Entrepreneurs and business owners choose Team Financial Group for different reasons. One that people often bring up is the personalized attention they receive. Investing time in understanding their companies is important to us as well as them. Doing so gives our team a clearer picture than what a loan specialist at a bank gets from staring at an application form, and that allows us to help more businesses.
Along with the deeper insight we gain, our approach means we don’t simply get a deal done and move on to the next one, like a conveyor belt. Instead, we care about what happens next. Your success matters to us, and we want to see your company thrive.
With more than 20 years of financing experience, we know what it takes for companies to succeed. While there are other factors that go into it, a big part of having a successful company is being able to stay on track with business goals.
Start With the Right Goals
No one is going out on a limb in saying that you want your business to grow and generate greater revenue. After all, that is typically the overarching vision for most companies. To make that happen, though, you need to develop a set of goals for your business. In doing so, you lay the foundation for your ability to stay on track for success.
If you want to continually make progress toward your goals, it helps to start by having ones that make the most sense for your company. And that means they link back to your overall vision. In Stephen R. Covey’s seminal business classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the habits is to begin with the end in mind. When it comes to goals, this is sage advice.
So, in the early stages of establishing your goals, you should identify the various areas that connect to revenue, such as personnel, equipment, marketing, sales, and accounting. For new entrepreneurs and small business owners, it can help to think about this as being like the various departments at a large corporation. The heads of those departments create goals and plans for their respective domains. Entrepreneurs often wear many hats, which means it can be easy to lose sight of certain areas (depending on their backgrounds, interests, etc.). Taking time to list these out, though, makes them visible.
From that point, you can then consider how the areas impact your revenue stream and company’s profitability. Often, that entails keeping costs low (like through efficient practices and equipment) and increasing sales. If you have goals aligned with those objectives, you’re on the right path.
Make Your Business Goals SMART
Going hand-in-hand with keeping the end in mind is to make sure you choose goals that are SMART. And, in this case, we aren’t talking about intelligence directly. (Although, some say it is definitely smart to have SMART goals.) Instead, this is an acronym for:
Specific. If you are training for a marathon, you could say “I want to run faster.” The problem with this kind of goal, however, is that it’s incredibly vague. After all, how do you know what faster means precisely? An example of a better goal would be along the lines of “I want to average 13-minute miles.” This specificity gives you a clear target.
Measurable. To stick with your goals, it helps to have a clear picture of current and past states. When you trend in the right direction, you stay motivated. If you don’t see progress, you have an opportunity to make adjustments. Of course, for that to happen, your goal needs to be measurable. And this means something like “we want to be the best insurance company” doesn’t work (because best isn’t measurable). As you can probably see, this element ties in strongly with the previous one.
Attainable. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “everything’s impossible until somebody does it.” While that spirit is admirable in a sense, it’s necessary to be realistic about matters. Going back to our marathon goal example, if you currently run 14-minute miles, trying to drop down to 7-minute miles for the next marathon is almost definitely not going to happen. Making that the goal only sets yourself up for failure.
At the same time, you don’t have to give up your dream of running 7-minute miles. Instead, set a more attainable goal for your next marathon (like maybe 13-minute miles), and then another realistic one for the race after that, and so on until a 7-minute mile pace is possible.
One more important thought about attainable goals is that it makes a lot of sense to focus on that which you can control. For example, someone could directly improve manufacturing speed by purchasing more-efficient equipment, but they can only influence (not control) potential customers to buy their product. If your goals are properly aligned, though, you will find stronger influence in areas outside your sphere of control.
Relevant. This was touched on a bit when we looked at beginning with the end in mind, but SMART goals connect to something larger that you want to achieve. In the Specific stage, we determined that “running faster” isn’t a solid goal, but that is your overall intent, right? Well, we could look at the 13-minute mile pace goal and see that it is absolutely relevant to becoming a faster runner.
Time-bound. There is another common saying about how “a goal without a date is just dream.” To make sure you aren’t just dreaming, SMART goals have time constraints. These keep you accountable and are essentially the track in “staying on track” with your goals. The best practice here is to use benchmarks and milestones along the way. By breaking the timing down into stages, you don’t have to wait until the end to see progress.
All five SMART elements play integral roles in achieving your goals, and by taking this approach, you can put your company in a position for success.
Build in Flexibility
When you set out to accomplish specific objectives and want to keep progress moving forward, staying flexible can seem like a tricky proposition. But built-in flexibility is valuable when our unpredictable universe throws curveballs (like, say, a global pandemic that completely upends entire industries). In a more positive context, being nimble also allows you to capitalize on unforeseen opportunities.
Some people may think that being flexible opens the door too much for flip-flopping or giving up on goals. That might happen sometimes, but indecision and quitting aren’t synonymous with flexibility. Besides, there are times in life when the best course of action is to reassess, or possibly even abandon, the pursuit of a goal that is simply draining resources.
You might be familiar with the sunk cost fallacy. If not, the basic gist is that humans are often reluctant to ditch something when we’ve invested a lot into it, even in cases when an objective second person would clearly see that walking away is more beneficial. And that is why it is important to be at least somewhat flexible with your goals.
One way to build in that flexibility is to have contingencies in mind. Knowing that you have a backup plan in place makes it easier to pull the plug on an endeavor that isn’t proving worthwhile.
Simplify Your Goals
You’ve probably heard that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right? While that probably holds true in the literal sense, it’s most commonly used as an apt metaphor for approaching goals.
If you decide to utilize the SMART goals model, you’re most likely already doing that by making sure you have attainable and time-bound goals. If not, this is a good strategy for creating a roadmap that is easy to follow. And, really, it just makes sense.
There are different approaches you could take here. One that works well for many businesses can be found in the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) based on Gino Wickman’s popular book Traction. Companies that use EOS or follow Wickman’s teachings take larger, long-term objectives and break them down into quarterly goals. In turn, these goals are then broken down even further into weekly action items. This approach makes it incredibly easy to eat even the biggest proverbial elephant.
Utilize a System
Business systems of all varieties can play an important role in helping you stay on course to achieve your business goals. And the good news here is that you have a variety of choices available for which system you implement.
While EOS is a popular option for businesses and organizations across the globe, it may or may not appeal to you. Perhaps you find yourself more interested in adopting a Lean or Six Sigma system that is keyed in on improving efficiency in your processes. Or you could be drawn to SYSTEMology, which some consider to be a valuable resource for owner-dependent businesses.
Any of those systems are fine choices for certain circumstances and objectives. Of course, it’s worth noting that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive options. For example, you might wish to implement SYSTEMology in early stages of growing your business, and then switch to the EOS model later. Or your company may even benefit best from utilizing a hybrid combination of approaches.
No matter which path you choose, though, a key to meeting your goals is having a system in place and making sure everyone is following it.
Rely on Your Team
Along with following a system, your business needs proper resources to succeed in your goals. And people can be a powerful resource.
If you own a small business, there is a decent chance you launched your company by yourself. Maybe you are still currently in this stage. But if your business has grown to the point that you’ve started bringing others on board, you should already see the value of having the right people in place.
Even the most talented individuals cannot do it all on their own, so delegation is a vastly underrated business skill. Knowing what to keep on your plate, and what to delegate, makes a profound difference if you want to stay on track to achieve goals.
It makes your life easier when you have a dedicated team you can trust. And while entrepreneurs often wrestle with control issues, a trustworthy team of good people in the right roles means you can let go a bit and focus on company goals, instead of trying to do it all yourself.
Have the Right Tools for the Job
For your employees to do their best work, they need to have proper tools and equipment. With that being the case, it is important to assess your equipment needs—and potentially upgrade or purchase/lease equipment (new or used)—if you want to achieve company goals.
In some cases, the key obstacle here is finding financing for business equipment. After all, banks and other traditional lenders aren’t always easy to work with. Fortunately, you have other options when you need to acquire new or used equipment for your company. A private financing company, like Team Financial, can be a great choice if you are seeking fast, flexible financing.
Track Your Progress With KPIs
A key part of successful delegation is knowing that things are getting done. More than that, it’s even better when you know that they are being completed efficiently. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help with this.
Exactly what you track depends, of course, on your specific business goals. In turn, this dictates the method you should use to collect your data.
For internal metrics, a wise practice is to go back to your SMART goals and focus on the measurable elements. Decide what kinds of metrics will tie back to them, and then make sure you are capturing them at appropriate intervals.
Done well, the KPIs you establish can provide a sense of ownership from team members. That “done well” caveat is necessary because KPIs also have the capacity to cause stress or fear. And while stress is a normal part of life, research shows that excessive amounts inhibit productivity even for smart, talented, and hard-working employees.
Keep the Team Motivated
Any successful coach will be quick to tell you the importance of motivating a team if you want to pick up the win. While it’s easy to see immediate impact in the sports world, something that often gets lost in the shuffle of the day-to-day grind is that members of your team benefit when the company performs well. And that’s why things like transparency and celebrations can be game changers for successful businesses.
Transparency Makes a Huge Difference
To stay on track with business goals, make sure everyone knows what the goals are. Perhaps more importantly, they should also know why the company is trying to attain them and how their individual efforts contribute to success. When employees do, they tend to be more engaged, motivated, and productive.
Along with the goals themselves, vested parties also want to know how things are going along the way. For this reason, it is highly beneficial to be transparent with your team. If there are issues, it’s best to be upfront about them. A key reason to do this is because people can often tell when things aren’t going well. Trying to hide that is an insult to their intelligence.
Another reason is because this puts you in a position to take ownership of the situation. Proactively saying what is happening and, more importantly, what you are going to do about it, is a power move. That is true leadership, and it’s what your team should expect.
Celebrate the Victories
An excellent way to keep your team motivated in pursuit of goals is to celebrate victories when they happen. Even taking time to acknowledge small wins and recognize the effort that went into them can be profoundly motivating for your team. This keeps everyone excited to push through to the next step of company goals.
We Help Businesses Achieve Their Goals
At the start of this post, we mentioned how important your success is to our team. And because we want you to succeed, we want you to have all the information you need to stay on track with your business goals. Following the tips that we laid out in this article should help you with that. Of course, if you need financing for business equipment, we are always here for you.
If you want to see how Team Financial Group can help your company achieve its goals, feel free to learn more about us here. And if you’re ready to connect with a private company that offers fast, flexible financing, don’t hesitate to reach out online or by calling us at 616-735-2393.