What are your goals?  What are your objectives? Where do you want to take your business this year?

These are questions I ask all prospective clients, and the responses are often fascinating: “I want to build a client base so I can have a comfortable lifestyle,” says Tom. When I ask what he means by this, Tom rambles on but doesn’t say anything meaningful.

“I want to meet my quotas,” says Shirley. And when I ask what these quotas are, she describes a formula that even she doesn’t understand.

When I ask, “How much money do you want to make this year?” or “What are your sales goals?” there’s generally silence and then ”I never thought about it that way.”

To be successful in business, you need to have clearly defined, measurable, and quantifiable goals. You need to keep score. You need to keep performance-against-plan records.

Imagine playing golf, tennis, baseball, football, basketball or hockey without keeping score.  How would you know if you played well or poorly? Won or lost? Were getting better or worse? Now imagine running a business without keeping track of income and expenses, or profits and losses. How would you know whether you were making or losing money?

Should you have given yourself a reward because business was great, or should you have taken a pay cut because business was terrible?’

Without goals — and a way of measuring your performance — it’s impossible to know if you’re on track or hopelessly lost and circling the drain.

For example, if you want to make $100,000 this fiscal year, how much revenue would you need to generate, at what margin? You need to create a plan for how to earn it. Otherwise, it will remain only a pipe dream.

Let’s break the goal down into bite-sized pieces:

 $200,000 a year is:

  • $50,000 a quarter
  • $16,000 a month
  • $4,000 a week
  • $800 a day
  • $100 an hour

So, what do you need to do to generate that $100 per hour?

Jim never much cared for cold calling, but one day he got an idea and said to himself, “I’m going to keep records of my dialing activities.” After talking it through with his coach, he decided to keep a pad of paper on his desk and make a small circle on the paper each and every time he dialed the phone. When he actually connected with and spoke with someone, he put a check mark in the circle.

When he found someone who wanted him to keep in touch, he put a hash mark through the check mark. And when he booked an appointment, he put a larger, double hash mark through the check mark.

The first month, he didn’t spend much time on the phone, perhaps 15 to 20 dials a day, a total of just over 300 for the month — but he made $9468 in commissions.

Jim figured out that he earned $28.95 each time he dialed the phone, whether he spoke to a person or not. A lightbulb went on in his head. “If I double my dialing, I’ll probably double my earnings.”  And he did.

Today, Jim’s goal is to be on the phone, cold calling, for at least two hours a day. It’s the most important activity he does. He schedules an appointment with himself for cold calling between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. and allows no interruptions. His income has increased dramatically.

Remember the 80/20 rule: if 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your activities then 80 percent of your time is WASTED.

The goal isn’t to work harder. The goal is to work smarter.