Goals Get You There

The best businesses have goals and are goal driven. And it makes sense when you think about it, right? I mean, you wouldn’t expect to win a football game if you didn’t make it your goal to score more points than your opponent, would you?

It’s the same way in business. As Yogi Berra once put it:

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

Did You Set Goals This Year?

Did you set any financial or other goals for your business for the year? If so, what were they? And have you measured lately to see if you met them?

At a minimum, I think every business can benefit from having and tracking goals for each year that include the following items:

  • New Customers
  • Staff Additions or Changes
  • Net Profit
  • Minimum Growth Rate
  • Maximum Growth Rate
  • Capital Spending Max/Min (trucks, equipment, buildings, etc.)
  • Debt Reduction + Cash Position Improvement
  • Owner Distributions (Base)
  • Owner Distributions (Profit)

Did you set goals for your business in these areas for the past year? If so, there’s no time (literally) like the present to measure whether you reached them. This is the “tracking” function of goal setting; and it’s critical that you perform this function, learn from and react to what the process tells you, and make wise decisions and improvements based upon it.

If you need help getting the process kick started for the year ahead, by all means please use our free annual goals planning tool here!

Did you meet or exceed your goals? Did you miss them? What helped you do so? What hurt or prevented you from doing so? If you missed your goals, was the goal itself more the issue (e.g. too ambitious to be reached) or more the execution being the issue?

Failure is not the function of not meeting your goals from time to time. Don’t tear yourself apart over that. The biggest failures in business, in my view, come about from not having any goals, never judging whether you’ve met them or whether they were the right ones to pursue, or again not heeding Yogi’s sage words of advice:

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

A Key Lesson Courtesy of My Son

Both of my sons have some entrepreneurial traits – particularly in their creativity and independent thought patterns. But, one of my sons has been blessed with a particularly strong sense for efficient allocation of (his) labor!

That’s a more complimentary way of saying it is regularly his goal to spend 5 or fewer minutes per day doing his daily chores and 30 or fewer minutes doing his homework. Of course, in both cases, his dream would be 100% efficiency and to spend zero minutes on both… but that’s off the point of this message!

When it comes to chores and schoolwork, what he wants is maximum output from a minimum investment of time and cost to him. Though his strivings toward this goal are not always appreciated as much by his parents or teachers… this is in all seriousness a very entrepreneurial trait… i.e. his goal is to achieve a necessary function with the highest possible degree of efficiency.

And the funny thing about his “efficient” work habits is that his way of prioritizing the use of his time and labor is not too off base from how businesses need to allocate their time and money and how they need to set financial goals.

Where small business must do things differently than your average teenage boy though is that they must do all their work with high-quality too, and their goals cannot be solely all about getting it done at world-record pace.

Business goal #1 should be to perform high-quality work that will please customers and lead to more opportunity. That is essential to keep your business in business.  Business goal #2 should be to do quality work at an investment of time and cost that is as efficient as possible. That is essential to making your business financially successful.

Key Goals to Focus Upon

To apply the valuable lessons of my son, as you look ahead to another year start making goals by considering what is necessary for your business to advance to the next “grade” level?

Even if you consider those items akin to my son doing his homework, every business should have a running to-do list that will help it get where it intends and needs to go. What are those things for you and your business to advance over the year ahead?

While you’re at it, what are your financial goals for achieving those things (including the bullet list at the beginning of this commentary) as time- and cost-efficiently as possible?

Again, remember that quality is essential to make it in small business, but efficiency is essential to succeed in business. So, focus not just on what you need to do but also on how you can get it done with high quality as efficiently as possible.

If you need help or an outsider’s perspective on doing so, we invite you to contact us here, and we’d be glad to help you out!

Evan, our resident efficiency expert and entrepreneur-in-the-making, will be proud of you for successfully implementing his plan of action!

Long live small business! Long live small business owners!

Jim Smith, Founder, PERFORMIDABLE, LLC