Goal Setting & Achieving (Avoid common mistakes)

I enjoy goal setting. I have a lot going on in my businesses and my personal life, so it’s important to make the most of my time and effort.

Goals Projects Task ArtsI’m looking forward to a new year, its opportunities, and possibilities. I’ve found the best way to approach goal setting any time of year, is to start with the end in mind. What do you want? Tune out what others are striving for. I suggest designing your business to be not only profitable and sustainable but enjoyable. Many overlook this part believing that money or profits will make them happy. That doesn’t happen if you no longer enjoy what you do. Don’t sacrifice your personal life.

Many set a goal and hope they achieve it. I say set a goal and have a plan to achieve it.

Start with a good, better, and best, goal benchmarks. Examples: Sales, Net profit, or Gaining back time each week

  • Your good goal is reachable
  • Your better goal is a stretch
  • Your best goal will leave you amazed

Having the three goal benchmarks makes it exciting and allows you to focus on projects needed to achieve the goal. This allows you to be flexible and adjust projects to allow for change. Remember the goal stays fixed until it is reached.

What I will not do is overload myself. I see many owners creating a long list of goals. I find it’s really a list of projects. Here is my goal setting Framework. Goal, Projects, Tasks

Goal Projects Tasks ArtYou can set goals for each area of your life. You are more than work. Use this framework for goal setting in all areas of your life.

Business, Personal, Relationships, and Health

 GOAL: Pro thinking about goals. A goal is more than a metric or an outcome to achieve. It has a ‘so that’ component or benefit.  Here are a couple examples:

Goal: Increase sales or profits so that I can offer more pay and benefits to my team because they are a productive and caring team.

Goal: Work fewer hours a week so that I have more time for my family because I want healthy relationships.

PROJECTS A project is a plan that supports the goal. Using the same examples

Projects to support increase sales or profit goal.

1) Understanding and knowing your numbers. Assessing how well you understand your numbers will support increasing sales or profits.

2) Align your team with the goal of increased sale or profits. Aligning your team to empower them supports the goal of cutting back so you’re not working as many hours.

Projects to support gaining back time each week goal.

1)Assess where you spend most of your time. What does your day look like? Track what you are spending time on for a couple of weeks.

2) What roles or activities are in your skillset and what are not. Are you spending most of your time in a role or on activities you enjoy? Are you making the most of your skillset?

TASKS Actions or steps someone takes to complete the project.

Tasks to support increase sales or profits projects.

Example: Review your management software training and features. Make a list of questions for your bookkeeper, accountant, or coach. Understand your numbers and dig deeper to find areas to improve your sales and profits. If you need help get it.

Tasks to support gaining back time each week projects.

Example: You’re working many more hours than you should have to. It’s affecting other areas of your life. Set clear expectations: Share the systems and processes that are in your head. Start with bullet points. Then details. Get input from your team. Explain the benefits of increased billable hours for them. Collaborate ideas for shop efficiency and productivity.

There are lots of ways to show your team you value and appreciate them. Use their skill sets to create a win, win, win, environment. For your business, you, and your team.

A goal is a great way build the momentum needed to keep going even when we face challenges. The goal stays the same, but the projects may change as needed to achieve the goal.

RECAP: Get clear on your goal, choose the projects that align with and support your goal, then implement with the tasks needed to complete each project. Remember to outsource and delegate what you can.

Mistakes or Traps to Avoid

I see too many owners/leaders or managers confusing goals and projects which can cause overload. This is when you find yourself being pulled in many different directions. Overload can lead to burnout and crush your joy.

The other challenge is once you determine the projects needed, trying to do all of them yourself. You may be a good fit for some but don’t forget to outsource or delegate. It’s freeing and you will get more done.

Owner/Leader Tip – To empower your team, you’ll have to let go of some of what you do. Keep these 3 things in mind.


Reflect on last year or last quarter. What worked and what didn’t? What were the circumstances?

How much money, time, people, and skills did you have available to you?

  • Money – Budget for all the different areas of your business?
  • Time – How many hours did you work? Did you allow for a personal life?
  • People- Do you have the right number of people in the correct roles?
  • Skills – What are the best skills for each role?

Capacity of your business. How much work (billable hours) should your business be capable of producing? It’s math. EXAMPLE: Take the number of techs and multiply it by the hours they work. 4 techs x 8 hours a day = 32 hours a day. Take 32 hours a day and multiply it by the number of days you’re operating in a week, month, or year to get the capacity. Remember to allow for holidays, time off and efficiency. Breaks, tool truck time, moving vehicles will take away from the 8 hours each day. Review these features in your shop management software to assess where your team is. Set a goal from there. Collaborate with your team.


Clarity on your goal/plan and expectations. Know who will do what and when.

Share your goal/plan and expectations with your team. Including what they can expect of you.

Alignment vs Buy in Team members don’t need to be sold when they see the benefits.


Make it a win-win-win for the business, team, and customers.

Delegate to empower your team.

Be a resource but don’t take over

If you set one goal and hit it, great! But if you don’t, it’s easy to feel defeated. Try setting good, better, and best goal benchmarks. Even if you don’t hit your best, you might surprise yourself and hit your better goal.

Remember: The key to reaching your goals is to break them down. This way you can reassess, adjust, and assign projects as needed. Here’s to an exciting, profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable year.

Maryann CroceMaryann Croce, a certified partner of Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year™, is an operations coach/speaker and creator of ‘3-Day Weekends’ Coaching. Her company Small Biz Vantage specialized in performance and leadership development for automotive and skilled trade business owners. She has been an auto shop owner since 1999. You can reach Maryann at (203) 913-7741 or maryann@SmallBizVantage.com Maryann speaks on achieving goals and work-life fulfillment SmallBizVantage.com