Editor's Note: This is the second article in a three-part series by Fred Haskett focused on establishing business plan that produces results and moves your business forward.
“If you don’t know where you are going ... you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra
In the previous article -- “Your Plan for 2020” -- we identified where you are at Current Reality, which is the total of all the elements, metrics, and factors, internal, and external, that are present at a given point in time. This is the starting point and first step for the whole planning process, and it sets us up for the second step -- goal setting.
Set Your Goals
These are the big goals, like how much do I want to grow my business, and how much profit do I plan to make? Each company must find its own goals based on its own needs.
To define them, ask yourself three things:
- What will your company become?
- When will it happen?
- Who will make this happen?
Next, describe each goal and answer basic questions like …
- How many employees will we need?
- Who are the customers?
- What is the scope of the service that we will provide them?
Your decision-making procedure should include asking a lot of specific questions. Be sure to write the answers down for future reference.
You’ll be dealing with two types of goals – strategic and supporting.
Strategic goals identify the intended accomplishment of a business strategy. When companies create strategic goals, they directly identify what they see as the outcome of their business efforts. These should be part of a company’s long-term vision.
For example, strategic goals may include increasing revenue; managing costs; diversifying and growing revenue streams; cross selling more services; improving client satisfaction and client retention, to name a few.
Solid supporting goals keep your day-to-day operation in line with your long-term vision. However, establishing supporting goals is the hardest part of planning because it is where you begin linking today’s actions with your vision for the future.
For example, let’s say you have 200 customers now and are doing around $1 million in business. To reach $1.5 million in 2020, you might need to add 100 more customers. How will you do that? If your plan is to get there this year, then you’ll need to:
- Begin quoting 50 new customers a month
- Generate and share more positive customer reviews
- Building a stronger brand
These are supporting goals, and each requires multiple actions to achieve them. Each of your supporting goals leads directly to meeting the bigger goal -- $1.5 million in 2020. You can have multiple layers of supporting goals, with each supporting the ones above it. For example, to generate 50 quotes a month you may need to commit resources to hire a new estimator, invest in software to increase efficiencies, and focus on a marketing campaign to generate more raw leads.
Keep Your Goals Simple and Few
Focus is a key benefit of goal setting. Pursuing too many goals at the same time can be as bad as not pursuing any at all. Keep your high-level goals few so you can focus on them. This may require hard decisions about which goals to pursue now and which to defer until later. Therefore, prioritization is important. We recommend between three to five upper-level goals, each supporting your top-level strategic goal.
Now, we’re ready to discuss an Action Plan, or the road map that will get us from here to our ultimate destination – a solid and productive annual business plan.
As Head Harvester, with the Harvest Landscape Consulting Group, Fred Haskett coaches green and white industry owners. He is also a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.