As bloggers and online business owners, there is often an internal struggle between making decisions that benefit us RIGHT NOW versus making decisions that will benefit us EVENTUALLY. The ongoing questions that we face is this: do we focus on quick wins or long-term strategy?
Is it really possible to have both? And how do we balance the two? On the one hand, we need to think about what’s going on today. After all, we have bills to pay today, and we need to get–or keep–the money coming in. So we think, “How am I going to make my business work today? What can I do to grow my business today? What’s the most impactful thing I can do right this moment?”
And while figuring out how to make our businesses sustainable in the short term is important, so is doing the things that will take our businesses from where we are to where we want to go a month from now, a year from now, five years from now. That’s when we start to ask questions like “Where do I want my business to be in the future? What are my long-term goals? What can I do right now that will set me up to hit those goals?”
If we want to create a successful and sustainable business, we need to be able to step outside of the daily grind and set big, long-term goals so we know in which direction we’re headed and what milestones we have to hit along the way to make our goals a reality. But on the flip side, if we spend too much time thinking and planning out the future — and not enough time on the day-to-day stuff — we might find ourselves at the end of the month with bills to pay and our revenue hovering somewhere around the “zero” mark. If we always look for the quick win, we’re constantly working at a frenzied pace, spinning our wheels but not really going anywhere. But if we only think about long-term strategy, our businesses will never get to the point where we’re able to actually hit those long-term goals.
And this can be hard sometimes! It’s like a constant game of tug-of-war. And no matter where we are in our business — whether we’re just starting out or we’ve been at it for years — it will always come up.
SMALL BUSINESS ROADMAP
Thinking about starting your own business? Our Small Business Roadmap will show you exactly what steps you'll need to take to get started, along with typical startup costs. Best of all, it's completely free! Simply click to download.
And that is also why it’s so, so important to find the right balance. And that perfect balance? It all depends on where we are with our business.
QUICK WINS vs. LONG-TERM STRATEGY FOR NEW BLOGGERS
Let’s take a look at what a quick win and a more long-term approach looks like when we’re just starting out in the blogosphere. The quick win is all about seeing results — and seeing them fast. Pumping out tons of content — and promoting that content — so we can build our traffic (and, more importantly, our email list) is a great example of a quick win that’s 100% necessary when we’re first starting out. Will it make us money? Not necessarily. But when we’re first starting out, quick wins aren’t necessarily based on revenue — it’s more about getting our blog out there and in front of the right people.
The long-term strategy is about where we’re headed. For example, let’s say our goal is to launch products. Well, we can’t release a product on day one and expect to see results! We would want to take a long-term approach and go through all the modules in EBA, one by one, and build the foundation we need to successfully launch a product.
QUICK WINS vs. LONG-TERM STRATEGY FOR A NOT-SO-NEW BLOGGER
Now let’s take a look at what a quick win and a more long-term approach look like when we’ve been at the blogging game for a while. A quick win is always about generating revenue — and generating revenue fast. So if we’re a little pressed for cash, we might do a flash sale where we mark down some of our most popular products to drive sales, or push an affiliate product, or agree to a sponsored post. Quick win, quick cash!
The long-term strategy, again, is about where we’re headed. Maybe our long-term goal is to write a book, and we know we want to publish two years from now. Then we work backwards, and figure out the things we need to do to get from point A (being a successful blogger) to point B (being a published author in 24 months), like building a larger platform, becoming an authority in our space, and building a stronger connection with our audience (so they go out and buy our book!).
FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN QUICK WINS AND LONG -TERM STRATEGY
As you can see, quick wins and long-term strategy are BOTH necessary to build successful businesses — no matter where we are in the journey. The key is finding the balance between the two.
Now, sometimes our quick wins will tie into our long-term strategy, and that’s great! But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, we need to set one aside to focus on the other — and that’s okay, too. It’s just about making sure we’re spending enough time on each so that we can get to where we want to go — and make sure we’re having plenty of quick wins along the way.
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula to how we should split our time between short-term and long-term strategy. And how we need to split our time will change depending on where we are in our business. For example, when we’re first starting out, a solid 90% of our time needs to be spent on short-term strategy. It’s great to have an idea of where we want to be in five years (and we can spend 10% of our time planning how to get there), but the main focus needs to be on doing the day-to-day work to get our blogs off the ground. As we build our audience and grow our business, then we can start shifting more of our focus to the long term.
These days, I’d estimate that about 40% of my time is spent on long-term strategy — which means that about 60% is spent on short-term strategy, quick wins, and the day-to-day of my business. Now, sometimes I have to switch gears and spend more time on the day-to-day or more time on long-term planning, but generally speaking, the 60/40 split is what works best.
AN EXAMPLE OF QUICK WINS AND LONG-TERM STRATEGY WORKING TOGETHER
Perhaps you’re wondering, “All of this sounds great… but what does it look like in action?” Here’s a personal example of both long-term strategy and quick wins working in my business.
In our company, one of our most important products (and biggest revenue drivers) is our Living Well Planner®. Because I like to plan ahead, I had mapped out the entire strategy for our fall & holiday planner launch by the beginning August. We knew exactly what the rest of the year looked like, according to our long-term strategy. And it felt great! But when we got to December and I took a look at where we were vs. what I had projected, there was a gap. We needed to rework our strategy to close the gap — and we needed to do it fast. So we came up with some quick-win strategies to drive more revenue before the end of the year.
In the end, it was super helpful to have a long-term strategy — it’s what kept us moving in the right direction. But when it came down to the wire, we needed to kind of let that long-term strategy go and come up with a quick win to save the day.
MASTERING THE SHORT GAME AND THE LONG GAME IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
The moral of the story? When it comes to quick wins vs. long-term strategy, one is no better than the other. We need both to build our businesses and take things to the next level by setting big goals and coming up with a long-term strategy, without letting it intimidate us! Break it down into smaller, manageable goals that help you keep track of your progress — that’s where the quick wins come in. We need to set a direction and know where we’re headed, but we also need to keep our heads in the day-to-day and take advantage of quick wins when we can (and when it’s necessary). Blogging is a short game and a long game — if we want to be successful, we need to know how to play both.