BIZTIPS - October 23, 2005

Biz Tips: Want to Win? Know Your Goals
Sunday, October 23, 2005
By Art Hill

Ever hear of the team captain who, in 1929, grabbed the football and ran full speed to the wrong end of the field? He was skilled and dedicated, but "Wrong Way Riegels" made one big mistake. He picked the wrong goal.

We've all seen companies do the same thing - choosing short-term profits over long-term value, failing to measure performance, missing opportunities that fit the core purpose of the business,  worst of all, not setting any clear goals at all. These businesses are running full steam in every direction but not meeting the needs of their customers, owners, and employees.

There's nothing magic about setting business goals. The state has the Oregon Business Plan and the Governor's proposal for the Education Enterprise. Cities have urban renewal plans. Business owners have a vision of where they want to be in 5 years, and objectives they need to meet every day, week, and month to get there.

Want to set a goal of doubling sales in three years? Divide your target revenue by 36, adjust the monthly budgets to fit seasonal buying patterns, and measure your progress in weekly staff meetings. You may need to expand your customer base, your product line, or both. You may need to finance new equipment or hire new people. You can make adjustments along the way, but everything you do supports that goal of doubling sales in three years.

While it's sometimes just that easy to set a goal, it's even more important to set the right goal. Companies have doubled sales but trashed customer satisfaction, driven employees to quit, or taken unprofitable deals just to hit gross sales targets. That's why planning and goal setting deserve as much attention as any other key area of your business. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

That brings us back to Wrong Way Riegels. He didn't check with his teammates before he ran the wrong way - he made that important decision all by himself. There's a lesson in that. Goal setting is a team sport. The more people in your business you involve, the more likely you are to set the right goals. And the more likely they are to help you carry the ball.

Content © 2005 East Oregonian