Goals are the answer. No, the question is not “What do the Maple Leafs get lots of?”…I wish! The question is “What is the most important thing to have when running a small business?”
I knew goals were important coming into my first year with College Pro but I wasn’t able to really put my finger on why they were so important. I guarantee I achieved as much as I did as a College Pro franchisee because of my goals.
Since those few years of running my business with College Pro, I’ve had many goals. I hit some, such as: becoming a homeowner before I turned 30, and doing 30 yoga classes in 30 days. I missed some, such as: cutting out diet coke, and limiting bad foods. Recently I’ve started looking at this more objectively to figure out why some goals get hit and why I let others slide, and it all goes back to what I was taught in my first year at College Pro. Your goals have to be S.M.A.R.T. as well as meaningful.
S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, measurable attainable and action oriented, realistic, and time-phased. So, obviously, my goal of limiting bad foods isn’t S.M.A.R.T at all. As a rookie College Pro Franchisee my goals coming in were to make $30,000 because that would pay off my student debt, and have my painters and customers enjoy their experience. If I had kept those as my goals, I may or may not have hit them. Two thirds of those outcomes are not measurable nor action oriented. My General Manager at College Pro helped me turn those outcomes into solid goals, and helped me turn those goals into a plan. I was going to run a $125,000 business with 100% Customer Satisfaction and promote at least one painter to a franchisee. Those goals were S.M.A.R.T, and they tied back to my initial meaningful outcome perfectly.
Having goals that were so crystal clear and so meaningful allowed me make decisions. Do I stay in and make phone calls that Tuesday night to land that extra job to hit my weekly goals, or do I go out with my friends? I knew if I didn’t hit the weekly goals then I would miss on the big picture and I wouldn’t hit my outcomes.
If you’re not clear as to why you’re doing something, look back to your goals. If you don’t know what your goals are, go back to the drawing board – just remember to think S.M.A.R.T. and meaningful. If you’re lucky enough to have somebody help you sort through the slush to get to your goals, use them to help you figure them out, and don’t stop until they’re hit.