Although I advise many different types of businesses, there are several issues which my business advice clients experience time and time again, and I’m going to share these with you so you can apply them in your business.
Sometimes I’ll find myself saying this one several times in one day to different people.
“You might find it helpful to set some targets for your business.”
Now of course this sounds completely obvious (like many things I find myself repeating) but it surprises me how many businesses have only the vaguest targets.
Without a set of targets, you’ve no idea whether you’re doing well or not.
If you haven’t aimed for something, you don’t know if you’ve hit the right thing. Imagine a darts player just throwing the darts at the wall of the pub, with no dartboard. You’d imagine that he’s a madman, just throwing darts randomly – surely that’s dangerous?
There’s something strange about the act of setting targets for your business. When you set a target, as long as it’s realistic, you’re pretty likely to achieve it. Some people who have discovered this effect have thought that there’s something magical about it, something caused by the power of thought. But there’s nothing magical about it –
You’re more likely to achieve an explicit target if it looks like you’re not going to reach the target, you’ll do something about it.
If you’re selling shoes and you’ve been told that each day you need to sell £500 worth of shoes, and by 2 o’clock in the afternoon you’ve only put £65 through the till, you’ll know that you’d better be nice to the customers and sell some shoes. You’d pay attention. But if you think of your job as just standing around and making sure that no one steals the Jimmy Choos, it will be a different story.
Setting targets focuses your attention on what you need to do.
If you know that you need to do more networking, set yourself a target for how many networking meetings you’re going to go to each month, and how many catch up coffees you’re going to have with people who might send business your way. If you know that you need to get more clients of a particular kind, make that your target. If you have something which consistently gets pushed out of the way because other things are more important, then make sure it’s on your target list.
I’ll write another, more technical, article soon about how you set targets, and how to monitor them, but get thinking about what targets your business needs to set and reach.