Goals provide a roadmap for success. In a business context, setting goals for your shop is essential for several reasons:
Each goal you set provides direction and clarity – for yourself, but also each team member. For you, the shop owner, when setting firm goals for the business, you’re committing to what needs to be done in order to achieve the success you wanted when you initially opened your business. And for your crew, setting clear and well-defined goals for each employee lets everyone know what is expected of them. When you present clear job responsibilities, it translates to an efficient and productive shop. It ensures that everyone is on the same page. When employees understand their role in achieving the company's objectives, they can channel their efforts more effectively. The key to setting goals for your shop and team is transparency. During the weekly or daily team meetings discuss the status of the shop’s goals. What needs attention and where you are with each target. And in one-on-one employee meetings, discuss the goals you two set and the status of each. They will appreciate that the owner is paying attention to what they want to achieve.
Brian Bellante, owner of Auto Diagnostic & Repair in Northern California, has three locations, with a fourth opening soon. He believes that goal setting is a key component of his success. “I’ve found that setting goals is extremely important if I want to achieve my target and move the company forward.”
For Bellante, goals were not always part of his shop equation. When he started, “There weren’t any goals. I was flying by the seat of my pants,” he says. He now sets yearly, quarterly, and monthly goals.
Every great shop owner knows how important their shop culture is. By including the crew and making them aware of shop goals, and their own goals, you create an environment where people want to work. And that’s what any great owner wants - you want your crew to come in each morning with clear objectives and a sense of enthusiasm for achieving those goals. What you don’t want is a team where each employee is an island and doesn’t know what the other teammate is doing on any given day.
Business targets act as motivators. When employees and shop owners have specific objectives to work towards, everyone becomes more engaged and enthusiastic about the work it entails to hit those goals. Each goal – for both the team member and the business owner – creates a commitment that targets will be achieved.
Achieving those goals provides a sense of accomplishment, boosting both morale and job satisfaction resulting in higher productivity, happier employees and less turnover.
Goals also create a sense of accountability. When employees and the shop owner are responsible for meeting specific targets, everyone is more likely to take ownership of their work. This responsibility drives better performance and establishes that everyone is working together to achieve the company's mission.
Implementing a quantifiable method to measure progress of the goals is key for their success. You need to actively track each to safeguard that the overall targets will be met. You can’t just create the objectives, step away and see where you are a year down the road. Constant monitoring needs to be part of the goal protocol within the shop.
Bellante knows the importance of not just setting a goal but making it happen. “I usually sit down with my managers every year and set goals for each shop. My managers have a say, and we talk about certain KPIs and tasks we would like to accomplish. Then we break it down into quarters and months. I meet with my managers weekly and check in on the progress. This keeps them focused which helps them drive productivity for each location.”
This data-driven approach is essential for making informed decisions and improving the efficiency of your business. With three shops and counting, Bellante is proof of the importance of goal setting and how to manage the process.
A successful example from Bellante about the importance of setting and achieving goals is his three-year plan that was put in place in 2020 with an objective of being completed by the end of 2023.
Objectives set in 2020 were:
- Five shops
- Area manager in place
- Systemize everything in each shop
- Own the original shop building
While not hitting them all, Bellante now has three shops, and he owns the building for the fourth. He’s in the midst of setting up the fourth shop with the goal of having it up and running by the end of this year.
“I’m currently looking for an area manager, which was a goal after I opened my third shop," he says. "The shops are about 95-percent systematized. The owner of the original building hasn’t wanted to sell, but I keep asking! I don’t think I will accomplish everything on my list of goals within the set timeframe, but I’m getting very close, and I definitely consider that a win.”