Our first series of the year is about planning. After the year that was 2020, that may seem pointless, but it really isn’t. Plans can always be adjusted but if you don’t have any plans, well – you’re just free-floating in a world controlled by others.
So, let’s start with setting goals. People often use the terms “goals” and “objectives” interchangeably. For this exercise, it’s important to make a distinction between the two. Make goals your end game. For most entrepreneurs that will be when you no longer own or manage the company. Maybe your goal is to have a child take over the business. Maybe you want to sell and retire. How about turning the business into a social enterprise? You could provide guidance as a board member while others do the day to day work.
Thinking about your personal goals first will help you determine appropriate business goals.
Let’s say you want to retire in 10 years, selling the company to boost your savings. Your business goal then is to create as much value in the business as you can over the next decade. Do some research. What creates value in a business? Profitability is one factor. An infrastructure that supports profitability is another. Infrastructure includes technology, policies and procedures, perhaps facilities or equipment. Talk to someone who evaluates businesses or a broker. Find out what is important to buyers.
Take some time (days, not months) to think about what you want as the end result. Talk to your significant others, including those in your company. Your partner or employee may be interested in buying the company. Talk to your kids, who may or may not, share your vision. Your goal needs to be specific and feasible; e.g. sell the company in 2031 for $150,000.
Now write it all down. Your end goal, the objectives you need to realize to reach your goal; e.g. profitability at 10% of sales, up to date tech for your online sales and order processing, etc.
It takes a bit of time and effort, but even if you only do this, you’ll have taken a huge step towards succeeding.