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Implementing Goals

Rhys Roberts - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Have you made some New Year’s resolutions for your business? Many businesses are quieter than usual during January, so it’s the perfect time to set some new goals. Whether you’re stretching yourself to grow or are making life easier by implementing new processes, taking a structured approach to meeting your goals increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed.

Once you’ve decided on your goals for 2015 and identified the steps it’ll take to achieve them, I recommend implementing an ongoing review process. This will help you understand what’s working so you can keep doing it or improve on it, and understand what’s not working so you can fix it. 

A simple way to approach this is to use a model called the Deming cycle to help drive ongoing improvement through a series of steps summed up as Plan, Do, Check, Act. (Note that the word “cycle” is key here, because as soon as you finish one round of activity you start the next, with the goal of creating better and better results over time).

Plan

The first step is to determine your objective and formulate a plan for reaching it, doing so in a way that allows you to measure your performance over time. 

For example, if you’re generating lots of leads but taking too long to issue quotes on them, include a solution to this in your plan (whether that’s a software solution, hiring a person to fulfil this role, or whatever). Include the expense of that in your budget, alongside a target to aim for. In the example above that might be to halve the turnaround time it takes for quotes to be issued after a lead is received.

Do

Next, follow through with the decisions you made and implement the actions in your plan by hiring the new person, implementing the new software or whatever else you decided on.

Check

Measure your results monthly or even more frequently, and take the time to analyse the data so you can determine what’s working and what’s not.

For example, if you’ve managed to reduce the time you take to issue quotes from five days to one, how has it affected your sales? (Keep in mind that this is never an exact science, and there’ll be lots of different factors all at play at the same time).  If you can quantify the additional sales you should be able to quantify the additional gross margin, and decide whether this action is generating a benefit to your business.

Act

Identify corrective actions that will improve your performance, and incorporate them into your plans for the future.

In other words, if the actions you took to speed up quoting worked, keep doing it (and try to improve it further), but if not, determine why, and consider other things you could try instead or as well. 

Sometimes you’ll discover that your plan worked, but in doing so has created a new problem. For example, your quoting process might now be so efficient that you’ve got more sales than you can comfortably handle!

That requires a new plan – perhaps another new person, this time in an operational role, or maybe an enhanced job management process. In either case this takes you back to the beginning of the cycle.

Once you’ve worked through the Plan / Do / Check / Act cycle a few times, you’ll find that although it’s simple, this methodology is very sound, and can lead to lasting beneficial change in your business efficiency and outcomes.

If you have any questions about setting up this type of review process in your business or about implementing new systems to help drive the goals you’re working towards, please get in touch with us – we’d be delighted to help.





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