4 Reasons Why You Missed Your Target And How To Fix It

Uncategorized Sep 23, 2020

You can't hit a target you can not see and you can not see a target you do not have. - Zig Zigglar

 Last weekend my husband and my daughter went to the country with friends where they could have a little social distancing fun in the sun and in the great outdoors. While there, they rode ATVs, went on tractor rides and did a little target shooting. While this was not her first time, my daughter learned a few things about hitting her targets.

At first, it was difficult because she was not experienced with a gun and she did not know the necessary techniques that would help her hit the target. During her first few rounds, she needed guidance; someone with experience to show her the steps and the structure - as they say safety first. Then she had the opportunity to take a few trial rounds. Oh boy! She missed almost every time. When asked what happened, she said "I couldn't see the target and I didn't know what I was supposed to be hitting". She was basically shooting at any and everything and hitting nothing.

That's what happens to far too many of us in business. We step to the plate, and just start shooting; often without guidance, without a plan, and without a clear target. We feel if we just shoot, we've got to hit something. But is that something enough to sustain operations, especially during our most difficult times?

This past week, I had virtual coffee and conversation with my friend and colleague, Michael Burke, where we discussed the statistics and habits of small businesses when it comes to hitting targets. Together Michael and I have over 60 years of experience coaching and consulting C-Suite executives and what we surmised is target shooting for small businesses is an unfortunate haphazard event that does not get enough focus nor structure and for that reason it's extremely painful yielding heartbreaking results.

Our experience shows there are four key reasons small businesses are not hitting their targets:

  1. They don't have a clearly defined plan. As mentioned, many just shoot from the hip, hope something drops and except that as the opportunity of a lifetime. Small business owners have told me they don't know how to market and they hate sales. However, there are two critical components of building a successful and sustainable business. Continuing to work with these same businesses, we've been able to change their trajectory just simply by helping them clarify their targets and establishing a plan of attack.
  2. They don't have a structure for business development. Remember, safety first. If you don't have a way of monitoring activity, you don't have a way of measuring success. Incorporating a necessary structure helps to build sales and marketing competencies, allows you to become consistent in the market, and further gives you the capacity to predict success.
  3. They don't have the motivation to keep the process going. Once again, businesses are shooting from the hip and, unfortunately, following the laws of insanity which is doing the same things over and over again yet expecting different results. Target shooting, also known as marketing and business development in business, requires motivation. Instead of following the laws of insanity, small business owners need to incorporate Ivan Pavlov's laws of conditioning. Developing motivating triggers throughout the business development life cycle for all who are involved in the process (and that means internal and external components) is critical. If you want to repeat success, you have to reward the actions you want repeated.
  4. They don't have a pipeline of future opportunities. Too many small businesses bank on one really good opportunity and unfortunately become a one hit wonder. To be sustainable, businesses must constantly add qualified opportunities to their pipeline. This prevents the "end-of-cycle" urgency that occurs when a contract is about to end.

My daughter mastered these steps as she learned the ropes of target shooting. She stopped shooting from the hip and crafted her plan, followed a structure, became super motivated because of a little wager that was put on the table and added more bullets to her arsenal. She learned consistently hitting your target requires focus, guidance, motivation and consistency.


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