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Goal setting a must for large organizations, small businesses, individuals

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BY MIKE WALKER
The winter board meeting will take place in February 2012. We’ll publish the board meeting agenda beforehand, plus the entire meeting minutes after the meeting. The reason I bring this up is to ask you to send in any items you would like to have discussed. Now is the time for you to do this. Send an email before Dec. 15 to Robin Giner at rginer@owaa.org so she can get it on the agenda.
I intend to bring up financial issues, as the OWAA budget is about $30,000 short. I know that historically, the way of keeping revenue up was to solicit new members and also make the conference budget such that some revenue was generated.
I always thought it was not the best business model. It works so long as there were plenty of new members and that members would attend the conference. And this was the case when the economy was in good shape and before the rise of new media. But things have changed.
Annually since 2008, our organization has seen an increase of about 100 new members and supporters, with about 300 people attending the OWAA conference. Yet, despite new professionals affiliating with OWAA every year, those numbers have not generated enough income for OWAA, as our overall membership and conference attendance numbers are less than years past. This is a shame because the conference programs are better than ever. But with everyone watching their personal budgets, they aren’t able or don’t seem to find value in investing to attend conference.
The old way of doing outdoor writing, that is, to rely solely on income from publishing articles in newspapers and magazines, is hurting because so many of these media have gone out of business.
What can OWAA members do to maintain income generated from outdoor communication? Whether you write books, produce videos or outdoor TV programming, or have a website that generates a profit, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is to plan for it and set goals.
I am not going to suggest different ways of earning income. What I am going to suggest is that members set attainable goals for themselves, regardless of the project. One way many people, not just outdoor communicators, set goals is by using the “S.M.A.R.T.” method.

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Timely

Goal setting and detailed planning helped me succeed when I set out to start a radio program. I first figured out a budget to see if I could make it work. I was prepared to fund the program for an entire year, understanding that I would first have to prove we could do a program. As it turns out, I earned sufficient revenue from advertisers and about 80 affiliates the first year. I researched different program lengths, production methods and so on. When we did our first effort on getting affiliates and advertisers, we were prepared and it was a modest success that first year, later growing to 527 affiliates.
We all should set goals for the coming year. Goals keep you focused and on target. It is essential that your goal planning include a projected budget. If you can’t make something work because it doesn’t make you money, you’ll be better off doing like Ben Franklin suggested for doubling your money: fold it and put it back in your pocket.
There are a number of outdoor communicators doing well and making money with their websites and blogs. One earns $3,000 to $4,000 a month on her two websites. Another earns passive income from Google advertising on his site. He writes a newsletter for marine mechanics. Yet another communicator parlayed the sales of saltwater fishing lures into significant income. And he continues to write for a magazine.
All of these entrepreneurial writers have one thing in common. They set goals in order to make things happen for them. Will you? ♦
— OWAA President Mike Walker, mike@walkeragency.com
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