Setting and Achieving Business Goals
Was 2012 a great year and you want to build on that success for 2013? Or was 2012 challenging and you are determined to make 2013 a better year? Focusing on your goals in the beginning of the year with clarity and a plan of action can help you move along on the path to greater success!
Set Specific Goals:
What is it you want to achieve? Do you want more clients? Bigger clients? Greater foot traffic through your retail store? More personal time or quality time with your family?
Be very clear and specific about your goals and write them down. You can start with a really big picture if that works for you. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Or in 10 years? By thinking really big picture it can establish a better base for you to build in the next year.
For example, if your business is doing $1 million in revenue in a year and you want to build it to $5 million in 5 years, as the business builds you will need smaller growth targets to achieve the same revenue increase each year. But year one will be a big build year so you may reach for 100% growth or 50% growth. Knowing this target is critical as it will help set you on the right path to achieve that growth. How would you know you need 5 new clients per month or 20 if you did not plan it out?
Once you are clear on your target, break it down to monthly goals. Monthly goals are easier to achieve and you can make changes as necessary to stay on track. You also need to know why you want to achieve a certain level of success. If you had an additional $250,000 of sales, what would that allow you to do? Bring in a new product line? Bring in more staff to free up your time? Add a sales person to help achieve your bigger picture targets?
Spell it out and make it ambitious yet achievable.
Take a look back:
One of the best ways to go forward is to look back at your best clients, your best sales months or years and track how you got there or acquired those types of clients. In the investment business, we build relationships so while it is easy to say “all our business comes from referrals” there is more to the story. Are they referrals from your current clients? Do new clients tend to spread the word more
effusively than clients who have been with you longer? Do you get referrals
from other professionals who work with the same target clientele?
You can create a very simple excel spreadsheet to track your very best clients and find out where they came from and what activities brought you closer to finding new clients who are similar to your best clients. Then your goal becomes clearer as you set about to replicate those activities or functions or establish more
relationships which led to better and bigger clients.
That will build the base of activities you can concentrate on this year to boost revenue.
Mix it Up:
It is very easy to do the things we like to do, are comfortable doing or must be done. But to really hit new growth targets, you need to fit in new activities or more of the activities which can reach out to a broader audience. If you are a service
business, certainly you need to spend time nurturing your current clients.
However, if you are going to grow, you will need new and possibly bigger
clients, you need to try different things or replicate more of the strategies
which worked in previous years to bring in new business.
There are many ways to get out and meet new people from Chamber meetings to business networking groups, not for profit events and volunteer work. All too often we are busy working in our business rather than “on” our business. Managing staff, addressing client needs, executing deliverables, operational aspects of the business, dealing with vendors, research on our product or service and more takes time every day. It can be very hard to carve out time to do something new.
Life is a contact sport so carve out time to meet new people.
Track the results:
When I was very young in my practice, I hired a sales coach who cost me a bundle each month but was well worth the time and money. One day I bemoaning the fact to that I had been attending countless women’s networking events yet none of these activities was leading to new clients to my coach. So she sat down with me and we brainstormed about what I was doing wrong and what else I could do to effectively bring in new potential clients.
We decided I needed to open 10 new clients per month to hit my growth targets. To back in to this number we had to assume a cancellation rate as we will invariably have prospective clients reschedule. We also had to make assumptions on closing ratios for new clients.
We assumed I would have a 60% close ratio (the reality was my close ratio was closer to 85% but we wanted to build in a margin for error). That meant I need to meet with 16 prospective clients per month to achieve 10 new clients per month. We assumed that we would have a 20% cancellation ratio so I needed to set 20
appointments per month (1 per business day if you work 5 days a week) to see 16 people and close 10.
My coach and I strategized about what types of activities would bring me in
contact with folks who may need my services. We created a master list of events
and functions and decided to try a number of different venues to see what
Once again, my handy excel spreadsheet came in to play as we tracked the
events, time of day, cost of the event, how many people I met and what kinds of
folks attended and ultimately, how many people I needed to come in to contact
with before I achieved the number of meetings I wanted to hold. Of course,
nowadays you can easily implement most of this on a variety of web-based
programs or CRM systems.
Tracking activities will easily let you measure what suceeds!
Color Code Your Schedule:
In our consulting practice, we have helped many business owners try new strategies to develop ways to bring in new clients. What has worked is a remarkably simple but effective tool whether you are a type “A” super charged go getter or a creative, introspective mellow personality.
Assign colors to various activities. For instance, volunteer work could be yellow. First time
meeting with clients could be a hot pink. Second meetings with clients which
may be closing new business are green (bring in the money!) and operational
activities/managing the business may be blue.
You can do this on a contact management database system, a day planner’s calendar, on a wall calendar, erasable board or in an excel spreadsheet. The colors are easy to see at a glance what is taking up the majority of your time. If your focus is to grow the business but there is a sea of “blue” (or operational or management of the business) this is a problem. You may need to make it a more immediate goal to hire someone to help you with this aspect of the business as you cannot grow the business while you are managing the business.
This method is an easy way to help to get you out of the office if the business takes over on you. It is a great way to involve your team and keep them focused on success. This is an effective tool to help keep your life in balance too. It is easy to get caught up in not for profit committee work and other activities that are not always completely productive rather than putting ourselves out there to meet possible new clients whether it is a trade show, a networking event or a client
The combination of the color coding and tracking of various activities will quickly lead you to decide what venues produce the best results for you and help you keep working on the business and not simply in the business.
Set those goals and go!