Back-to-school excitement is not just for kids. I love to look at it as a time to assess my progress on the goals I set for the year, because I’ll only have four months left to achieve them. You may recall in my New Year’s Blog (#17) I wrote about setting goals, and that “A goal not written down is just a wish.” But goals not reviewed, evaluated, and revised if necessary are also wishes. So if you did actually write your goals down in January, it’s time to take them out and assess your progress, particularly if you have yet to do so since January.
For freight agents, the example I went through involved increasing revenue by $500,000/year. Our 2014 goal at One Horn was to increase sales by a certain dollar amount without losing the feeling of One Horn Hospitality that our current agents love so much. To achieve our goal, we want to add fewer more sizable agents vs. many smaller agents, so we can continue to give the personalized attention to help our agents grow their businesses. Let’s go through how to assess your progress using the $500,000 revenue increase example, and how to revise this kind of goal if necessary:
- Review Initial Goal: “To achieve a $500,000 increase in my annual revenue running rate.” Remember this means that aside from any seasonality, if you took your December revenue for 2014, subtracted December 2013 revenue, and multiplied by 12, you would get $500,000. Seasonal businesses will be addressed in a separate blog.
- Evaluate Your Progress: How successful have you been thus far? If you calculate what that number would need to be, you can then assess how much your sales have increased thus far during the year to see if you are on track. We had broken the goal into number of new shippers and number of new loads per shipper. So if your average load yields $2,000 in revenue, you would need 250 additional loads per year, which is a little over 20 more per month or just 5 more per week. How many new loads have you done each month so far this year, and are you trending toward achieving your goal?
- Revise Your Strategies and Tactics: If you are making steady progress toward achieving your goal, your strategies and tactics are working. But what if you are not? Then it’s time to take a look at what strategies and tactics have and haven’t been successful. Is the strategy of getting more loads out of existing shippers working better than getting more new shippers or vice-a-versa? If getting more loads out of existing shippers is working better, can you approach them again for even more work, given your proven track record, or are there other existing shippers who have not yet given you more work? You could approach them with the example of those who have. If getting new shippers is working better, then perhaps spending more time in this area will work better for you.
- Do You Need a New Goal? Sometimes we discover we are not achieving our goals, because they were not realistic. It is always good to have a stretch goal, but if the goal is too out of reach, you might actually become demotivated, which saps your energy because you think you’ll never achieve it. If this is the case, maybe revising your goal to something more realistic for now will enable you to achieve some baby steps to gain the confidence to go for the gold at a later date.
So how have I done so far this year? Not as well as I would have liked. But when I abandoned advertising for agents on one Web site, added a new one this past spring, recruiting picked up again. The summer slowed down a bit, and as we enter September, we will be trying some new tactics. We do still believe that we will be able to increase our sales without giving up the feeling of One Horn Hospitality that we all love.
So don’t give up on your goals either. If something doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up over it, just try something new. The ability to let go of strategies or tactics that haven’t worked, even if you have invested a great deal of time and effort in the past, is key to succeeding in the future. I have done it before, I know I will have to do it again, and you can do it too. So go get ‘em: I wish you great success!
In my next blog, I will share with you why taking the high road is more important than getting even when drivers treat you unethically.
– By Cheryl Biron, President
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