Setting goals to grow your business by Paul Wolbert, U.S. Lawns

Welcome to 2011! Everyone is anxious for the new year to really get started. We all have goals of growing our business this year. Are you ready to grow? Set your best goals forward.

We have all heard it before, and we will continue to hear that the best way to grow our business is to set goals for our business. How many of us have tried to set goals, then found ourselves getting caught up in the day-to-day activities and forgetting about growing our business through goal setting? Maybe, just maybe, we were too aggressive in what we were trying to accomplish. Let’s review what is important in setting goals.

It is important to have goals for the direction that you drive your business outside of purely monetary gain. By setting goals, you are defining a guideline for the future of your operation, and if you set goals effectively, you lay the framework for making those aspirations a reality.

Measuring actual performance against your goals can provide an effective barometer for the performance of any business or project against desired performance. Not only does goal setting provide an introspective into overall performance, but is also an effective management tool used in managing any business.

Setting a specific goal backed by an action plan is vital to effective goal setting in business. Saying you simply want to accomplish something is a fairly hollow statement unless there is a course of events you plan to follow-through with in order to accomplish that goal. Don’t get carried away with setting goals – a lot of goals are not good. Use a trusted advisor to hold you accountable for your goals.

This also provides a quantifiable performance measure that you will use to gauge your progress against the goal you set for yourself. By setting the performance measure as a specific date or time, you provide a concrete period in which to measure your progress. With a combination of a performance measure and an action plan, you can ensure that your business goals are more likely to be reached and results can easily be quantified.

The feasibility of goals is another issue that you will encounter as a business owner. By setting goals that are too easily attainable, you may not be pushing your business to its maximum potential, allowing for wasted potential. This is certainly not a scenario you would want to encounter. Remember, do not be conservative in setting your goals.

Conversely, by setting lofty goals, you may be fostering some unrealistic notions and setting yourself up for disappointment. While it is important to be ambitions, striking a healthy balance between ambition and feasibility is important to the effectiveness of goals that you set for your business.

The end result of goal setting is getting results, and as such it is important to put a mechanism in place to measure those results. Generally, business goals are measured by monetary gain, through new contracts brought in, possibly in manpower reductions, added service lines or similar metrics. Choosing the right metric with which to gauge your goals can be crucial to the structuring and application of your business goals. Let’s say that your goal is to grow your business, a fairly general goal. How will you measure the growth of the company? Business growth can be measured by profitability, additional sales, adding new market segments, adding new service lines or implementation of a training program to increase productivity. By focusing at your specific aims, you can ensure that the goals you set truly reflect what you hope to accomplish in your business endeavors.

By knowing the fundamentals of effective goal setting, you can be sure that the goals you set are effective in spurring the performance of your business and inspiring confidence in your employees in their drive for continuous progress.

This year, like last year, will continue to be an exciting challenge. Let’s prepare to move our business forward in 2011!

With more than 30 years of experience in franchising, sales and business operations, Paul Wolbert knows franchising like the back of his hand. He helps potential new franchisees make their decision to come into the market, and his in-depth knowledge of the green industry allows him to keep the U.S. Lawns marketing plan on target for franchisees’ growth and for all divisions of U.S. Lawn’s business to thrive in any economy. He has helped build the U.S. Lawn business to where it is today.