The Australian Small Business Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Problem with Business Targets



We often hear about targets and deadlines being set by organisations and governments that are never met. Most recently, there have been targets set for CO2 emissions reduction. The initial target equates to 34% per person reduction, and yet others are demanding targets double that. Even the initial target is heroic. (For example, 90% of Victoria’s power generation is from brown coal.)

Before that, most of the developed world signed on to Kyoto targets, and most missed by miles.

What is the relevance of this to small business? When you have targets with no mechanism to reach them, it is meaningless. In the case of governments, they often set ambitious targets to appease their political constituency and the smart politician makes these targets big, but sets them a long time in the future, long after they expect to be out of office. It might help them win the next term which is where their focus generally is, but at some point, like the widely missed Kyoto targets, reality comes home to roost, and a price must be paid.

When we set targets without a plan, it is almost guaranteed that we will miss them. If the plan is to do research to discover the answer (the government’s plan) rather than rely on proven strategies, we need to expect that it will take much longer, and there is a chance that it won’t work at all. (Which is why the government just loves 2020!)

When we set targets in small business, they should be ambitious, but we must have a mechanism to achieve them. If our target is to increase sales by 30%, we must have a plan to achieve it. Do we have a plan to increase enquiries- maybe a new advertising channel, or an alliance? Is our intention to increase our conversion to sales by improving our sales pipeline, or providing sales training?

If we don’t know how to achieve the target, the strategy would be to go get advice from someone who knows what strategies work. (For the government, this is not an option as on-one knows!)

So for each of your key targets, write down where you are today, and where you want to be in 12 months. For each gap, create a strategy and for each strategy write a plan to implement the strategy.

If you find this difficult, please use my free Mission Statement Tool on the Resources page of www.FivePillarsBusinessSuccess.com Now is the time to set your targets for the next year, but make sure you have a plan to back it up!

May Your Business Be – As You Plan It!

Dr Greg Chapman

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success.

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2 comments :

cliff said...

I am still waiting for someone to acquaint mankind's emmissions with Nature's. I beleive that we need to control our area of influence, but nature is so much better at everything than we are.

I am aware that St. Helens eruption equalled the complete emmissions by mankind for a year every 8 seconds. The gasses, dust and vapours were more volatile than anything mankind can produce but we never hear about this.

Isn't it about time we were given some real information instead of the ramblings of some of these uninformed people who have the ear of government and media.

Joel Brown said...

Your posts makes some very good points, I find that it is far to often that the people heading departments or businesses or even the government, set targets based on an ideal solution that they would like to see. While this is maybe good in that it does give an actual target, it is then often left to people that are not to the same level of vision to implement something to achieve them.

Far to often this comes down to reasons and excuses from these management people using the excuse that they should not have to come up with the solutions, because they are trying to help you improve and this is one way that you can show your improvement.

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