I’m sharing with you four must-have business goals. I don’t care what type of business it is. I have people all the time reach out to me and ask about their particular type of business. Business is fairly simple and I’ve already shared that with you three things you must do in business, and it doesn’t matter what the business is: You track customers, you sell your customers, and you fulfill what it is you sold to them. That’s business.
So let me share with you four goals that you want to constantly look at every year and see if you’re improving on these. They will kind of tell you where your company is at right now and if you’re in the early stages.
Are people buying what you’re selling? Traction will have a lot to do with your marketing. Are you repeatedly attracting customers. Are there enough customers out there buying what you’re selling so that you can stay in business.
Without traction, you can’t budget. There’s no reason to look at a P&L statement because it’s going to tell you’re not making any money. The first thing that I try to achieve as when I’m launching a business is I’m trying to reach traction. I’m trying to develop consistency in attracting customers and selling customers. Making money means you ahve traction. If you’re not making money, it’s a hobby. You’re optimistic that it might work, but you don’t really know. It’s only when you go over the mountain top and now it’s profit and you have enough money to put money into reserves and to grow and reinvest in your company that it goes beyond a “hobby” business.
Here are the questions to ask yourself:
- How is your marketing doing?
- Do you have a continuous cycle of customers seeking out your business?
Set measurables for these. I have a spreadsheet I get every day and there’s a numerical number that my staff knows that we want to hit that reflects traction. It reflects repeat customers, referral customers, and all the various ways we attract customers. There’s just a golden number and I know if we hit that number, this traction number, all the other dominoes will actually work themselves out.
This is the fulfillment part of your business, and the way that you can see if you’re doing it well is when you perfect systems and everything becomes a little bit faster. When you perfect your systems, you also have better staff retention. Why? Because average people can work within systems and be valuable.
We can measure that kind of through our speed, staff retention, and in profit margins. If you have more speed, you have more profit. You can fulfill what it is you sell, faster.
Your reviews and customer feedback: If you’re fulfilling better, then obviously customers are going to share that experience good or bad. You’re going to get feedback on that.
I kind of teased you with this for traction in the very beginning. Growth is when you’re selling enough there that you’re able to reinvest in your business. This is where you actually layer your staff with back-up talent. In my company I have a crew that I don’t necessarily have to have, but there are a few utility players that I know that I could use in multiple situations if I needed to. Because we have enough growth, we have enough positive income to be able to put this back into our business. I’m allowed to beta test ideas that I have and services that I think could be affected. Why? Because we have growth.
Now, if you’re in a survival stage, it’s hard to do these things. The last thing you’re doing is keeping extra staff. That’s a luxury.
When you have growth, you can put money back into some capital expenses. We’ve expanded our office twice in the last six years. Why? Because we’ve had growth. We’ve been able to upgrade vehicles and buy tools and things that can make our business more efficient. When you have growth, it allows you to build a mote around your business. You can reinvest back into your business, you can create critical infrastructure, you can protect your brand.
Now you have to expand. You’ve protected your business. Sometimes three and four can occur simultaneously and it’s possible you’ll need to expand to create the growth you need, so these can go either way.
You’re adding products. To get to your first million-dollars, it’s a one-trick pony. That’s smart and that’s good. It’s easy to market and easy to become great at, easier to staff for it, but then you have to add complementary products. Look at MyPillow. It started with a pillow and now it’s pillow cases, mattress toppers, dog beds, etc. Look at UNTUCKit. I went on there today and they were selling women’s jackets. I don’t think it’s a good fit…but they’re adding products.
You have to start adding more products because your market tends to run out of space. Your target customer becomes somewhat fixed, so you have to add additional products and services. This is what we’ve done in one of my companies over 21 years, where we offered services that we think would resonate. Now, 21 years later, we have eight divisions in our company because we have eight services. They are companies within themselves and they have their own P&L statements. They have their own checking accounts and reserve accounts.