Planning is a critical part of your success as a business owner and whether those plans are operational in nature or have to do with increasing sales or marketing your practice, the key to your success is tied to your ability to execute the plans you make.
Follow these steps to ensure success:
- Set goals: Goals should be put into writing and follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula, meaning they should be:
- SPECIFIC: Don’t set goals that are too broadly written. Smaller goals are easier to achieve and, when combined, will have the results desired. Write the goal in language that is detailed. The end result should be clearly stated. Do not use vague language. Example of a Non-Specific Goal: Increase annual sales. Example of a Specific Goal: Increase monthly sales by 25% for 12 consecutive months.
- MEASURABLE: Goals should be quantifiable and qualitative. Example of a Non-Measurable Goal: Review each staff member’s progress toward reaching their individual goal every month. Example of a Measurable Goal: One-on-one reviews of each staff member’s progress toward reaching individual monthly goals will take place on the second Friday of every month. A review of monthly goal results will take place on the first Friday following the end of the previous month. Percentage of goal reached and rankings compared to other employees will be reviewed. Reviews will be documented and kept in the employee’s personnel file.
- ACTION-ORIENTED: Action verbs should be used to describe how to achieve the goal. Example of a Goal that is not Action-Oriented: Your conversion rate should be higher. Example of an Action-Oriented Goal: Increase your conversion rate by 10% by tracking all calls on a daily tracking log. Record every call that comes in and all calls that result in an appointment.
- REALISTIC: Unrealistic goals that are impossible to reach are de-motivational. Goals should not be easy to reach, but must be attainable. Example of an Unrealistic Goal: Sell more binaural sets of hearing aids. Example of a Realistic Goal: Over the past six months 50% or the hearing aids you have sold have been binaural. Over the next six months, increase your average binaural rate to 60%.
- TIME BOUND: Make sure all goals include a deadline. Example of a goal without a deadline: Increase your sales by 10%. Example of a Time Bound Goal: Increase your monthly sales by 10% every month for the next six months.
- Include your staff in the goal-setting process: Have a staff meeting to inform your staff of your goals then ask them for their ideas on how to achieve those goals. Brainstorm to come up with as many ideas as possible. Never make anyone feel their idea is “stupid.” Write all ideas down for review and to refine. Identify and remove any barriers to your success; i.e. additional training, current protocols, hours of operation, etc.
- Make a “to do” list and identify who is responsible for each task: Delegate every task and document who is responsible, the task to be completed, and the deadline by which the task is to be complete. Make copies of the completed “to do” list and distribute to every staff member. Post a large copy of it in the back room or employee bathroom so it serves as a clear reminder of things that need to be done.
- Hold people accountable: Make it clear that each team member must uphold his or her responsibility for completing all assigned tasks. Consequences for non-compliance must be spelled out. For example, non-compliance will result in documented verbal warnings to be placed in personnel files.
- Meet to monitor progress: Regularly scheduled follow-up meetings are necessary to ensure goals are being met. Plan the next meeting before ending the current meeting and place the date on the calendar. Make it clear that attendance at all meetings is mandatory.
- Make course corrections: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” In other words, no matter how much you plan, something can always happen to ruin those plans. That is why you must remain flexible enough to change your plans based on current business conditions. For example, if your last newspaper advertisement failed to get the expected response or did not result in needed sales, do not repeat the ad even if your marketing plan calls for you to do so!
- Communicate and celebrate achievements: Share a progress report at each meeting. Recognize every small success and give credit to all those who have contributed in that success. When a goal is met, celebrate your success with a special staff luncheon or party. Recognize individual efforts as well as team efforts.
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