At the start of the year, plenty of business owners and technicians will set some goals and aspirations – what they would like to achieve during 2023. However, much like New Year’s Resolutions, most will go unaccomplished (75% fail according to yougov.co.uk).
How can 2023 be different?
Firstly, find out what is important to you, personally and professionally…
Write down what you would like to achieve, then tell someone. Now you have made a commitment, ask that person to hold you accountable. This is the single most important thing you can do when it comes to achieving your goals.
Next, you need a plan…
Any goal will require you to allocate resources in order to achieve it. Finding time, requires you to reallocate time that was previously used for something else.
What are you willing to give up?
Do a deal with yourself and plan rewards for incremental achievements.
Thirdly, you need to measure progress…
Start with the end in mind and work backwards to where
you are now. Imagine what it takes to achieve your goal and set way markers in your plan. For example, you want to read twelve books, ‘Leaders are Readers.’ This requires you to switch off the TV or Smart Phone for at least 30 mins every day. This is what you are willing to give up. The way markers could be, to select three books to read. Give the titles to the person who is holding you accountable. Read 1 Chapter per day and take notes if necessary.
When you finish the book, write a brief summary of what you learned to the accountable person. Have rewards at the end of each chapter, and the end of each book. You get the idea.
Set yourself a personal goal, write it down (hold yourself accountable) tell someone (they hold you accountable) and plan how you will achieve it, working backwards from the result you want. Set in place rewards to keep you motivated.
Setting Business Goals…
Business Goals are a bit different because you need to find out what needs fixing in the business and in what order. As business owners, we are continuously firefighting, trying to solve all of the day-to-day issues. Everything is a priority, which means nothing is a priority.
This lack of focus is one reason why we may never achieve our goals...
‘Fix this next’ is a method of identifying what you need to fix in your business, and in the correct order. This is based on the excellent book by Mike Michalowicz, with the same title. In the book, Mike identified a business hierarchy of needs, based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, which was published in the 1943 paper titled ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. Maslow’s hierarchy of physiological needs suggests there are five core needs that form the basis of human behaviour and decision-making.
The lowest level of need in the human hierarchy is air, food, water, shelter, sex, and sleep. These are called physiological needs.
The next level is safety. We need a secure and safe environment, both physical and financial security.
The next level is belongingness – friendships, love, community, and family. The human needs to belong to a tribe.
Then esteem, which is confidence, self-esteem, self-worth achievement and respect.
Finally, self-actualization; morality, creativity, self-expression and helping others to achieve self-actualisation.
Humans automatically satisfy the lowest level need, for example, it is very difficult to self-actualize if someone is choking you because your lowest level need becomes air to breathe, and you revert to the lowest level need and satisfy that.
Mike argues that businesses have needs, they have lower-level needs and higher-level needs. Just like the human hierarchy, all the elements of the business hierarchy are always in play at all times. However, you should only concentrate your energy on solving one issue at one level at any one time. The golden rule is that you always satisfy the most essential need, the lowest level need before addressing any need above it.
The business hierarchy of needs levels are:
The creation of cash – Sales
The creation of stability – Profit
The creation of efficiency – Order
The creation of transformation – Impact The creation of permanence – Legacy
My research has identified that most small businesses, and certainly micro businesses, have a sales level need. The average UK small business has negative cash flow for at least four months each year, with almost one in four (23%) experiencing it for more than six months each year. 94% of UK small businesses suffered at least one month of negative cash flow in 2021.
Because you must fix the lowest level need first, most businesses need to create a predictable sales generation machine. To create a business model that supplies a surplus of cash every month.
This requires your marketing, sales, performance, and the finance elements within your business to be optimised.
How to find your business’s lowest level need
I have created a ‘Fix this Next Worksheet’ to help garage owners identify the lowest level need in their business. You can access this here: Worksheet.pdf.
Simply identify the current level of failure in your business, pinpoint the unmet needs at that level, and then apply level- specific fixes and solutions.
There are five questions at each level.
These are the five needs that I have identified that you must satisfy at each level, which means there are 15 things in total that you need analyse within your business.
The easiest way is to use a highlighter. Highlight all the needs that you are not satisfying in red and highlight the ones that you are satisfying in green, and you will have a good idea of what you need to fix, and in what order in your business.
However, I have created a shortcut. For each of the GET Levels, I have one question.
If the answer for your business is no, then you have at least one need at that level.
For the sales level, does your business have positive cash flow every month?
If your business does not have positive cash flow every month, you have a sales level need.
At the profit level, does your business have more than three months operating costs in savings?
If you don’t, you have a stability need and you need to fix that.
The order level question is, can your business run without you?
If not, you have needs at the order level in your business.
Once, you know the lowest level need of your business, you can prioritise that above all else. It will not fix everything in your business, and you will still be firefighting day to day, but it provides you with a focus. However, if you fix all the GET level needs (this can take years) your business will provide
predictable cashflow, use resources efficiently and provide time freedom for the owner(s).
For more ideas, advice and free training why not join the Garage Owners Network Facebook group?