So you’ve figured out whether you want to follow the Newbie, Average or Advanced planning process. What you need to do now is ground yourself so you can start to put the actual goals on paper, and to do this I find it’s good to think of your goals in buckets. The four buckets I like to use are: Growth, Profit, Customer and Community. Obviously, you can make your buckets whatever you’d like, but for the process of brainstorming I recommend you come up with four.
The reason I have chosen these four is because I think they give you a good balance. It’s easy to be in business and always think of just the profit side of things, but that’s not really the only goal you’re going to have for your business, especially if you’re thinking strategically. Also, many of the goals you set that fit into these other buckets will lead to more money – they’ll have a direct or indirect impact on your bottom line. But we want to make sure that you’re not only looking at your bottom line because you can forget about other important things, so that’s why I break them out into separate buckets.
I think it’s important to make a customer bucket just to make sure you’re not forgetting to focus a little bit on the customer, and their experience. The customer is obviously a VERY important piece of your business, and you want to ensure that your current customers are having the best possible experience – for three reasons:
a) if they have a good experience they’re more likely to become repeat customers
b) if they have a good experience they will be more likely to tell other people (good things) about your business; and
c) if they have a good experience it may encourage them to purchase more from you.
As you can see, the customer bucket will still have an impact on your bottom line, but your focus when you’re creating goals for this bucket is around the experience of the customer.
The second action bucket I like to focus on is growth. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that growth can lead to profit or money metrics, but I specifically recommend that you think about growth in terms of where you are today and where you want to be. If you become a bigger business – in any aspect – maybe you’re hiring employees or maybe you want to expand and be in different geographic locations – I want you to think about how your business can grow, and what that growth will look like out in the market. Looking at things in terms of profit tends to be more of an internal analysis: it’s a question of how much are your expenses compared to the money you’re bringing in. That’s a very different analysis of whether you want to/can approach a new market looking at external market factors, and that’s the analysis I want you to keep in mind when you are focusing on this bucket.
The last area I suggest you makes some goals in is community. I’m a big community person, and I think it’s really important that you give back. I think it’s important to help out locally where you are, and I believe that it’s a good practice to think outside of your business. It’s a good thing to see yourself as a player or as a member of your community. This can be your local community, your neighborhood, your zip code, or it can be a part of the vegan or veg community, or the animal rights community, or the gluten-free community – you get to define what that community is, but I would recommend making this part of your plan.
You’ve got your four buckets; I really stress thinking about a goal for each one of these buckets. How many goals you make and how complex you get depends on the stream you decided you were part of last week (Newbie, Average or Advanced). If you’re just starting out, you’re going to come up with a quarterly goal, and you’re going to come up with one goal from each one of these buckets. I don’t recommend having more than six goals in one year – when you start to go over six, it can really dilute your effort and activity, even in large organizations. Try to keep it short, tight and concise.
Next week…the difference between good goals and bad goals! Stay tuned…
Growth, Profit, Customer and Community: Setting Goals for A Successful Business is part five of a series of articles that we are publishing on Setting Goals For Your Veg Business based on a Vegan Mainstream webinar, which you can watch for free here. Look for part six next week!