The following is adapted from our new book, Come Back to Bed.
Take a minute to envision your ultimate vision for your business. Do you want to be the number one retailer in your industry? Or do you want to establish your business as a go-to shop for your local community? Whatever your vision is, there are three things you must do to succeed: establish SMART goals, strategies and tactics.
Goals are what you’re aiming to accomplish. Strategies clarify how you’re going to approach the goal. And tactics are the items you need to support each strategy. The combination of these three elements are essential to developing an effective business plan.
Without these, you may set your goals too big and come up short without any realistic, tangible ways to reach them. Ever been to a store where it seems there’s a lot of different kinds of inventory that never leave the shelves? The owner likely doesn’t have SMART goals in place with strategies and tactics to achieve them. You can avoid this mistake by planning ahead.
Only once you create and act on these elements, will you begin to see profits. Here’s a look at how to develop SMART goals, strategies and tactics that work hand in hand to produce success.
When putting together goals, use the SMART framework:
If you don’t know what you’re working toward, it’s difficult to stay focused and impossible to measure your progress. Goals are critical to your success.
Groups tend to flounder and fall apart when pursuing goals that are pie-in-the-sky. “Change the world” is an admirable aspiration but a terrible goal. It’s too vague. A better goal is “Decrease homelessness in downtown Austin by 10 percent within the next eighteen months.”
That’s a vivid goal. It’s specific and measurable. It appears achievable, and it’s relevant to your mission to change the world. There’s a timeline in place. This goal fits the SMART framework.
When your goal is set, there are many ways to achieve it. And even if you fail to reach your goal, you’ll gather intelligence that will help you adjust in the future.
Your brand shapes your strategies. Goals are concrete and cold—increase top-line sales 30 percent in Q2. Meanwhile, strategies feel a bit warmer and add some definition to your plan.
A good strategy meets three criteria:
- It’s relevant to the goal.
- It’s connected to your brand.
- It contributes to achieving the objective.
Let’s break it down so you understand how to generate strategies without getting tactical. “Design a print ad” is a tactic, not a strategy. It’s not time for tactics yet.
Imagine you have a mattress store and decide you want to increase sales 15 percent over the previous year. You write down your goal: “During the next twelve months, increase sales 15 percent year over year.” What are the best ways to achieve that objective and magnify your brand? The list is endless. Let’s say you conduct a brainstorm session and decide that the best ways to increase sales are:
- Surprise and delight our customers to increase word-of-mouth referrals and improve online reviews.
- Introduce sleep accessories into every selling opportunity.
- Demonstrate adjustable bases to every customer who enters the store.
Those are strategies for how to get 15 percent more in sales. Once you’ve captured those strategies, it’s time to develop the creative approach and come up with tactics you can deploy to support and amplify each strategy.
Now let’s break down tactics attached to one of our strategies.
Strategy: Surprise and delight our customers to increase word-of-mouth referrals and improve online reviews.
- Each RSA will learn a magic trick and perform it at the close of each sale.
- Buy a magic trick.
- Set aside time for each person to practice.
- Have each RSA perform the trick in front of the team before showing customers.
- Send customers a rubber chicken with a funny note that requests a review.
- Buy rubber chickens.
- Develop mailers for customers.
- Ask customers for reviews and let them know you’re donating ten dollars to Boys and Girls Club for every review, good or bad, during the month of October.
- Contact Boys and Girls Club for donation approval.
- Create a handout to give store guests.
- Train sales team on properly communicating this request.
Each tactic maps to the strategy. Sending customers a rubber chicken with a note has a high chance of surprising and delighting them. A decent percentage of people will probably talk about it and follow instructions to leave a review. A magic trick can have the same effect.
Implementing Goals, Strategies and Tactics for Success
Without strong goals, strategies and tactics, your business will struggle to prosper. You’ll likely set goals that are overreaching or you’ll make decisions that don’t aid in your growth at all. By setting a vision and doing the work upfront, you will build a solid structure for growing your business and tackling opportunities.
Once you know your goals and make sure they are SMART, you can identify strategies to help you achieve them and then, the tactics needed to accomplish the strategies. From here, you are ready to embark on the journey to achieving your goals and experiencing profitable success.
For more advice on building a business, you can find Come Back to Bed on Amazon.
Mark Kinsley is President and CEO of Englander, a top-15 US mattress company founded in 1894. Furniture Today called him one of its “20 People to Watch,” and Home Furnishings Business recognized him as one of its “Forty Under 40.” Mark Quinn is the Co-Founder of Spink & Co, Farm-Grown Beds, and the VP of Key Accounts and Marketing for Sherwood Bedding. He’s a top industry blogger at Q’s Views and holds pioneering patents in biometric sleep-space technology. Together, they co-host Dos Marcos,The Galaxy’s Greatest Mattress Podcast (dosmarcos.co), with more than 185 episodes and hundreds of thousands of listens.