At the beginning of this year, I wrote about how the New Year was the perfect time to say, “Starting now, I’m going to be better than I was last year.” Well, guess what. We’re halfway through the year. How is it going so far?
Setting goals isn’t something you do just once a year and then forget about it until planning rolls around again. To ensure success, you must always look at your goals, track your progress and re-evaluate what you hope to accomplish.
If you’re falling behind your goals, perhaps you need to readjust your thinking or redouble your effort to achieve them. Or, perhaps you’re way ahead of where you planned to be at this point of the year. If that’s the case, then congratulations — but don’t rest on your success. Take it up a notch and push your goals further to achieve more than you originally planned.
No matter what happens during the second half of this year (and beyond), a solid plan can ensure you accomplish your goals.
To help you finish the year strong and get you started thinking about 2019, I solicited advice from a handful of successful contractors — Chris Hunter of Hunter Supertechs in Ardmore, Okla, Michael Rosenberg of Rosenberg Indoor Comfort in San Antonio, Jason Stom of Clear the Air Cooling & Heating in Alvin, Texas and Jeff Zuhlsdorf of Tin Man Heating & Cooling in Bowling Green, Ohio.
When do you set goals for the year?
Hunter: We have a yearly offsite planning session generally in November each year.
Rosenberg: We always sit down at the beginning of December to determine what our sales, gross margin and labor percentage goals will be for the upcoming year for each of our six departments.
Stom: We start planning in the 4th quarter of current year to set goals for upcoming year.
Zuhlsdorf: We usually set our yearly goals in November, but it’s always on my mind throughout the year. I can’t say that I review them every day, but I do try to look at our progress regularly.
How do you track your progress?
Hunter: We use a dashboard that tracks sales by each department, gross profit dollars and net profit. It also helps in determining call volume we need to hit the sales goals.
Rosenberg: We complete a monthly operational report monthly right after the financials are complete for the company. This report incudes where we ended up for each goal for the month and shows us how we compared to last year’s numbers. It shows us whether are we on track or not.
Stom: We use our financial reports and a spreadsheet to track other goals not directly tied to the financial reports.
Zuhlsdorf: We have a daily management report that tracks our progress toward our goals and we review them every month.
Do you ever change your goals based on your progress thus far?
Hunter: We’ve been growing so fast that it does require our goals to be more dynamic and not set in stone and forgotten about. Rarely would we adjust down, only up!
Rosenberg: We do not change our goals in the middle of the year even if we are falling short or if we have surpassed them. If we are slacking on something, we create additional training or motivation to try to increase focus on that item.
Stom: Absolutely. We will change our goals if we hit unforeseen issues that cause us to recalibrate or alter.
Zuhlsdorf: We have reset our goals if we’re ahead, but if we’re trailing behind I’m often optimistic we’ll bounce back based off the progress we’re tracking.
What is your focus for the remainder of 2018?
Hunter: Executing the plan. Continuing to keep customers comfortable, save them money, do it better than anyone else and honor God with our heart for the work.
Rosenberg: We want to make sure we are maintaining our margin goals for each department in the upcoming months. We also want to focus on making sure we maximize every sales opportunity as we progress into the hot busy season in our market.
Stom: Becoming extremely efficient in delivering our services, as well as customer experience and gaining more service agreements.
Zuhlsdorf: We’re focusing on ensuring our schedules are maximized. Activity makes productivity.