Goal-setting is crucial to the success of any business, but is particularly important for entrepreneurs who can become distracted without focus. Goals direct actions, give you something to aim for, and can serve as a yardstick for measuring your business' success.
Have Short-Term And Long-Term Goals
You might want to set weekly goals, quarterly goals, annual goals, and even 3-year or 5-year goals. One way to generate short-term goals is to first consider your long-term goals. Is there a certain dollar amount you want to earn or a number of clients you need to sign up by a certain time? If nothing like that comes to mind immediately, take a few minutes and think about what professional goal you would like to attain. Once you have determined long-term goals, you can work backward. If your goal is to make $100,000 this year, you should make a list of what it would entail to make that money. If you encounter difficulty creating your list, ask peers or friends for help. When your list is complete, break those small steps down into goals.
Make Your Goals Specific And Measurable With A Deadline
"Increase my sales" is a good goal, but it's so vague that it does not provide a means by which you can judge your success. Modify your goals by making them specific. All goals should be specific (Get new clients), measurable (Get three new clients), and have a time frame (Get three new clients by November).
Don't Set Yourself Up For Failure
Make sure your goals are attainable. If you aim too high, you're dooming yourself to defeat.
Don't Be Lazy
On the other hand, some entrepreneurs set goals that are too easily attained. If you tend in this direction, look for ways to challenge yourself. If you usually aim to add one new client every quarter, push yourself to shoot for two or three.
Goals should help you attain a specific aim. Look out for goals that are just going to keep you busy, but are not appropriate to the overall success of your business. If you don't believe your goals are worthwhile, you won't make the necessary effort to achieve them.
Be Patient And Persistent
It your system of setting goals does not seem to be working because you are not attaining much of what you write down, do not give up. Keep setting goals for several months and you will find that your goal setting skills improve.
Review Your Goals Constantly
Keep your weekly or other short-term goals in plain view -- by your desk, or next to your computer, for example -- so you know what you need to attain. Look at your annual goals monthly to see if you're on track. If your business' focus changes, don't be afraid to alter your goals. Flexibility is a crucial component of goal-setting.
Most companies don’t use budgets to help them meet profit goals. Why? Because most owners and chief executive officers reason that the effort required to learn how to build and use workable budgets is just too much. Owners and CEOs need to begin controlling the bottom line with some of the same tools they use to control the top line, and budgeting is the first step. Consider these tips to help you become a better budgeter.
For a brick-and-mortar shopper, one of the keys to a successful holiday season is a well-prepared sales staff. Here’s how to get your team ready this year.
Be prepared for super-knowledgeable customers. Last year, some two-thirds (65 percent) of holiday shoppers planned to “webroom” — that is, go online to browse products, compare prices and research before heading out to a physical store.
That means your employees need to be super-educated. Consumers today expect sales associates to be knowledgeable about products and services, how they work and how they compare to your competition’s. Make sure your employees are familiar with your return policies, guarantees, pricing and more.
Create a true in-store experience. When customers step out from behind their computers or tablets and actually head into a store, they want an experience, not just a transaction.
Try imagining what your store would look like if Disney were operating it. Can you hire or train employees with that level of dedication? How can sight, sound and visuals contribute to a magical experience?
Give your employees the tools they need to succeed. Your customers walk into your store, smartphones in hand, eager to compare prices or look up product details. Make it simple for your sales staff to do the same by providing them with smartphones or tablets, ring up sales (using apps such as Square) or place orders. Now’s the time to plan your mobile attack, update your POS system and get your team trained on it.
Plan seasonal hires in advance. Good workers get snapped up quickly, so get your hiring lined up now. You’ll also need time to train seasonal workers and get them up to speed on your products, services, policies and technology, so plan ahead for that now, too.
Get mobile with training. Thanks to tablets and smartphones, you can train during downtime on the sales floor instead of taking salespeople off the floor to get trained in a back room or at the sales counter.
Walk employees through point-of-sale procedures, show them videos or compare products online using tablets, and you can teach your staff while still staffing the sales floor.
Money talks! Bonuses or commissions can motivate employees during the busy selling season. However, be sure to combine individual-based rewards such as commissions with group rewards to encourage teamwork.
For example, hold contests between morning, evening, weekend and weekday teams or teams on different days of the week to get employees pulling together.
Involve employees in decision-making. Letting employees help brainstorm merchandising, marketing or sales ideas can help them feel a part of your business, and that’s especially important to part-time or seasonal workers.
When employees feel invested in what you’re doing, they’re more likely to work harder and be happier doing it.
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