As entrepreneurs, we spend a lot of time talking about our businesses–whether it’s at a networking event, business development, speaking from the stage, or chatting with our Uber driver. You’d think with all these opportunities to talk about our business we’d be pretty good at it, right?
Well, the fact is, most of us aren’t so good at it. More often than not, we drown our listeners with irrelevant and uninteresting details, which hurts our growth and limits our opportunity.
But with a few storytelling tools and a bit of practice, we can transform our boring elevator pitch into an inspiring and engaging story.
One simple and powerful tool to do this is a BHAG.
What is a BHAG?
BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. It represents the impact you want to make on the world through your business. It’s the future that you are manufacturing day by day with the work you’re doing.
Here’s an example of our BHAG at Advance Your Reach:
Benefits of a BHAG
A good BHAG can impact your business in many surprising ways.
- It makes it easier to talk about your business – With your BHAG, you’ll have a tool that explains your business and sparks thought-provoking conversation.
- It creates something bigger than yourself – With a BHAG, you have a vision that you’re set on carrying out. This gives more meaning to your work.
- It allows you to enroll your customers in a vision – A good BHAG gets people excited and inspired, and by working with you, your customers feel that they’re playing a part in carrying out your vision to improve the world.
- It creates more meaning for your work and your team – Like with yourself and your customers, your team members will also find inspiration and meaning in your vision. This means your team will be more loyal and inspired.
How To Create Your Own BHAG
First, you need to identify a goal worth pursuing. We often think too small with our BHAG, so as you write out your potential ideas, don’t try and filter yourself. If anything, try to err on the side of “too audacious” or even “crazy.”
A good BHAG is not something can be achieved quickly or easily. Aim for a goal that would take 10 years or more to achieve.
Your goal should be action oriented. It’s not something that will take care of itself.
Your goal should be measurable. Giving a concrete number in your BHAG allows you to measure your progress, but it also makes it more memorable and compelling.
A BHAG Is Simple
You should be able to fully communicate your BHAG in a sentence or two. Don’t confuse simplicity with dullness, though. You can create more of an impact with a few well-chosen words and ideas than with a drawn-out monologue.
Connect a BHAG to your story
Your BHAG should come from your story. It should connect with something in your past or present that has shaped you to be who you are.
- How did someone help or inspire you in the past?
- What mistakes have you made that you want to help people avoid?
- What problems do you see in the world that you want changed?
Connecting your BHAG with your personal story should inspire and excite you. Click To Tweet You’ll use this as fuel to achieve this ambitious goal, and the energy and passion you feel will be contagious to your audience.
Daniel Moskowitz from Superhero Sales Academy has a goal to change how people see sales from “manipulative and sleazy” to “inspiring and helpful”:
“I want to help 100,000 Entrepreneurs double their sales with INTEGRITY and LOVE and ZERO ICKINESS!”
A BHAG Is Long-Term
Any goal that you think you can achieve in a year or two is not ambitious enough to be your BHAG. Click To Tweet It should be something that represents your legacy. Your BHAG should be something you aim to achieve in 10 years of focused work. By setting a goal 10 years out, you’ll aim higher, and your BHAG will be more compelling to you and your audience.
It’s a goal that should force you out of your comfort zone. It’s a goal that should intimidate you at first and cause you to think, “How in the world am I going to pull this off?” By aiming high like this, you’ll start to think differently about your day-to-day work and consider new strategies that you may not have with a more comfortable and achievable goal.
“Our mission is to help create a thousand 7-figure businesses with our 3-part framework:
- Money is the greatest tool you have to take care of yourself.
- Money is the greatest tool you have to take care of others.
- Money is the greatest tool you have to create the impact that you were born to make in this world.”
A BHAG Is Measurable
Measurability is key to making your BHAG stick. Click To Tweet Making it measurable adds more clarity to your vision and allows you to break up your BHAG into clear steps. It also makes you more accountable to the goal. If it’s measurable, it’s clear to you, your customers, and your team if you’ve ended each day/month/year closer to the goal than when you started.
Moving toward this goal with measurable numbers creates a storyline in itself. It enables people to follow your progress and it gives your audience a clear way to participate. If they join in your vision and become a customer, advocate, or partner with your business, they know exactly how much they moved the needle on this vision.
You can see the power of measurability with how Alex Turnbull from Groove HQ shares his story.
In 2013 Alex Turnbull was considering shutting down his startup, Groove. His content was not getting any traction, and growth was too slow to be sustainable. Alex had a BHAG to reach $100k in monthly recurring revenue, but the customer support SaaS space is extremely competitive and already had a few big players. To break into this space, Alex had to do something very different.
There was plenty of content on customer support already existing, but Alex discovered that few people were talking about what was happening behind the scenes in their businesses. So he decided to blog about his $100k goal and discuss what he was doing to achieve it. He introduced this new direction in the first post of his blog “Startup Journey”:
“This is the blog I wish I had read the first time I started a company. It’s going to cover the lessons we learn from our own experiences, including our tests, our wins and our fails, backed up with real numbers. Everything from design, development, strategy, marketing, sales, growth hacking, hiring, fundraising, culture, customer support and more.”
The combination of transparency, storytelling, and the measurability of his goal completely changed the direction of his startup.
By using your BHAG as a measurable goal you can create a visual story that enhances your message and allows you to share your progress.
Testing Your BHAG
Once you identify your goal, you can test it on friends and colleagues. You want to create an emotional response in the people you share it with, and it should be memorable.
Is it something that people will understand if you share it?
An easy way to test this out is to get in an Uber or Lyft and go on a drive. During the drive, explain your BHAG to your driver and see how they take to it. You’ll know you’re on the right track if you see your driver start to get energized and ask a lot of questions.
Announce your new BHAG on social media and start conversations in the comments and responses with people who like it or respond to it. If your BHAG is good and you commonly post on social media you should get some engagement.
Another strategy is to head to events and test it out with the people you meet. Anything from a local networking event to the next Reach Live is filled with all kinds of people eager to ask you, “What do you do?”. We also have a few Facebook groups like our Backstage Pass group that is filled with people who want to tell better stories and could give you feedback.
Need more inspiration for your storytelling? Check out 26 Tips For Storytelling
Where To Use A BHAG In Your Business
Webinars – Talk about your BHAG in one of your first slides. Talk about the goal and the story behind the goal. This is a good way to capture the attention of your audience and talk about yourself without sounding like you’re bragging.
Signature talk – Talking about your BHAG from the stage is a powerful way to inspire and connect with your audience.
Content – You can also use your BHAG as you create content that solves your customer’s problems and walks them through the Buyer’s Journey.
With a good BHAG, you can transform talking about your business from an awkward experience to something engaging and inspiring for everyone involved.
If you’re looking for more great tips to tell your story, come join us at Reach Academy Live, where you’ll meet hundreds of other people with world-changing BHAGs.