2020 was a challenging year, and most people will be glad to see it in the rearview mirror. There’s nothing inherently magic about the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, however. If we want to get excited about the new year and its possibilities, we have to be willing to examine past performance, make changes, and set new goals. What are your 2021 goals for your auto repair shop?
Getting Hyped for 2021
While there isn’t anything magic about the transition to a new year, a fresh start does have the unique ability to energize people. There’s only one day separating December 31 from January 1, but psychologically it feels like something completely different. Anything is possible. A new year encourages people to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the new one. When people take steps to meet their goals, they get excited about small victories. That helps them to tackle larger goals over time and to succeed.
Why Set Goals for 2021?
The simplest answer is that if you do not set goals, will you ever achieve them? How much do people accomplish accidentally? For most of us, it’s very little. Taking the time to set goals at the beginning of the year will give you vision and motivation. In setting goals, it’s preferable to be SMART.
SMART is an acronym coined by George T. Doran that stands for:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
- Achievable (agreed, attainable)
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
In other words, don’t make your goal too general: “I want my auto shop to be more profitable in 2021.” Profitability is good. That’s a fact. However, it’s hard to measure a goal that is stated that way. When December 31st comes around again, without more specifics, will you be able to say you met your goal? Instead, set concrete goals for your shop and your staff members that are realistic and time-based. What do you want your shop to make in the first quarter as compared to the first quarter of 2020? Is that realistic given the current economy? Can your staff reach those goals if you give them enough incentive? If not, how can you set a goal that is both achievable and measurable?
If you are committed to objectively evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the past year or years, you should be able to come up with goals that will help address those weaknesses and take advantage of the strengths. There are many kinds of goals that you could set, but let’s take financial goals for example since 2020 was tough for so many small businesses.
Revenue goals would include improving the profitability of your:
- Annual Revenue
- Profit Margin
- Average Repair Order
To begin with, you should know what the current baseline is for all of the above so that you can measure them against any improvement. Then you need to break down your annual goals into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily goals. Develop a system of recording whether or not those goals are being met in your shop, and be disciplined about maintaining that data.
The next step is communicating those goals to your staff, to your technicians and service advisors, and giving them the proper incentives to get hyped about your 2021 goals too. Each of your staff members should know what they need to do to meet their goals in order to view their performance as successful. They also need to be able to see how they are measuring up over time.
Setting specific goals, tracking performance, and keeping records creates an infrastructure that functions to help your whole shop succeed. In a sense, we are all still kindergarteners inside. We like to see stars on our chart all in a row. Psychologically, the stars meant something then and still do. That’s satisfying. When goals are met and there are financial rewards attached to them, that’s even more satisfying.
What Are Your 2021 Goals?
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members for their support, their contributions, and their time this year and wish all of you a very Happy New Year. If your auto shop has experience with setting annual, quarterly, weekly, or daily goals and meeting them, we would love to hear from you about how you’ve been successful. Please leave your comments either here or in our forums. The Automotive Management Network is a great online resource in large part because of the experience of our members.