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!
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!
Two months ago I participated in a couple of team building exercises with some close friends at Miraval in Arizona. I’m not a huge fan of heights so naturally one of the exercises involved climbing up a 35 foot pole, crawling on top of the 18″ x 30″ flat platform, standing up without any means of support, waiting for my pal Sara Robins to climb up and join me on the 18″ x 30″ platform, and then jumping off so that my buddies below could catch us using a pulley system connected to our harnesses. As luck would have it, it was an unusually windy day. And of course since I also tend to get a little vertical motion sickness, the second exercise was a 45′ high zip line experience. Did I mention I’m not a fan of heights?
There was a little fear induced paralysis at some point during both exercises, but I got them done and along with the adrenaline rush I experienced that great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that usually comes with facing and overcoming your fears (and not getting sick in the process). Next we all discussed our experiences and observations. Probably my biggest take away was something that my friend Melissa Grobmyer of MKG Art Management, LLC observed after hearing me talk about my paralysis: “You are over-thinking things. You’re too much in your head. Once you make the transition, you are fine.” I am blessed to have some brilliant and insightful friends in my life.
When I came back to Houston I started thinking about other situations where I’ve been a little paralyzed and guess what? Launching this blog was one of them. If you know me or you’ve read the About page for this blog, you know that I’m a sales and marketing consultant or as I like to call myself: a favorite client cloner. A big part of my job in working with clients that are transitioning from small to medium sized companies is to be a change agent i.e. I help clients make changes in their business development processes that accommodate and facilitate their growth. But what often comes with change is fear. Miraval was a great eye opener for me because I’ve often found it challenging to relate to my client employee’s fear of change. After all I love change – I’m a change agent! I want to make their lives better, easier, more prosperous! Well, when it comes to stepping off the platform or moving to a new blog, apparently I too experience transitional fear.
So why is this transition to a new blog necessary? Most of my consulting work used to revolve around systems – Microsoft Outlook often being the center piece and the subject of my first blog Arrow-Tips. But my consulting practice has expanded to encompass a more holistic set of services including target market analysis, customer perception studies, mission/vision/values/goals alignment, etc. Arrow-Tips has developed a great following with several hundred subscribers, great feedback and it’s a familiar and comfortable forum for me. But like my clients, it’s time for me to step outside my comfort zone in order to better meet their needs and add more value. Like the experience I had flying down the zip line or the experiences my clients have had growing more efficiently and with confidence, I’m hoping this blog will reach a bigger audience to help spread that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
So to kick things off, I’d love to hear some of your stories of overcoming fear to transition to a more successful place. And in the meantime, happy hunting!