How to Create Smart Business Goals

Create SMART, Achievable Goals

Does it feel like something is holding you back like you are stuck in a rut, and no matter what you do you can’t seem to crawl your way out of it? Does the path from where you are to where you want to seem too daunting even to try?

Too often, many of us spend our lives treading water, never really accomplishing anything of importance, but if we had a clear focus and worked to accomplish our desires, the likelihood of achieving our goals increase.

The problem is that we are not setting SMART goals. While it is nice to dream big, those goals are often not reachable, leaving us overwhelmed or discouraged.

What is a SMART Goal?

Attributed to Peter Drucker, SMART is an acronym to help you create an achievable, realistic goal. It stands for:
Time Bound

Developing a Specific Goal

Your goals need to be detailed so that you can grasp it and work to achieve it. To help you develop it, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is that I want to accomplish?
  2. Why is important that I accomplish it?
  3. Who should be a part of it?
  4. Where is it located?
  5. Which resources are needed?

Remember the interview question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” Thinking of your goal in this manner is a great place to start.

Making Sure You Have a Measurable Goal

A good goal with have milestones or goal posts that you can use track your progress. Doing this helps you stay motivated and less likely to give up. It is like setting a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. You can have a goal to lose twenty pounds by spring, but with something that can track your progress incrementally, one pound per week, for example, you are more likely to stick with it.

A good goal should answer:

  • How many?
  • How much?
  • How will I know when I reach the goal?

Making Sure You Have an Achievable Goal

Here you need to make sure your goal is grounded. While being CEO is a worthy challenge, is it an achievable goal? To help you refine your goal to something that you can achieve, answer these questions:

  1. How can the goal be accomplished?
  2. Is the goal realistic considering other factors such as financial means? If you need training, can you afford it? Are the necessary certifications or degrees?
  3. Can I control the factors needed to meet this goal?

Setting a Relevant Goal

Only you can make sure you accomplish your goal. That reason is why your goal needs to be relevant to you. If you don’t care about it, you are not going to reach for it. Ask yourself these questions, and see if you can say yes to them:

  1. Will it be worth it?
  2. Is the timing, right? Would something such as starting a family take precedence?
  3. Am I the best person to accomplish the goal? Does your skillset or personality match?

Setting a Time Frame for the Goal

A goal needs a target – a date when you want it to be accomplished. It allows you to prioritize your daily tasks so that they do not impede your progress in meeting your goal. To develop a good time frame, answer the following questions:

  1. When can I accomplish this can goal?
  2. What can I do a year from now?
  3. What can I do in a few months?

Putting It All Together

Hit the Mark with Smart Business GoalsIf you are in sales, a specific goal might be: Gain the experience, including certifications, and track record needed to become the sales director so that I can use my leadership skills. This goal is sensible and direct.

To make it more meaningful and measurable, you state it this way: Gain the experience, including certifications, and track recorded by exceeding company sales goals that are needed to become the sales director so that I can use my leadership skills. Now the there is a marker or goal post that can motivate the achievement: obtaining certifications and exceeding sales goals.

There is not a phrase to add to the goal to make it more achievable, but you can examine it to see if it is reasonable. The goal mentions certifications. Think about if completing that step will require taking courses. Are the courses affordable? Do they require a college degree if you don’t have one? Once you make sure that it is attainable, you can move to make sure it is relevant.

Being a sales leader means that you must love the sales process. Not everyone is made for sales. Will it be a realistic goal for you? Will you love it and put forth all your energy into it? If so, then, you should move on to giving it a time frame, but if not, consider if you really will exceed sales goals.

A time-bound goal has an end date. Make sure that it is a realistic period. In this instance, ten years would be enough time to move up the ladder to become a manager, regional manager before becoming sales director.

Now the goal looks like this: Gain the experience, including certifications, and track recorded by exceeding company sales goals that are needed to become the sales director in ten years so that I can use my leadership skills.

Think about your goals. What would a SMART goal look like for you? Would it be open up a second location or having several locations? Would it be getting an M.B.A. so that you can better lead your organization? Perhaps, it is a numerical goal such as having a million dollars in revenue for the fiscal year. Create your SMART goal and go for it!

Business Coach in Atlanta

Forming the Right Process to Grow Your Business

Key Components in a Business – Part 5

This one is probably my most favorite section. It’s what I do best; it’s what comes naturally. After all, everyone likes doing things that they are good at.

Process is all about the way you do business. If you can document clear ways on how you do business, consistently refine it, and communicate it to your team to execute, you are off to a great start.

You won’t be able to get to the next level in your business if your process is in your head and not in your people’s head. You must get it down. Winging it as you go won’t work long term.

If you lack processes now, you can probably get by, but eventually, when it comes time to replace you in the business, the business won’t be able to stay above water. If your goal is to replace yourself in the business and hire others to do the work you are doing now so you can focus on growth or other fun things, you must document your process.

Putting It All Together

I was the sole owner of a $1,500,000 business and little did I know the business lived and died based on my results. A year into the business I took a couple of weeks off. When I returned, I found unsettling news.

I had a good scorecard, but I realized our sales numbers and metrics were off. After thinking about it, I discovered that I never documented my sales process the way it needed to be documented.

As a result, I was the best salesperson we had. I knew how to build relationships with clients, give them value, explain why we were the best, and figure out a way to show them how our product will get them what they want, typical sales 101. I was also the best at handling every single customer objection as well. The problem was when I was not answering that phone; we were missing opportunities.

Once I realized that truth, I went to work. First, I recorded every single sales call that I made. Next, I wrote down every customer objection I heard. After I had that step completed, I then took those sales calls and objections to form my process. To document it, I wrote our “Sales 101 Guide.” It literally documented everything in the book regarding sales. It even included audios of me in live sales situations so when I trained other salespeople, they had real-life examples of me doing it.

Atlanta Business Coach and Integrator

Overcoming Issues Holding Your Business Back

Key Components in a Business – Part 4

Issues – we all have them, some more than most. Like people, all businesses have them too. I love how people try to rename these and call them challenges or something softer, but at the end of the day, they are what they are – issues.

They are a pain in the butt. Correcting them isn’t always fun, but you can’t sweep them under the rug. If you down identify them, discuss them, and solve them, they will linger around. These issues are why your business doesn’t grow the way it needs to grow, causing the business to act in a way that is not efficient and holding you back.

Let’s solve them.

To tackle our issues, we have weekly meetings in each of our companies. They are held the same day, same time, and have the same agenda. Working together, we use these meetings to solve our issues.

The good news is that most issues are not all that complicated. Your ability to be willing to dig in and attempt to solve these issues in your team meeting will be the extent to which you can grow.

In our day-to-day business, taking time outside of operations to solve issues doesn’t really happen. That is why you need to have weekly meetings with a significant amount of time to solve your issues each week.

If you can create an open and honest culture where people are valued, and they feel safe to share, you will be surprised at the team’s ability to tackle and solve the issues at hand.

Question to Ask: What type of environment are you creating where your people can share issues freely?
Question to Ask: Do you have some sort of consistent meeting to solve these important issues?

How this Works

I have been a partner in a restaurant franchise, and we use our scorecard to track our average ticket price of each salesperson (some call them waiters/waitress), but they are salespeople no matter what you say. We tracked all thirty employees, and each week we noticed that about a third of the salespeople’s ticket sales were lower than the rest of the staff.

Once we went through our IDS (Identify, Discuss and Solve Process), we realized that it was not their fault. The management team did not follow the onboarding process and skipped the two-hour training on how to “upsell.”

We realized that the real issue was not the average ticket sale being low. It was that our manager was not following the onboarding checklist and was not training people by the book. Instead, she was training people on what she enjoyed training on, which was customer service and operations, leaving out sales. As a result, our sales staff looked bad, and business was down.

Thankfully, our manager was open to realizing that she dropped the ball on following the process and retrained the entire staff. Within two weeks, that group had their metrics back where they needed to be.

Without our weekly meeting to discuss and solve issues, this would have resulted in actions that could have made the situation worse, not better.