The Road to Success
I feel that the biggest mistake people make when it comes to goals is that they don’t know what a goal is versus what it isn’t. Because of this, people are confused about what a goal should be and how to set it up. A common mistake is to take last year’s numbers and try to beat it by 10 percent and to do that every single year. That doesn’t always work. In fact, it almost never does.
Instead of doing that, I want to lay out a different way for you to go about setting goals in the new year. First, you need to understand what a goal truly is. A goal is the overall theme for all of our actions over a period of time. It’s not the ideal. The ideal is like a sunset 1,000 miles in front of you. No matter how fast you drive, you’ll never catch it. It’s beautiful, you like staring at it, but you will never get there.
Goals are mile markers on the road to an overall theme. If a goal you have is to hit 200 cars per month, it’s because you have an overall theme to grow the shop. Inside of that theme, there are goals; profit goals, car count goals, gross profit goals, employee count goals, etc. These goals are signs along the road that let you know that you’re getting to your destination.
I have a vision board in my closet, behind all of my hanging dress shirts. Nobody can see it but me. Every day, when I push my clothes aside, I can see the vision board that’s full of pictures that speak to my subconscious brain. I can speak to myself through these pictures. If we can employ our subconscious brain on our behalf to hit those goals, it’s a game changer. First, we have to set our goals up correctly.
What I’d love for you to do is to take last year’s profit and loss statement—or where you think this year is going to land—and use that as a springboard, nothing more. Do not use it as a budget or a rule, but instead look at it as the past. That way, we can measure progress and know exactly where we’re going on the frontside and know whether or not we’re going to hit what we’re setting out for. You can’t create a budget from the past because you might have more office supplies in your P&L last year because all kinds of things broke in your office or you may have moved locations; your electric bill might be more expensive because you have A/C in the shop now. You never know what caused last year’s situation, but you have to believe that your wisdom in the moment was the best decision and you have to trust it.
Because we grow off building blocks like car count and technicians, we can’t always grow by these predetermined percentages and so, because of that, we have to make adjustments in order to get to the next level. We have to say to ourselves, “OK, if I add one more technician, I’ll grow, but will I grow so much that I have to add more office staff? And, if I do, how will that impact my P&L?” We have to make sure that we’re always using our business summary, which is, in any industry, the specific report that applies to the industry and states the progress, which for us, is hour and car count, that we have in a certain period of time. Once we have that, we can move forward with our P&L and make business decisions.
You need to focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go. If you stay focused on how far you’ve come, you will encourage yourself but if you focus on how far you have to go, you will always be discouraged.