• Set SMART Goals, Grow your Business

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    You probably already know that without setting goals, you will accomplish far less than you would with them. We all need a clear destination to move toward. We all need an objective, a concentrated point, a flag in the sand…in order to stay focused on what we wish to accomplish.

    It’s also important to remember that the setting of your goals is just as important as the steps made toward achieving them. Not just any old goal will do. Learning how to set SMART goals is going to be necessary for the success of your business growth strategy. In fact, poor goal setting leading to wishy washy outcomes is yet another reason that business strategies fail.

    What is a SMART goal, anyway? If you don’t know, you’re definitely not alone. Goal setting is not taught in school (although it is, in my opinion, a fundamental life skill as important as reading and writing). Learning how to set SMART goals will help stretch and challenge you to grow personally, encourage you to develop new skills, inspire you to be more productive in getting things done…and move what’s important to you from being just a dream to being tangible reality.

    SMART stands for:

    Specific

    Measurable

    Attainable

    Relevant

    Time-Bound

    • Specific: Every goal should contain precise details about what is to be accomplished. There should be no grey area; no wondering if progress is actually being made or if the goal has been achieved. “Increase sales” is not a specific goal. “Increase sales by 10%” is a specific goal.
    • Measureable: An agreed-upon measurement of success needs to be decided, in order to know when the goal has been achieved.  A system must be in place to measure progress—so that everyone involved knows, for certain, how far the team is from reaching the goal. Be prepared to show, in real numbers, that your sales goal (for example) has been realised.
    • Attainable: Every goal should be reachable—but never within your comfort zone. Always sets goals that are outside that comfort zone, so that you will need to stretch and develop yourself whilst working toward achieving it. Your goals should not read as a to-do list. Every one of them should motivate, excite and scare
    • Relevant: All goals should align with your corporate [and personal] values. Any goal that conflicts with your value system will be difficult to achieve (And why would you want it anyway?). Your goals should complement the holistic view of your life. Never sacrifice the reaching of one [SMART] goal for another. Never strive for a goal that will not make a positive difference in your work or your life. To sum it up, ensure that all goals you set fit well into, and advance, what you’ve already achieved and what you’re passionate about.
    • Time-Bound: Every SMART goal needs a target date for realisation. This helps to create focus and urgency to getting it done.  It’s not a deadline (that sounds so terminal), but rather a lifeline—a time when you will feel more alive because you’ve achieved something that will improve your life. Set a time limit that is not impossible, but that will challenge you. Avoiding this step means that you may never achieve your goal, because you will always have the freedom of mind to put it off until tomorrow, next week or next year.

    And to take it two steps further, every goal should be a SMARTIE goal, meaning that every SMART goal should also:

    • Inspire: Your goals should be the blue print for how you want your life or business to be in the future.  If your goals don’t inspire you each day to want to achieve them, then get some new SMART goals!
    • Empower: Reaching your SMART goal should leave you feeling great and with a sense that your life or business is better in some way for having achieved it.

    Start by writing down your SMART goals. Confirm that they are SMARTIE goals, too. This will set a clear intention in your mind and will put your subconscious to work achieving them. Everything is always created twice—first in your head and then in reality. As you clarify your thoughts with writing, your hand is creating the words, your eyes are seeing those words and each goal becomes more real.

    Always remember that your goals must be compelling. Each one should be a stretch and take you out of your comfort zone; therefore if a goal is not inspiring, motivational, mentally challenging or emotionally energizing, you are likely to give up before you achieve it.

    If you have set New Year’s Resolutions in the past, but have rarely realised them, then this can be one of the reasons (i.e. they are “shoulds” and “ought-tos,” rather than SMART goals that inspire and empower you).

    Are you ready to set your own SMARTIE goals? Are you excited about what you can achieve when those goals are broken down to the objectives and actions that will lead you to positive change and success?

    If you already have goals, are they SMART and are you clear on how to take the next step for creating a plan to achieve them?  Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation, so we can figure out, together, where you are, where you’re going and how SMART goals can help to get you there.

     

     

  • How Do You Measure Up?

    How Do You Measure Up?

    I was with a client yesterday talking about how to grow their business. Everything was going well until I asked for some more details about the sales figures and profit margins. I got a slightly sheepish look from the MD and a comment that whilst they could give me monthly and even daily overall sales figs for the business, they couldn’t break that figure down in any more detail.

    Now whilst this may seem surprising, many companies are guilty of having similar number blindness and don’t have a clear idea of the reality of what is going on in their company.  Do you for instance, have a clear idea of how your sales figures are made up? Do you have an idea of what your profit margin is on each of your products or services? Do you know which of your clients are the most profitable?

    Numbers are your friend!
    There are all kinds of reasons for not tracking and measuring these types of numbers: not knowing what data to measure, not knowing how to track the data, not knowing what to do with the data once received etc.

    However whatever the reasons, it is important to realise that the only way to effectively grow your business is to embrace numbers and treat them as your friend. Numbers tell you exactly the way that it is, they can help show what has happened and they can inform you of how things will be in the future. Some people avoid looking too closely at the numbers in their business for fear of what the numbers may reveal. However it is good to remember that although that you cannot change the past, you can use information today to change what you do to improve your performance tomorrow.

    You cannot improve what you do not measure.
    If you want to get better at something you need to know what level you are starting from. If you want to sustainably grow your business you need to know where your business is operating today.

    Tracking the right numbers can help you to keep focused on delivering your strategy for growth and allows you to stay neutral by seeing clearly what is going on without the emotion. Reviewing the numbers regularly and watching how they change provides an opportunity to learn from the actions that you are taking. What are you doing right that you can do more of? What do you need to do less of or stop doing? How can you apply what you have learnt going forward?

    So if you want to track numbers which ones should you monitor to help you to grow your business? There are so many different numbers you could look at there is a danger of being overwhelmed and not tracking any, or tracking too many numbers that aren’t giving you the information that you need.

    What numbers to track?
    There are two different types of numbers that you can track and measure:

    1) Lagging indicators – these are usually output based and tell you how things were in the past e.g. revenue, sales figures, number of customers, etc. They are usually easy to measure but hard to improve or influence.

    2) Leading indicators – these are usually input oriented and help to determine how things will be in the future. They can be harder to measure but much easier to influence and improve. e.g. number of client visits you make, telephone calls you make, emails queries answered in under 2 hours, no cases closed in 48 hours etc.

    To change the lagging indicators (the results) that you are getting in your business, you need to focus on determining and measuring your leading indicators. To determine your business leading indicators you need to identify what are the activities that you must undertake to achieve the desired outcome?
    E.g. in your business you want to grow on line sales.
    Your lagging indicator will be measuring your % of turnover or profits derived from on line sales.
    Your leading indicators could be:
    1) Number of people visiting your web site
    2) Visitor time spent on your web site
    3) Number of email addresses captured
    4) Number of emails sent to a potential customer before buying etc.

    All these leading indicators can be influenced and improved upon once they are being measured.

    Identify your Critical Drivers to improve performance
    Determining and monitoring critical drivers in a business is key to improving performance. Identifying key performance indicators (leading indicators) and measuring them will ALWAYS move you forward as it raises your awareness of where you are and what you need to focus on .

    Another way to look at KPIs is to use the analogy of flying a plane. Pilots watch dials very carefully to guarantee the success of a flight. They are always monitoring their dials, checking to see what is happening so that they can take corrective action to stay on the current course.

    What are the characteristics of KPIs or business dials?
    1) They are carefully selected measures that guarantee success
    2) They give information on what is happening now or what will happen
    3) They have pre-determined levels below which corrective action must be taken to guarantee success

    An example is a vehicle fuel gauge, which is designed to show you when to take corrective action if the level of fuel fall below a certain point.

    Identify your own KPIs or business dials
    Using and measuring KPIs or dials helps to determine if you are going to achieve your business goals, however they take patience to set up and start using. To determine the right numbers that you need to track in your business you need to do the following:

    1) Determine which KPIs/dials need to be created
    2) Determine the level each KPI/dial must reach to achieve success
    3) Create a system to monitor and measure KPIs/dials
    4) Employ the qualities of playing a game
    5) Focus on actions needed to take to get/keep dials at their levels of pre-determined success

    If you do take the time to identify the key performance indicators in your company and regularly monitor and measure them you are GUARANTEED SUCCESS!

    Dare to check how you are doing – as often as possible!

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

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