Making time to identify your business goals is tough. And actually doing it is even tougher. Here are our best tips about how to get started, followed by what we believe are the key objectives you might want to include.
How to Form Goals That Matter
Our first tip is to recognize that you need to make time for goal setting or you'll never get ahead. It is totally OK to set aside a couple of hours a week or month — even if there are calls rolling in and you’re busy — to make goal setting a priority. It isn't hurting your customers. We promise. Instead, it will help you provide stronger service in the future, and that's where your company is headed.
Once you've made the time, make sure you only consider goals that you can measure, achieve and cross off the list. For instance, it won't work to write down that you "want to scale your business," because that goal has no end! When will you have achieved this? When can you cross it off? Never!
You have to think about goals as if they are tasks to achieve, rather than ideas. You can finish them and tick the box. This format is called SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely.
Next, Consider Your Big Five. What Are The Five Main Things You're Trying To Improve? List Out The Five Things And Be Sure They Can Be "Checked Off" Your List.
If you really want to get deep into this task, think of five goals for each different area of your business: accounting, AR/AP, field operations, marketing and lead generation, etc. Remember that it's OK to start small, too, and just focus on one of those units.
Finally, your goals should also be clear and measurable. Figure out a way to measure the success of each so that when it comes time to check it off, you'll know it. We also suggest adding visibility. Communicate these goals to your entire team so they can help you work toward them.
The 4 Goals We Recommend for Growing Service Businesses
These goals are best for field service companies, including HVAC, plumbing, garage door and electrical service.
1. Increase your average ticket
As we mentioned, these goals will need to be specific and measurable, so craft each goal like this: Increase average ticket by X percent by X date.
Help customers with accessory items by giving them a better educational experience. To allow for this, train your techs to be experts so they can coach customers on best practices and add accessory items to the sale. You can also provide coaching for technicians that is specifically about how to increase sales.
Of course, none of the coaching in the world will matter if they can't execute, so you should also find tools that help techs sell and provide estimates while they are still on the job.
Perhaps most importantly, work toward flipping the mentality of your techs from turn-and-burn service to high quality call experiences. Doing all of these things will help increase your average ticket and keep your margins up.
2. Increase booked appointments
Book more opportunities with better, faster customer service and an increase in call counts. Reduce back-and-forth between tech and office so your office staff can focus on the customers.
Remember, the goal should be to increase booked appointments — by a certain amount/percentage, by a certain date.
3. Reduce missed payments
Regularly monitor all paperwork to make sure all of your invoices are accurate. Over time, focusing on accuracy will help you reduce missed or failed payments and get every dollar you deserve back into the business.
Start by understanding what your base level of missed payments is, as a percentage. Then form the goal: Reduce missed payments by X percent by X date.
4. Increase quality lead count (to optimize marketing spend)
How can you tell if you're bringing in better quality leads? First, you should be able to tell your win rate for bookings by tracking how many opportunities turned into customers. You can work to bring in better leads through emphasizing referrals, new digital marketing tactics (make sure you're listed on Yelp and that you claim your business page!) and more.
Note how many quality leads you gain per month (if you have the capability) and start by forming a SMART goal: Increase quality leads by X percent this quarter. Or maybe you want to increase the conversion from website visitor to lead, instead. Whatever your goal, make it as clear as possible.
Now You're Ready to Start Creating Business Objectives!
Growing your business is exciting, and goal setting helps you get there. Don't forget to think about specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely goals, and to communicate those goals to your team once you've written them down. If you want to get started today, begin with the four objectives we outlined above. Assess where you are currently, and then determine a reasonable trajectory and timeline. You can experiment to find out which goals are too lofty and which are just right.