A respected business owner recently shared her disappointment about the results of 2017. She had made more money than in any previous year, but was disappointed because she hadn’t developed the part of her business that was important to her personally. She shared, “I really wanted to see that division grow, but my plans got lost in the midst of running the business and listening to everyone else’s needs. This year I need to focus on what is important to me, but I’m not sure how.”
Two weeks into 2018, you probably have some new goals set for your own business or career. Maybe you want a promotion or you want to achieve a certain financial outcome for your business. It is always exciting to think about what you can accomplish with an entire year ahead of you.
But often it is easier to set a goal than to create the plan to achieve that goal. Sales Reps visit you pushing their promotions. Valuable employees leave or change roles. A manager’s requests take precedence over your objectives. Day to day life gets hectic and all of the sudden, you are simply surviving and your goals have taken a back seat to everyone else’s agenda. So how do you keep your goals fresh and relevant so you can finish 2018 with a list of what you have accomplished? It really is simple: Focus on the gaps.
We’ve all heard of making your goals “SMART” – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound. That is a great guide for creating reasonably thought-out goals and objectives. But once you have your goals identified, the hard work starts – achieving those goals. So here are a couple of tips for making goal achievement more manageable.
- Prioritize your goals – You can’t do everything at once, so if you have several goals, decide the order of importance. Then focus on the most critical goals first. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed and will help you gain the satisfaction of checking goals off of your list as the year progresses.
- Identify Resources to Achieve that Goal – Once you have set your goals, identify what you already have to achieve those goals. If you are looking to grow the number of customers purchasing a product, see if your database shows which existing customers are already interested in that product. For a sales person looking for new customers, know which existing customers will refer others to you. Assessing the existing resources that you already have to help you achieve your goal is like checking your kitchen before you go shopping – only buy the things you don’t have for the recipe you want to make!
- Focus on the Gaps – This one phrase will help you keep your goals in focus all year. If you know your goal and know what resources you already have to achieve your goal, then whatever else you need or what you don’t have is your “GAP”. And all of your efforts should be put into filling those gaps so that you have everything you need to achieve your goals. Ask employees to fill the gaps with their time or their knowledge. Ask sales people to fill those gaps with their products or their promotions. Ask customers to fill those gaps by trying new products or procedures. Filling the gaps is what will help you achieve your goals.
What does this look like?
When a sales representative visits, they probably want you to buy something to help them achieve their sales goal. Instead of listening to what they want to sell, streamline the meeting by reviewing your goals, sharing what you already have to achieve your goals and then focus on how that rep’s product can help fill the gaps you have so you can achieve your goal. It might sound like this: “I’d like to start our meeting by reviewing the goals for my business. This year, I’d like to grow my injectable business by 20%. (The Goal) I have hired a second injector who is highly skilled (Resource you have), so now I want to bring more patients into my business to see this new injector.(The Gap) How can your product help me acquire more new patients? The sales representative should now be focused on helping you achieve your goals with their product, an efficient plan for both of you.
So in 2018, don’t just set goals but focus your awareness on the gaps that are preventing you from achieving your goals. That will help you find the resources to check those goals off the list one by one.