On Wednesday, Jan.10, Management Success Senior Consultant Jim Saeli presented a webinar on “Secrets to Success: Shop Resolutions that Stick.”
He began by noting, “You probably set goals at the beginning of your business and have achieved them, improving your business and acquiring better control of it. But as time passes, we all tend to lose focus and fall back into old habits and may ask ourselves, ‘What am I missing?’”
While it’s easy to think it’s all “fine,” Saeli considers this a bad four-letter word.
“If you’re not expanding, you’re contracting,” he said. “If things are just fine, they will catch up with you.”
It’s easy to lose focus, so he suggested looking at the shop's basics, some of which are so basic that they’re easy to overlook until it’s too late.
It is important to monitor all aspects of one’s business because it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day actions of shop production and to stop seeing everything, until someone else points out the change.
“When you first opened your shop, you set a goal and worked to achieve it, but it’s important to set new goals once you reach your first goal,” Saeli encouraged. “Or maybe you set a goal and had a hard time focusing on the new goal because things changed. There will always be these types of situations in a business, such as changing employees, but you have to figure out how to keep your eye on the ball, and with the start of the New Year, this is a great time to sit down and establish goals for 2018!”
Saeli suggested getting in the habit of looking back at goals to determine if they were achieved. He stressed the importance of writing down goals and also encouraged attendees to write down their vision and look at it occasionally.
“Your business will always be a work in progress, and your vision will change as your business grows,” he said. “Your job as the owner is to set goals for your business so that you’re the one directing the shop, and you do this by planning.
“The owner’s responsibility is to improve the existing situation and move it toward the idea or vision you have for your business.”
He polled attendees to determine how often they plan, suggesting it’s important to decide what each person wants to accomplish this year and emphasizing the importance of writing down plans.
Asking how shop owners track their progress, Saeli informed them that they should be tracking their KPIs and using these numbers to determine whether they’re heading in the right direction. Keep your KPIs up-to-date, look at them weekly, and then make corrections based on that information.
According to Saeli, “Your KPIs are a roadmap that allows you to see the past and plan for the future. It’s helpful to put them into graph form to evaluate them quickly. Not having them is like trying to diagnose a check engine light on a car just by listening to the vehicle---and none of you would ever do that! Call this your scan tool; it’ll help you figure out what’s going on with your business.”
Figure out your goals by starting with a sales target, broken down into sales for a month and a week, and then figure out the billed hours needed to achieve this goal. Saeli believes that working out weekly targets is a great start, but next, shop owners must share this information with their employees and remind them of it on a regular basis.
“This is one of the reasons to have weekly meetings,” he said. “It allows you to go over your targets and reinforce your expectations, plus it helps get everyone behind you, working towards those goals.”
When an employee is not producing the way they used to, Saeli advised the shop owners to sit down with them to find out why, suggesting that the employee may need help establishing goals, they may simply need to be pointed in the right direction or they may require additional training to improve their competency.
“Talking to your employees is a win/win/win situation,” Saeli noted. “They are better able to help the customer, the shop and make more money themselves. It’s important that we do not become so engrossed in the day-to-day that we forget about training.
“Have you reached your goals? Have you lost your passion for the business? You must see when you reach your goals and set new ones to have something to reach towards, to look forward to. Goals are key, and having them written down helps visualization.”
Some ideal targets Saeli suggested for both the individual and their businesses are sales targets, turning over responsibilities to associates and spending a certain number of days away from the shop to do enjoyable things.
“Money helps you get things, but time is very valuable,” he pointed out.