Want to Make Large Business Gains? Achieve a Series of Small Goals

Meeting a series of small goals in short periods of time adds up to big gains. These goals can be for revenue, for profit (not the same thing), for creation of new offerings.

You need these three components to reach your series of small goals:

  1. Very specific goals with clear boundaries
  2. Goals based on existing elements in your company
  3. Complete commitment from the owner or executive

Very specific goals with clear boundaries

The first aspect of specificity is a short timeline. You will achieve the goal between certain dates. Specificity also includes a quantitative measure, perhaps dollars, percentage change, or numbers of actions taken. The boundaries are what’s included and excluded within the goal. If your goal is to increase sales of X offering by Z percent within 60 days, you cannot count sales from other offerings, or sales that occur outside of the time frame. You can’t count actions unrelated to this specific goal.

Goals derived from current resources

The most overlooked sources of new revenue, or better customer service, or more profit, are your current offerings, your current buyers and your current employees. Each of these areas provides opportunities for a series of successes, if only you pay close attention to them!

A short term revenue and/or profit goal must be based on your current offerings. Set a goal to increase repeat purchases from current buyers; or reduce the sales cycle speed with current buyers; or reduce expenses associated with your current offerings. Use the past 6-12 months as the baseline, and measure the improvements for 90-180 days following your efforts.

If your goal is to improve customer service, start with your current employees and how they provide service to your current customers. If you can increase customer satisfaction by 20% in 60 days, you’ve done a lot. Build from there.

Complete commitment from owner or executive

These short term, intensive efforts require complete support from leadership. Support includes:

  • Making sure employees have enough time to work on the short term goals (no extra tasks or obligations)
  • Emotional support: “Yes, I know this is challenging and I greatly appreciate your efforts.”
  • Public acknowledgement of the effort: “Department A is working on this goal. If you need something from Department A be sure to give them enough time to provide it, and understand that their work on the goal comes first.”
  • Avoid extra meetings or other demands; don’t distract them with information that’s not relevant to this goal.

Protect their focus.

Mindset shift: Do what’s right, not what you’re used to doing

Meeting a series of short term goals requires a mindset shift across the company or organization. Often behavior that wastes time and energy is part of the culture. “We always do it this way” is a huge indicator that minds need shifting.

Nothing you do because you’ve always done it is acceptable when you’re focusing on achieving a series of short term goals. Only do what is the right thing to do for that specific goal.

Formula for Success: 3X3X3

I advise my owner/executive clients to adopt the 3X3X3 approach to achieve a goal in 60 days.

Focus on the immediate goal:

3 hours, 3 times per week, for 3 weeks = short term goal achieved in 60 days

This means that the right people spend three hours at a time, three days per week, for three weeks, focusing exclusively on everything needed to achieve the short term goal.

Before you scream “3 hours, three times per week!” let me remind you that this is a total of 9 hours per week. There are 31 other hours in the week to do their ‘regular’ work.

Here’s how to get started:

During the first 3 hours have this conversation:

  • What does success look like? The answer is the quantitative goal you set.
  • What would have to be true to reach the goal? Make a list of action steps. Example: if your goal is to increase repeat purchases by 10% within 60 days, what would have to be true is that you have a list of the buyers most likely to buy again now.
  • What do we have to do to make these true? For the same example: we would have to comb through our records to identify the buyers most likely to buy again in 60 days. We would have to contact them in some way to ask them to buy again. We would have to keep in touch with them until they buy or clearly decline.

Assign these tasks to specific people and specify a timeline such as two days.

For the remaining 3X3X3 period your team would work on these tasks. Mid-way through you would measure their actions and provide any support they need to keep going.

At the end of the 3X3X3 for this goal, you measure the results, debrief what worked and what else you can do and make a new plan to keep it up.

If you increase repeat purchasing by 10% each time, you’ve added 30% more revenue from current buyers after 6 months. That’s a impressive accomplishment for a sequence of short term goals.

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