by Vic Tarasik
Vic’s Precision Automotive
On June 6, 1944, the Allied Invasion Forces landed across 60 miles of French coastline beginning one of the bloodiest battles in history, and resulting in the liberation of Europe that ultimately occurred on May 8, 1945, also known as V.E. Day. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower had to set the objective first — European liberation from Nazi Germany.
Having determined this goal, Eisenhower and his commanders began to build a battle plan. Through careful planning, execution and modification of the battle plan, the Allies successfully liberated Europe in 11 months. For America, this was one of the defining moments for “The Greatest Generation.”
As the Supreme Commander of your shop, your role as the leader is to assess your shop’s financial outlook, set objectives and lay out a plan to achieve goals that will benefit you and your employees.
As we wind down 2011 and look forward to 2012, now is the time to set and communicate your goals to your team.
The Bottom-Line Impact Group Effect
Challenge yourself to reach higher than you think you can. That is what my coach John W. does for me as a member of a Bottom-Line Impact Group (www.bottomlineimpactgroups.com). At the last meeting of each year, he challenges us to set a sales dollar and net profit goal, along with nine measurable goals for the following year. Each goal becomes a measuring point. Throughout the year, we track the successful accomplishment of each goal and we celebrate each achievement.
As you begin to set your goals for 2012, utilize a well-known acronym for ensuring the highest level of success; that being S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timetable.
Let me give you one example; say your shop does $1.5 million in annual sales and you want to get to $3 million by the end of 2012. It’s specific, measurable, attainable and has a timetable, but increasing your sales by $1.5 million in one year is not very realistic. If you adjust the timetable, you could become more realistic and meet the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria. Utilizing this method and teaching it to your employees can reap huge rewards in the long term.
When reviewing 2011, keep in mind that your gross sales and net profit are the result of how effective your shop operations are and how successful your marketing plan is working.
Begin With the End in Mind
Steven Covey said in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we should develop the habit of starting whatever we do with an objective.
He explained that it’s very important to look inward to find out what’s really important to you and determine what is your core value set.
Your shop is an extension of who you are and exemplifies your character and value set. Ask yourself why you have your business and what it is that you hope to accomplish by being a shop owner. With those answers, you can better focus on your objectives, as you look ahead to 2012.
Pick Five Objectives
After you’ve determined your goals, pick the five that you feel are the most important and that you can get excited about. Prioritize each of those five goals and set a timetable for accomplishing them.
Then, forecast where you feel your sales will end up in 2011, set a sales dollar goal for 2012, and don’t forget to include your net profit dollar goal. Without a strong net profit, you will have to look at your expenses and gross profit structure. With a healthy net profit, you will feel more satisfied as an owner and have the opportunity, if you choose, to reward those on your team who helped you get there.
Chart the Course
Now that you have goals in place, it’s time to choose the best members of your team to help lead the charge. If you have taken the time to understand their strengths and motivational desires, your decision will be easy. If not, take some time to review the last year’s performance of each employee.
Take each employee to lunch and get to know who they are, and ask them why they do what they do. Studies have shown that pay, while important, is not the prime motivation. Recognition is typically the number one motivator. A good leader knows his team and understands how to get the best results with the least effort.
Paint the big picture in a corporate setting with your entire team right at the beginning of the year. A well-cast vision with a charted course will get results.
In summary, review 2011, examine your internal motives, choose five goals, then lead your employees to an outstanding 2012. Next year, you can exceed your wildest expectations with the help of a well-thought-out battle plan.
Vic Tarasik is the owner of Vic’s Precision Automotive, The Woodlands, TX; a 30-year industry veteran; and long-time 20 Group member. His 10-bay, 7,000 sq.-ft. shop specializes in customer service in addition to expert vehicle repairs. Vic can be reached at [email protected].