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Setting Measurable Goals and Tracking

The line between success and failure often comes down to something as simple as setting goals and measuring progress.

There’s a difference between saying that you want something vs. plotting out a course and tracking your progress towards getting it.

Imagine embarking on a cross-country road trip using a state-of-the-art GPS system.

To reach your desired destination efficiently, you’d set your route, rely on accurate mapping data to guide you, and consistently monitor your progress against real-time traffic updates.

Similarly, charting the course for a predictable and sustainable business—what I call a “boring business”—depends heavily on setting tangible goals and regularly tracking progress.

Here’s how to do that.

1. Plot Your Journey: Set Your Strategy and Goals

Are you going to maximize or optimize?

Sometimes, your aim might be to cover the maximum distance in the least amount of time.

This requires a strategy based in maximization—pushing boundaries for the greatest outcome.

On the other hand, there might be instances where you prioritize fuel efficiency, ensuring your vehicle remains in top condition throughout the journey. This is optimization—getting the best results from efficient use of your resources – capitalizing on the momentum you created through maximization.

Do you need traction right now? Or is your business ready for velocity?

For example, let’s consider a construction company. If they aim to hit a revenue target and finish the most projects in a year (maximization), their strategy might be to invest in sales & marketing (aka. more leads) and grow their team of people.

However, if they choose to focus on building each project with profitability in mind, with the least waste and highest quality (optimizing), their strategy may focus on implementing systems & processes and improving quality control.

With your strategy in mind, you can now set measurable goals.

2. Align Your Goals with GPS Indicators: Set Your KPIs

Just as a GPS uses real-time data to guide a driver, businesses employ specific metrics, known as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), to navigate their direction and measure success.

An HVAC service company might have a goal to complete service calls more efficiently. Their target could be to address issues within three hours of receiving a call. The KPI here is “average response time.” If they consistently hit their target of completing calls in under three hours, they’re navigating successfully!

It’s important to choose measurements that match your goals.

If our HVAC company’s goal was to increase revenue by 20%, tracking “average response time” wouldn’t be the best KPI.

Instead, more appropriate KPIs might be “number of quotes/proposals generated in the last 30 days” or “percent of proposals converted into projects month-over-month”.

These metrics would require them to regularly track sales figures and compare them month-to-month, ensuring they are on pace to achieve the desired 20% yearly growth.

3. Ensure Your GPS Isn’t Misleading: Make Sure You Have Clean Data

If you’ve ever experienced a GPS directing you to go the wrong way down a one-way street or telling you to cross a river without a bridge, you already know the value of having good and reliable data that you can trust!

A GPS with out-of-date mapping information is worse than no GPS at all because the misinformation causes you to make the wrong turns and you end up off course.

Picture a construction company that builds condominiums. If the tracking system they use to tally expenses is faulty, they might believe that their cost per unit is $675,000 to build, when the real number is closer to $850,000.

If they used this inaccurate information to set the pricing, they would drastically reduce their profitability – or possibly even start operating at a loss.

There’s an old saying in the computer industry: “Garbage in, garbage out.”

If you’re going to use your numbers to guide your business decision-making, the data you use must be clean, complete, accurate, and up-to-date.

Running a business is hard. So let’s reduce the number of unexpected detours.

By defining clear goals and continuously monitoring progress, you can anticipate and avoid detours within your control, and be better prepared for those you can’t control.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jean-Eric Plamondon

Founder and Systems Strategist at Growth Strategies.

Serial entrepreneur with direct experience launching, growing, & selling a number of businesses including scaling a scrap metal business from $0 to $5 Million in 6 months.

Certified Management Consultant and Value Builder Advisor. Author of the Boring Business Manifesto.

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