I have a question for you… How do you eat an elephant? Common wisdom says one bite at a time. But it makes me think, why would you want to eat an elephant? They’re big and believe it or not, they’re hairy, and that’s a lot of eating. But that would be something we know as a BHAG, or big, hairy, audacious goal.

Now, elephants are hairy and they are audacious, but I doubt it’s our goal to eat them. But our goals are something called a BHAG. Today, I want to talk about how to achieve your BHAG. To do so, you need to SHAG to become a BFD. So let me define these three terms.

BHAG is a big, hairy audacious goal. Now, we can have big goals, but a big, hairy, audacious one takes a lot of work, like eating an elephant.

What do I mean by SHAG? Well, those are small, hairy, audacious goals. In order to achieve the big ones, you have to break them into a lot of smaller ones. Just like if you were trying to eat an elephant one bite at a time.

BFD stands for the big frickin’ deal. You can insert any F word you want in there, but I’m trying to keep this PG 13.

I have been running B2b Interactive Marketing since 2001 and now teach LinkedIn to sales teams to help them expand sales. Both of those take up a lot of time on top of Google consulting, website maintenance, and more. Something had to give to allow me to take my business to the next level without killing myself (or dying like I almost did last year).

BHAG – Scale Your Business

Back in 2020, I embarked on a BHAG. I embarked on an idea to scale my business. I thought it would be simple, but then I was forced into a BHAG. In 2020, right before the collapse of everything through the pandemic, I had three contractors working for me doing different pieces of what I do. During the course of that time, of course, business died in March and then started scaling back up.

Since that point, I went from having three contractors to 15, five times the people to manage. And what I realized was, “Hey, if I take on more clients, I have to take on more contractors, too,” and that’s exactly where we ended up today.


My BHAG was this, I wanted to scale my business. And what I mean by scale is prepare myself for growth spurts and not get caught off guard trying to scramble to get things done. So my BHAG was to scale my business. My SHAGs, were small, hairy audacious goals, where I had to learn how to manage multiple projects for multiple clients at the same time.

I needed to simplify the way I was communicating with everybody because there were certain people I would text, certain people I would email, certain people I would call, and some I had to get on Zoom with. It became this constant barrage of communications.

The other thing I really needed was somebody that was going to help me basically draw each one of the bites on the elephant I needed to take. So I needed to hire a project manager, and this project manager had to help me set up a system so I could achieve my goal of scaling.

Manage Projects

I found somebody who could help me set up a system in Asana, which is a project management software. That opened up a whole bunch of other pieces that I had to do. I wanted to systematize my process, and this is where it all begins.

The first thing I had to do was define each one of the processes that I needed to organize so that I could repeat them. And as I brought additional people on, I could get them through an onboarding process so they knew what was expected of them. I didn’t have to sit on Zoom meetings explaining all this over and over and over.

In just one of the parts of things that I do for my customers, we create materials that are then shared on the internet and distributed through social media and also through email.

It usually starts out with an eBook. That eBook has to be outlined, written, and designed. Then that eBook has to be put on pages so that it can be downloaded. And then when somebody downloads it, we add them to an email list and we add them to an email drip. There’s a lot that goes into this.

SHAG Me Baby!

What I had to define were, what were the parts of the project where one person did one part and then that singular piece of the project would have to be outlined step-by-step.

In the case of the SHAG for this, I had to pick a project, then I created training videos on what to expect and I created step-by-step processes of how to complete the task. And then I turned that into a simple checklist so somebody could mentally get their arms around the entire process. This was a BFD.

And as I went through this process, I had to update the documents based on what I missed or where there were miscommunications. There was a lot to look at. Let me break that down on one piece of one project; turning an eBook into a final product.

Step It Up

The steps go like this, the goal or the BHAG of this particular thing is to write an eBook. But the first part of it is pre-writing activities that could include a Zoom meeting, reading notes, or doing research on a client’s website.

The next piece of it is to write the outline. That outline says what the book is going to be about. What are the chapters? What are the outstanding points that we want to get across? And what is the purpose behind it?

The next phase after that is approved is to actually write the eBook text. Now, that may sound like a lot to do, but it’s only one step in a multi-step process to complete the entire project.

Once that is completed, then it can be handed off to the next person who designs the eBook. And then after that, there’s somebody who actually posts that eBook and creates the pages and forms that go along with it. Then we have to write emails and do social posts around. And finally, there’s an email drip campaign that goes on top of it.

I’m sure you can see how all of this complexity pulls together and forces you to look at things from a micro level. You must make sure that you have every step in order. Then, you can do it the same way every single time.

I’m Lovin’ It

History reminds us of one company that did a really good job at this, McDonald’s. Ray Kroc took a simple hamburger stand and systematized it. Now, you can go into any location in the world and get the exact same quality of food, whether you like it or not.

That’s what a BHAG broke down into SHAGs does. Now, personally, I think that McDonald’s is a BFD.

Final Thoughts

My original BHAG was not to become a BFD. But what I did learn through the process is I needed somebody to help me visualize and execute my ability to do my SHAGs. I needed to find and hire somebody who was better than me at creating projects and project management. The next thing I had to do was start building the blocks. Then I needed to test it on one person and one process while realizing that multiple clients have different needs in each one of those.

So how do you eat an elephant? One SHAG at a time. And if you finish, you’re a BFD. (P.S. No elephants or other animals were harmed during the creation of this blog).

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about breaking a BHAD into SHAGs. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?