How I Doubled My Revenue in 12 Months

Mid 2010 my brother and I took over the family sign business. My dad ran the business out of the house for years, but my brother and I knew we needed office space and we were set to take over a lease for a big printer. That meant lots of extra overhead costs for us.

We spent the summer of 2010 getting set up in our new space and learning our new roles. We had both been involved with the sign business for years, but now we were in charge of the financial side too. Come September, I looked back on what we made over the summer and it was dismal. July and August were typically the busiest months in the sign industry, but we managed to earn a fraction of what we expected.

I calculated how much we needed to be invoicing to cover our bills monthly and shared it with my brother. It was more than double our summer revenue numbers – ouch!! Our sales improved a bit through the fall, but we weren’t coming close to breaking even.

After the new year, I was determined to meet our sales goals. I didn’t know how we were going to do it since our sales had been terrible for the previous six months, so I made up a tracking sheet. It looked like this:

Every week, I calculated our weekly sales and sales to date and filled in the tracking sheet. I tacked the sheet up between my office and my brother’s office with masking tape so we could both easily see how we were doing.

We joked that it was up on the wall so we could see how far behind we were.

Then something totally unexpected happened… we were reaching our goals. If we didn’t make our weekly goal one week, we would overshoot the next week so that we were on track to make our yearly goal. 

Incredibly, after sticking to our system for 12 months, we made our goal. Well, we were $7000 short, but considering our goal was $270,000 we were 97.5% there. 

How did we do it when we were so far off the previous year?

It turns out, we stumbled onto the most reliable way of reaching a goal: Writing It Down.

A study by the Dominican University of California found that 43% of people who think about their goal, but don’t write it down, accomplished their goals. But 64% of people who write down their goals achieve them. To take it one step further, 76% of people who wrote down their goal and reported their progress weekly achieved their goal. 


So what do you do if you have a big goal you want to achieve?

Goal: Eat burgers before hoomans stop me

Stretch Goal: Get the fries 

1.   Write Down Your Goal

This step alone is responsible for 1 out of every 5 people succeeding and it’s the foundation for all of the other steps. There is some evidence that hand writing your goal is more powerful than typing it.

When I printed out that paper every single week with our revenue goals and progress, that was the only real step I took toward making all those sales. And it worked.  

2.   Break Your Big Goal into Small Steps

It’s easy to put off a discount the progress you can make toward a big goal because, well, it’s small potatoes compared to that big goal. Break your goal into small steps. I did a weekly steps with our revenue goal, but you could go as small as daily goals or even 2-3 hour task goals. You’ll be less overwhelmed and more likely to keep going toward your big goal if you reward the small steps.

3.   Look at Your Goal Every Day.

My brother and I posted our progress every week and we looked at that paper daily as we were walking into our offices. Some other ideas: set your goal as a reminder on your smart phone every day, make a screensaver with your goal for your computer, post in on your bathroom mirror, post it on your computer.

4.   Find An Accountability Buddy

Goals are so much more fun with a friend! If you don’t have a business partner like I did, support a fellow business owner and have a weekly meeting about your goals. You can do an in person meet up, a phone call, or send a quick email with your progress. 

5.   Believe in Yourself 

Most of all, all the preparation in the world is not going to help if you really don’t think you can reach your goals. The pull of Netflix may take over!

As Henry Ford says, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” Smart guy that Henry Ford. Do whatever you can to boost your confidence. Try EFT, read motivational books, blast Eye of the Tiger and shadow box… do what you have to do! Eventually you’ll start to believe it. 

I created a handy dandy Goal Tracking Sheet that you can post up in your office and track your goal. Get it here: 

Writing down your goals is the simplest and most effective way to actually achieve them. It’s still surprising to look back on how well this worked, but if we can do it, anyone can. 

My brother Pete and I in 2010. We were both clueless how we would make enough money to cover our bills at this point, but we were hopeful!