In my last four posts we discussed the four areas of strategic planning that I evaluate during a Clone Your Favorite™ Client (CYFC) Assessment: mission, vision, core values, and SMART goals. I’ll be honest, rarely do I find all four of those items present in my target market companies let alone communicated throughout their organizations. But I usually find at least one or two which is enough to help define the company culture (even though you really do need all 4). So when I start the next section of my CYFC assessment (Marketing & Branding), the first thing I evaluate is how well a company’s branding strategy reflects their strategic plan and company culture.
My last three posts have discussed key topics in the strategic planning portion of a Clone Your Favorite™ Client assessment. In this post we’ll cover the final topic of strategic planning which is how your company will realize your vision while being true to your mission and core values – SMART goals. As a quick review – a SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable (some authors use Achievable), Relevant (some authors use Realistic) and Time-oriented. For example, a SMART goal related to revenue would be:
Increase net profit coming from new targeted customers (favorite clients) by 20% in the calendar year 2012.
Often when goals get set by executive management they either are too broad (i.e. not SMART) such as: “increase revenue” and/or are not communicated to the rest of the organization. Sure, we’d all like to increase revenue, but is increasing non-profitable revenue really going to take you closer to your vision? And will you have achieved your “increase revenue” goal if the actual increase is only .01%? And, how likely is it that you will achieve a goal if everyone doesn’t know about it?
Goals have been set and at least some relate to increasing business from favorite clients
- Goals have been communicated throughout the organization
- Goals are SMART so that the team knows their progress toward accomplishing them
Every employee has access to a measurement of where they are on a day to day basis in achieving goals
Obviously if you want more favorite clients then your SMART goals should be geared in that direction and they have to be communicated to everyone. If you are going to communicate how well you’re doing in meeting your goals, you have to have a way to measure and visualize your progress (that is why they need to be measurable and time-oriented). For example, I want to see if the sales team knows at any given time how well they are contributing to that 20% net profit from targeted clients increase. You’ll want to use Key Performance Indicators or KPIs to measure and illustrate progress on achieving SMART goals and make them available to everyone so that both management and the rest of the organization have a communication tool to drive progress as well as spot and navigate through road blocks. Look for a KPI post in the next few weeks when we discuss the Sales Process focus of Clone Your Favorite™ Assessments or in the meantime check out this post on creating metrics to illustrate KPIs
Without SMART goals I find that organizations tend to have a hard time focusing on activities that will target favorite clients. Even in an organization with a great culture where everyone loves their job and their company, it is very important to make sure that tasks are aligned toward the discipline specific goals that are important to achieving over all favorite client focused company goals. Otherwise, employees tend to get myopic and just concentrate on their specific day to day operational challenges as opposed to working together with other departments from a more holistic approach.
I would love to hear comments on your experience with SMART goals versus general ones an in the mean time, happy hunting!
In my last two posts I discussed the importance of mission statements and core values to better understand who your best potential clients are and how to get more. In this post its time to look at vision statements (no pun intended).
In general, you need vision statements so your employees know where the company is going and how they will have to develop to help it get there. I’ve worked with several clients whose businesses have outgrown some of their long term key employees because the employee didn’t understand the vision well enough to develop their skills to match the company’s future needs. Sound familiar?
Obviously your investors and other stakeholders will need to understand you vision statement too, but your clients also need to see and understand it so they know how they fit in with your plans. I conducted a customer perception study for one client where we learned that because they were expanding into a new market segment, some of their current clients were concerned that their market was no longer a priority. That concern potentially could have cost them a renewal contract.
When it comes to a Clone Your Favorite™ Assessment, its obvious that your company vision can go a long way in helping define your target market. Often when companies start out offering a product or service, they sell it to whoever will pay for it. What you may find over time is that there is a specific market segment where your product or service can add more value – potentially game changing value for an industry. In that situation your vision statement may and probably should change to reflect that revelation.
In my next post I’ll cover the last piece of the mission/vision/values/goals section of my Clone Your Favorite™ Assessment – SMART goals. In the mean time, I’d love to hear some of your favorite vision statements (and why they’re your favorites) in the comments and as always, happy hunting!
Yes, you really do need a mission statement. Glad we got that out of the way.
When I first started conducting target market assessments, I found that it was much easier to hone in on what made a company a good prospect for my client and even more importantly what gave my client a competitive advantage for prospective customers if they had a good mission statement.
For example, say you are a retail electricity provider with no mission statement. How do you know whether to improve your processes to better suit households or small businesses? Are your customers more likely to require cheap power or reliable power? Now you may say most need both, but that is not necessarily true. If my power goes out for a few minutes in the middle of the day, its no big deal. But what if the power goes out in an emergency room or a continuous process manufacturing facility?
You don’t necessarily have to nail down your target market in a mission statement, but you do have to know what you do best – how you differentiate yourself. For example: if you are going after lower income households or small businesses, then being the “low cost provider that makes service available to those who could not otherwise afford it” may be part of your mission. If your target is high end businesses, hospitals, and nursing homes then your mission may encompass being “the consistent and reliable source.”
Writing missions statements is not always easy, but as previously discussed it is necessary for a variety of reasons including understanding who your best potential client is. That is why I start every Clone Your Favorite™ Client Assessment with a review of my client’s mission, vision, core values and goals. And writing a mission statement doesn’t have to be mission impossible either. There are some great resources for helping write missions statements online (check out How to Write Your Mission Statement on entrepreneur.com). I usually recommend that my clients conduct a brainstorming session with their management team to at least hammer out the basics and then let their marketing firm turn their ideas into a statement that will speak to their stakeholders. I’d love to hear about your mission statement creation war stories in the comments and in the mean time, happy hunting!
Were you a fan of the TV show Friends? Anyone remember what Chandler‘s job was? Neither does anyone else because his best friends couldn’t even explain what he did. (See: What Was Chandler Bing\’s Job?) As a consultant, I can relate. For eight years I struggled to explain to friends, family, and networking partners what exactly I did for my clients. Then, last year, my good friend and President of The Strategic CFO Jim Wilkinson helped me come up with a good explanation – I help companies clone their favorite clients.
Have you ever had a client that you liked so much that you thought to yourself “I wish I had 5 more just like them!” These are the clients that you enjoy working with, you make good profit on the business you conduct with them, they pay on time and they value your product or service (see Anatomy of a Favorite Client).
The flip side is the client that can potentially bankrupt your business. I’ve seen several growing businesses crater under the weight of what they thought was going to be their flagship client. Possibly a big name client that instantly doubled their revenue, but perhaps also instantly shrunk their profitability. Or you might have several smaller clients that don’t value your service and want a low margin deal, but high margin service. Either way, once you take into account all the hidden costs, you may find yourself underwater financially and your employees miserable from dealing with these high maintenance folks.
The good news is that with a little analysis followed by some strategic planning, you can get more of the best and less of the rest. For the next few weeks I’ll be publishing a series of posts on how to clone your favorite™ client, but for the now the real question is – could you answer the question – “what is Misty’s job” in a Jeopardy lightening round?? If not, please leave me some feedback and in the meantime, happy hunting!