As I sat at my desk trying to come up with a relevant topic for this month’s tip, it hit me! I can’t believe that another year is soon going to be coming to an end. It got me thinking about my plans for 2013. So I am going to share some of the top things you can do at your wash to plan for 2013.
The first thing when you start your planning is to set goals. It is a good idea to involve your staff when coming up with the goals you will use to measure them and the performance of the business. Let’s start with the definition of a goal; An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe. A simple and effective way to set goals is by using SMART model (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound). SMART goal setting is one of the most positive and rewarding habits you can develop in business. It is a process by which you can evaluate the current situation and develop strategies to move forward. Moving forward is what gives you the business growth and success that most people in business aspire too. If it is your desire to own a highly successful car wash then you most certainly don't want to accept the "status quo". The only way to make sure you are not sitting in exactly the same place you are sitting in today, in 6 months, 1 year or 10 years time is to implement SMART goal setting as one of your primary business success practices.
Exactly what it is you want to achieve? The more detail and thought you put into this step the more likely you will be to succeed.
Specific is the What, Why, and How and Who of the SMART model.
• WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build, etc.
• WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
• HOW are you going to do it?
• WHO is needed to accomplish it? Do you have the current staff in place? Does it require outside help?
Ensure the goals you set are very specific, clear and attainable. Instead of setting a goal to wash more cars or raise your average ticket, set a specific goal to wash 10,000 more cars this year and raise the average by fifty cents per car.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, then it is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.
Choose a goal with measurable progress, that will allow you to experience success and move you toward the realization of more goals. You need to be specific when coming up with the measurable outcomes! “I want to provide a car with zero spotting when dry and find a new tire shine to reduce cost by 10 percent by the end of January” shows the specific targets to be measured. “I want to provide a better service and reduce cost” is not as measurable.
“What gets measured gets managed.” Peter Drucker
When you identify the goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can achieve them. You develop that attitude, ability, skill, and financial capacity to reach them. Your begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you.
“You set your goals to a point where they're attainable, but far enough away that you have to really go get them. And every year I push my goals a little bit farther away, and every year I work a little bit harder to get them.”
Realistic doesn’t mean easy! Make sure that the skills needed to do the work are available; or can be brought in and that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn’t break them. Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment.
Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable.
In order for a goal to ever be reached it needs to have specific time frames. Saying I want to accomplish this as soon as possible is setting the stage for failure. All goals should clearly state the time by or in which the goal must be achieved. I want to accomplish X by Y date or time.
If you take the time to set out a goals using the SMART approach you should achieve success! I challenge you to set your goals for next year by the first of December. If you have any questions or would like to share your goals and the followed successes, I would love to hear about it. And remember, "Failure to plan, is planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College. Robert can be reached at RAndre@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.