I opened my first company with help from a unique Sudbury business school called Learning Initiative (LI). At LI I learned the value of having a good business plan. When I opened my doors for business I hit the road running with a comprehensive two year plan for goals in tow. This plan is what helped me survive the first two years of incredible chaos. Those first years in business flew by and I found myself without a plan for my 3rd year in business. That is when I started our yearly and quarterly office Strat Sessions.
Our Strat Sessions involve everybody in our office. The focus is to set goals that everybody in the office takes part in. We break the discussion down into the five main components of my businesses and set goals according to what we accomplished in the previous year. It looks a little like this:
Financial: Under the financial section, we project our sales goals for the year and months ahead. We talk about what we will need our bank to do to help us meet those goals. We look at different funding opportunities – traditional and non-traditional. We discuss fiscal responsibility. We also discuss improvement to our margins and our bottom line. We set our goals around these discussions and make sure everybody understands what we’re aiming for each year.
Human Resources: As a Human Resources company, most of our focus is on how we can continue to recruit the best health care professionals we can. We set recruitment goals so we know how many people we want to add to our pool to help us reach our financial goals. We also look at creative ways to attract new applicants, build relationships with post-secondary institutions and re-engage people who are already on our pool. We also want to make sure that we have the employees in place in our office to help us reach those numbers. This exercise helps us to plan ahead for those hires.
Growth: Under growth, we look at new business opportunities, scaling our processes so that they are more effective and efficient for our applicants and our recruitment department, and implementing new technologies to our system. As a rapid growing company, these are the goals that help us ease into the increasing demand for our service.
Operations: Here we discuss the functionality in my business – what works and what doesn’t work. We look at creating and implementing new policies and procedures, tailoring our job descriptions so that every job and task belongs to somebody and that the processes are aligned with the vision. These goals make a day in our office run as smoothly as possible.
Marketing: Hefty financial goals come with a hefty marketing plan. Here we set goals around social media, PR, networking, advertising and promotional items. This plan helps us to prepare ahead for what’s to come. It also helps us make sure we are keeping our material current and that it supports whatever endeavor we’re working on at that time.
These Strat Sessions are done 4 times yearly. The first one helps us to set the goals and each quarterly meeting helps to see if we’re on track or if we have to amp something up to help us reach them. Organizing our business goals this way has played a huge part in my business success. Not only does it give us a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in my companies, but it involves my employees in the planning process, which keeps them motivated and inspired to give 100% in their position. If you’re running your business without goals I would suggest this simple and effective approach to setting goals.
Let me know how it goes!