When I was Vice President of Creative Services at Conseco, we were always out of literature for key products. In the insurance business literature is all you must sell, so these outages would cripple our sales team. Our out-of-stock list was routinely close to 300 different items. We had numerous meetings on the subject, nothing ever changed.

So, I stopped talking about procedures and policy and asked a simple question “If our goal is an outage level of 100 what should we do?”

Defining a specific target, instead of vague “get better” gave a focus to our discussions. Every day we knew exactly how far we were from our target.

We felt confident we could make significant progress within two months, so we set a specific date to hit the target. The date gave us the sense of urgency we needed to keep this goal in the forefront of our discussions.

We hit our goal three days before the deadline.

There are several important lessons for small business owners in this story:

  1. Define quantifiable goals, with a specific deadline.
  2. Create and follow an action plan.
  3. Track your progress.
  4. Involve others, do not assume you can do it on your own. We would never have succeeded without the support of the printer, inventory team, and other managers.
  5. Celebrate the win!

Is it time you took a fresh look at the problems holding your business back?  Schedule a working session today.