Volume 38, Issue 2, February 2003


It’s Never Too Late
Setting Business Goals for 2003
by John Baker

The saying, “better late than never,” is true in many aspects of life and it applies to the glass business as well. If you are a glass shop owner who hasn’t already set goals for 2003, you should immediately do so. Before getting started, there are a few general questions you should ask yourself.

Important Questions
    1. Does your business have a plan and specific goals? Your competition and your prospects probably do, so it’s crucial that you have some business strategies as well.

    2. Will your business be reactive or proactive?
    3. What’s important to your business? What’s not?

    4. Where should your business focus its efforts, time and marketing dollars in 2003?

    5. What changes will affect your business positively in 2003 and beyond? 

One of the great things about camouflage, cover and concealment in a combat situation is the simple truth that you can’t hit what you can’t see. The analogy in business is simple: if you do not have clear, defined goals and objectives, it’s a pretty good bet that you’re not going to see or hit them.

Identifying Problem Areas
The following format could help you identify key areas that need work, or successful projects that need to be expanded or developed. It will also help identify key glass business niches 
that the competition may have missed in 2002. The plan is referred to as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). 

Strengths: This is the fun part: list your best practices, skills and traits, (especially the ones that are unique to your glass business.) Add what really sells, what earns you repeat customers, what special services you offer, etc. 

Weaknesses: Normally companies and individuals will spend an inordinate amount of time on strengths, but very little time on faults and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. Think of areas that need work and special attention. A clear understanding of your shortcomings makes it so much easier to set up this year’s specific goals and objectives. Sometimes owners can be blind to some of these faults, so it is important to encourage positive and negative feedback from customers and employees: for example, a simple survey may surprise you. This will tell you how your business rates in areas like customer service, follow-up, prospecting, response time, dependability, closing large projects and training.

Opportunities: Take a hard look at demographics, statistics and your marketplace.
Should you try something new? Who uses glass and related products? In what areas has your competition been successful? What have they avoided? What has worked in other cities and regions? What has failed? Do you network and research to find new ideas and answers or do you wait for others to shape your market and future? 

Threats: Usually glass shop owners think of low prices and competition as ever-present threats to their business. 

Finalizing the Plan
Only with a crystal clear picture and an honest appraisal of 2002 can 
business owners make solid, achievable goals for 2003. Owners must have 
information and lists of lessons learned to draw from or else new objectives will simply be vague dreams. 


John Baker
is an instructor for the Sandler Sales Institute in Irvine, Calif. Baker has been involved in sales training for more than 15 years and has several years of experience working with companies in the glass industry. 


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