The Primary Aim & Strategic Objective [& How to Create Your Own]

by Chenell Tull | Updated: January 2, 2018

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This is another post in the series I’m doing detailing all of the takeaways I had from reading the E-Myth Revisited. You can find the rest of the posts here.

A big takeaway I had from this book is figuring out what you want out of your business, and how it’s going to serve the plans you have for your life. The author, Michael Gerber, details these as your Primary Aim and your Strategic Objective.

Download this FREE Template so you can follow along and build your own Strategic Objective & Primary Aim

Figuring Out Your Primary Aim

According to the book, the strategic objective is “a very clear statement of what your business has to ultimately do for you to achieve your Primary Aim.”

Your primary aim is essentially how you want your funeral to go. That may sound strange, but think about it:

What do you want people to say about you, your accomplishments, and your life story when it comes time for your funeral?

When I read this, I was riding the bus and I was definitely inspired. I had heard this before but it didn’t hit me like it had on that day. So on that bus ride, I came up with a list of things that I literally wrote on the back of a receipt – it was the only paper I had with me at the time.

This is kind of personal, but wanted to share it with you if you needed some inspiration. Forgive the oil stains on the paper – and remember I didn’t have much room to expand on each topic. 🙂

primary aim emyth

Since I have awesome handwriting, I’ll list them off for you and elaborate a bit:

My family is very small, and I grew up with a single mom who sacrificed a lot for me. I want to be able to help her navigate life as she gets older and support her. Also, I have two best friends who impacted my life in so many ways and they both have little kids. I want to support them as their kids grow and be there for all the other people in my life who were there for me when I needed it.

So, with those defining my Primary Aim, I need to figure out my Strategic Objective in order to accomplish those things.

Creating Your Strategic Objective

Here is a few quotes that, when combined, are the best explanation of the Strategic Objective I found throughout the book:

The Strategic Objective “is the vision of the finished product that is and will be your business.”

Essentially he’s saying that you should be thinking in advance what you want the business to look like when it’s “successful” or “complete”. What’s the end goal with your business?

“It is NOT a business plan. It is a product of your life plan, as well as your business strategy and plan. Your life plan shapes your life and the business that is to serve it. Your business strategy and plan are a way of communicating to anyone you must communicate to the direction your business is going, how it intends to get there, and the specific benchmarks it will need to hit in order for the strategy and plan to work.

But unless your business strategy and plan can be reduced to a set of simple and clearly stated standards, it will do more to confuse you than help. Your strategic objective is just such a list of standards. A tool for measuring your progress toward a specific end. Designed for implementation NOT rationalization.”

Okay, so there are a few pieces to that.

Great, a set of standards, but what kind of standards are we talking about here?

Here are the standards the author has laid out for a strategic objective in the E-Myth Revisited.

Standard #1 = Money

This is where you’ll need to know big your vision is and how big your company will be when it’s finally done? You’ll need to calculate out your gross revenues, gross profits, pre-tax profits, and your after-tax profits.

The biggest realization for me in this section is this: “the question becomes, how much money do I need to live the way I wish? Not in income, but in assets. In other words, how much money do you need in order to be independent of work, to be free?”

I feel like I’ve always thought of business goals as income, revenue, etc., but you need to think of it in terms of your assets too. I took this to mean: “Okay $150k income a year is a great goal, but you’re going to need money set aside in retirement, real estate investments, etc.”

I was not taking into account overall assets, only income, revenue, etc.

Standard #2 = An Opportunity Worth Pursuing

This second standard is set in place to make sure you figure out if your business can fulfill the financial standards you’ve created. “If it’s reasonable to assume that it can, the business is worth pursuing” if not, then forget itno matter how exciting it might be. He literally says to walk away from it if not, or “it will consume too much of your previous time and prevent you from finding a true Opportunity Worth Pursuing.”

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself this: “Does the business I have in mind alleviate a frustration experienced by a large enough group of consumers to make it worth my while?”

Standards #3 through 10 (or more)

Everyone is going to have other standards to take into consideration based on what kind of business you have and what your Primary Aim is. Some examples Michael Gerber gave were:

This list is just the start of some other ideas, but there are plenty of others. I found this exercise of figuring out my Primary Aim and Strategic Objective really important and eye-opening. I plan to keep a copy of it handy for whenever I lose focus of what I’m working towards. You can find more information about this in The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber.

Are you ready to build your own primary aim and strategic objective? I put together a template you can use to complete this exercise for your own business.

Download this FREE Template so you can follow along and build your own Strategic Objective & Primary Aim

Chenell Tull helps course creators with paid traffic campaigns. She quit her day job in June of 2017 and has been learning the wild world of entrepreneurship ever since. She's sharing what she's learned while building her own business from side hustle to full-time, and the software and marketing tools she can't live without.