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How to Achieve Your 2007 Goals

Originally published: 01.01.07 by Ruth King


Break down large goals and report on progress.

One of my favorite quotes is from Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. He says, “Reality is seeing things the way they are, rather than the way that you want them to be.”

This quote easily can be applied to your business or, in fact, any business. If you created a business plan for 2007, you know what reality was with respect to 2006. Did you do what you set out to do? Was it a good year or a bad year? What was the reality?

In November’s column, "Business Planning Made Easy" , I suggested that you have your employees help you to determine the company goals for 2007. You took their suggestions, and everyone determined where the company was going this year. You felt good as 2006 ended.

If you are like most of us, you start 2007 with great expectations. Now you must ensure that those great goals and intentions stick.

Implementing the changes you must make to meet your 2007 goals can be like coming back from a seminar or trade show. You’ve gathered many great ideas. You’re full of enthusiasm. You begin to implement changes. Meanwhile, your employees “roll their eyes”


because they know that these changes won’t last long. They just have to endure the change for a little while, and soon things will be back to “normal.” Changing habits takes persistence and time. The “experts” say that it takes 21 days to change a habit. Personally, I think it can take months. Not ever having run before, I started running at the age of 44. It took me almost six months to really enjoy running. The first few months were torture, and I forced myself to make the time to run. As the months went by, I found that I was forcing myself less and enjoying it more. Then, one day I actually looked forward to running! Now, six years later, I get antsy (and grouchy, according to my husband) if I don’t run.

It’s the same thing with achieving your 2007 goals. Implementing the changes needed to reach them can be torture in the beginning. As you start to see results, you’ll “force the changes” less. After you see still more results, you’ll begin enjoying the changes more. The tough part is sticking with it until it truly becomes a habit.

To make the changes easier, break down your major goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities. For example, assume that one of your goals is to increase sales by $100,000 in 2007. If you divide that number by 12, you have $8,333 per month. But that isn’t realistic for our industry because we are in a seasonal business. There are busy months, and there are slow months. Determine the percentage of sales you can expect each month. There will be months that you do 5% of your yearly business and months that may account for as much as 15% of your yearly business. You’ll have to generate an additional $5,000 in the months that represent 5% of your yearly business and $15,000 in the months that represent 15% of your yearly business to generate an additional $100,000 in 2007.

Once you know the additional monthly totals, divide them into weekly and daily totals. Assuming 22 working days per month, the $5,000 month requires an additional $227.27 per day; the $15,000 month, an additional $681.82 per day. Your immediate thought is, “That’s easy to do.” I agree. But, it is also easy not to do. What habits are you going to change to ensure that you get that additional $227.27 per day in the slow months?

Your employees can help. They can be the inspiration you need in the days that you “don’t feel like doing” what you know you have to do. Because they helped set the goals, they have a stake in ensuring that they are accomplished. They want the rewards for working hard and achieving what everyone agreed to do.

Post a chart listing the daily, weekly, monthly, and year-end goals on the wall where everyone can see them. Track the results each day by writing them on the chart. This is your report card. Did you meet your goal or not?

If your report card is good, it’s likely that no one will mention the results. However, nobody likes a bad report card. If you are not on track, someone is going to say something. You, as the owner, should solicit the help before someone notices that you aren’t on track to achieve a particular goal. Implement the suggestions your employees give. They have a stake in the results, too.

Also, by posting the goals and tracking the progress where everyone in the company can see them, you’ll find that you will make the changes that you need to make simply because you have to report to your employees regularly.

Remember, implementing your 2007 goals is simple to do, but it’s not easy to do. The choice is yours.

Ruth King has over 25 years of experience in the hvacr industry and has worked with contractors, distributors, and manufacturers to help grow their companies and become more profitable. She is president of HVAC Channel TV and holds a Class II (unrestricted) contractors license in Georgia. Ruth has written two books: The Ugly Truth About Small Business and The Ugly Truth About Managing People. Contact Ruth at ruthking@hvacchannel.tv or 770.729.0258.

 


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