
July 29, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Thank you for the generosity of wisdom and points of clarity! I will be implementing the items I have missing in my practice!

Reply
Damon Brown
July 29, 2017 at 7:07 am

Edgar has a fascinating model. Thanks for peeling back the curtain!

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Rosemary
July 27, 2017 at 7:48 am

This was an AMAZING post and such a generous offer with the spreadsheet! Totally actionable- I'm going to fill out my Big Rocks today!

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Kyle Goguen
July 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Adding this to my own Meet Edgar posting rotation!

For my team, goal setting currently happens in fits and starts and that lack of consistency is probably hurting us in a lot of ways.

Working together on painting a picture of our long term future will be step 1!

Reply
UpVirally
July 25, 2017 at 10:17 am

Awesome info about priorities and productivity.

Clear the clutter. Get things done quickly.

Have you guys checked Darren Hardy's youtube videos?

He talks a lot of good about productivity. He talks about the dead vortex. It's amazing.

Both of you have a great match.

The great takeaway is:

Focus on things that matter most which is doing things that improve results and not on the results.

Reply
Ronak Shah
July 24, 2017 at 9:57 am

Fabulous content. I am truly gratefully awesomely delighted. I feel you need a little simplification example of how to implement finding 3 big rocks.

Shared it with my friends on Facebook. Will sure Rt it later. Hope this is fine.

Reply
Ronak Shah
July 24, 2017 at 10:11 am

Retweeted. Done.

Reply
Brandon Oldfield
July 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I like this approach because I have seen first hand how historically corporate work plan building for development teams is to heavy on metrics and farsighted to be any value immediately after its written. Tech priorities attached to project plans change often and the time spent aligning the development workplan to the corporate action plan with metrics quickly becomes wasted effort. I have recently started using 3 "buckets" conversations with each of my team leads to help focus what they work on each month. One step in the right direction direction. Thanks!

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Brice
July 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Thanks for showing us the insides Laura + Noah.

Biggest takeaway was setting "rocks" to focus on and making sure that the goals are process oriented and not end result oriented.

Also like how your have a "painted picture" for your business in 3 years.

Good stuff 🙂

Reply
Mike Outram
July 21, 2017 at 3:27 pm

MeetEdgar user here, love what you've made. Thanks for a splendid article. The thing I really took from your article, and something I've started doing much more lately, is to keep the flow going from the daily action, to weekly, to quarterly goals.

And I make my own little book that helps me keep track. Have tried digital tracking but this works much better for me: http://www.electriccampfire.com/effective-progress-log/

Reply
Tom
July 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Unless I'm mistaken, the "Here's your goal-setting spreadsheet" links don't appear to be linked?

Reply
David
July 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Works for me. Love this post!

Have you tried disabling Adblock or whitelisting okdork.com? I noticed sometimes Sumo content upgrades (and other stuff) gets caught up in the filters.

Reply
Ronak Shah
July 24, 2017 at 10:01 am

I am on an android phone & I can't seem to find the text having a download link of the spreadsheet. Can you please kindly email me the sheet? Thanks.

Reply