Callahan: Get Smart(er)

March 5, 2024
Setting goals leads to success. Here's a formula to help you hit the goals you create.

Years ago, every January, I would talk about this being the year I would be a million-dollar shop. Then, I would be disappointed each December that I didn't make it. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. One day, I heard two quotes that have stuck with me: 

"An idea is just a dream until you write it down." — Anonymous 

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." —‚ Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

I had never written down that goal, much less made a plan to achieve it! How did I expect to do big things, without setting intention and focusing?  

It isn't too late if you didn't set goals for sales and profit for 2024. Written goals are critical to your ability to meet or exceed them. Then you have to check your progress often.  

As we prepare to close out the first quarter of 2024, now is a great time to check in on how we are doing on our goals for the year and to set our focus on the next steps for a successful second quarter. Although I monitor where I am with daily, weekly, and monthly goals, I believe checking in quarterly is also critical in case my area of focus needs a significant shift.  

Perhaps you've heard about setting SMART goals. A dear friend shared with me about using SMARTER goals. What in the world does that mean?  

Specific. Make your goal crystal clear. Instead of saying "I want to be busier," say "I want to increase gross sales by 10% over last year, which is $934,500."  

Measurable. Your goal should have a way to check if you're making progress. You cannot manage what you do not measure. 

Achievable. Your goal should be something you can do. If you don't have enough bays or technicians to have $3 million in sales, that might be too aggressive. Start with a goal that's challenging but doable. 

Relevant. Your goal should make sense and be important to you. Don't set a goal just because someone else thinks you should. Pick something that matters to you. Would you prefer to focus on net profit instead of gross sales? Fantastic! It's your goal. 

Time-bound. Set a deadline for your goal. Instead of saying, "I want to improve and bring in more cars," say, "I want to increase weekly car count by the end of June 2024." 

Evaluate. Check in on your goal regularly. Look at your email capture rate and see if it is getting better. If not, you might need to check that your process for obtaining those addresses is being followed by everyone in the shop. 

Revise. If things aren't going as planned, don't give up. You can adjust your goal or how you're working toward it.  

Remember, SMARTER goals are about making your goals clear, doable, and focused so you can succeed! 

The constant dance of shop ownership is the balance between getting the front and back-of-house operating efficiently. Setting and checking your goals regularly will help you achieve more and more success. 

About the Author

Kathleen Callahan | Owner

Kathleen Callahan has owned Florida’s Xpertech Auto Repair for 20 years. In 2020, she joined Repair Shop of Tomorrow as a coach to pursue her passion for developing people and creating thriving shop cultures. Callahan is the 2018 Women in Auto Care Shop Owner of the Year, nationally recognized by AAA for three consecutive years, testified for Right to Repair on Capitol Hill, and is Vice Chair of Women in Auto Care.

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