Resuscitate your 2017 Business Goals – Collaborate to Motivate

As published by Chamber of Commerce WA Business Pulse Magazine – page 27.

Set achievable goals and work to your strengths – not weaknesses

2017 is already in full swing now! It seems like just yesterday we were unwinding after Christmas, breathing a deep sigh of reflection on the past year in business … what was and what could have been. New Year’s Resolution time energizes most business owners with thoughts of change and improvement.

Charged with excitement, you may have put some ideas on paper about new products, higher sales, more staff, or even scaling back weekend work or being home by dinner time on weekdays.

Whatever your ideal picture of 2017 looked like at the beginning of the year, it’s not a lack of creativity that keeps these resolutions from becoming reality. Entrepreneurs are never short of ideas or creative ways to make more money or improve the business.

So, have you nailed those goals yet? If you wrote them down in whatever form, well done! You’ve taken the vital first step.

Now imagine – you’ve signed up to do a 10 km marathon. You do all the training, you eat right, hydrate and sleep well for the whole six months of prep … and then you sleep right through the big day!

That’s what it’s like when we ignore the next two parts of the goal setting process.

To guarantee you’re going to be awake and ready when it counts, you must;

  1. Quantify your plan
  2. Sync your plan with the current business operations

A quantified plan of the current situation with adjustments of our new goals will show clearly if the numbers add up and if the timing is right. The alternative is to set a goal for achievement in June and trust that will magically happen. When June arrives, sadly, you find there is just no cash flow to support the change. Deflated and discouraged, you’re forced to postpone or even abandon the glittering, cherished goal just inches from reaching it.

Why do business owners so often find themselves stuck with that awful alternative? Because the prospect of precious hours wasted poring over boring Excel spreadsheets gets ditched in an instant when you’re itching to get back to your real work, recruiting more sales, and watching ‘real’ money roll in.

That’s your strength, your joy. It’s where all the fun is. So, if number crunching the spread sheets is just not your thing, then by all means, stick to what you’re good at!

And ask for help. A financial performance consultant who specialises in SME budgeting and cash flow forecasting – is a perfect collaborators for this type of task.

To maximise the benefits of their help, here are your essential guidelines.

  1. Arrive prepared:
    1. Have a few written notes ready about your current business – its products and services. With this information, your consultant will then be able to track the detail of your current operations from your set of accounts.
    2. Have a few written notes ready on how you would like things to change, based on your goals. For instance,
      1. Are we expecting sales to increase? By a percentage or by a dollar value? Is this overall, or only for a specific product or service line or a new product or service? When will it take place?
      2. How are we expecting it to happen? Note factors like more advertising, paid training for current staff, possible need to employ more staff. Write down your thoughts about when these might happen and the likely costs. Note how long you think you might have to keep spending money there before seeing an increase in sales. Will it be straight away, or after how many months?
    3. Once the current situation is quantified, and the proposed changes are quantified, it is easy enough to see if there will be a shortfall in profit and if the goals need to be tweaked in timing or in value.
    4. Let go of any overwhelm about how the numbers work. That’s your collaborator’s job. Since numbers are their thing, you’ll find the process working a lot more smoothly.
    5. Remember – it cannot be done alone. Your input is critical to provide insight, clarity, accuracy, and a realistic approach to how the numbers are presented.

Your outcome will be a realistic, quantified plan of what’s going to happen and when – and how you’re going to have enough money to support the process.

The key now is to just track the progress against that plan and enjoy your success in goal setting that really works!!



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