Thinking

Jumpers for goalposts?

Jumpers for goalposts? The danger of not setting out effective agency goals

Are you disappointed with your agency business performance? You may be setting your goals in the wrong way.

A common cause of an underperforming agency is that they end up setting the wrong types of goals in the wrong type of way.

I had a particularly sharp client recently suggest that lowering their goals, and therefore aspirations, could be a better way forward to avoid disappointment. Although you’d probably feel better about life if goals were easier to obtain, for an ambitious agency this isn’t an option. In fact, it’s often not the goal itself, but the way goals are developed and tackled that’s the most likely cause of failure.

Creating a Vision for the business was a basis for a good strategy, it's actually the best way to develop your goals too.

Having a three year vision and some clear KPIs allows you then to break that Vision down into manageable chunks and think about the short, medium and long term goals needed to achieve it.

If your aspiration is to be a £5m turnover business, what kind of shape do you need to be in one years time? What kind of investment are you going to need to make now to do that?

The worst thing for me is to meet a business six months or a year later only to find that things haven’t moved on. The business plan that was so carefully crafted at the beginning of the year is dusted off and reviewed, only to find that the targets haven’t been hit. I have a big problem with business plans.

Setting effective goals is a process that a business needs to go through. It’s not just a spreadsheet activity. Here are some tips to developing them in the right way:

1. Do a PAST YEAR REVIEW with the team, what went well and what went badly? Why? What are the patterns?

2. Create some BEST ADVICE. From the issues you’ve identified what lessons can you learn that you can repeat and tell yourself over the next 12 months?

3. Are there any LIMITING MINDSETS in the team? What is the negative self-talk that exists in the business that may be limiting you and your ability to achieve the goals you deserve. Just because the business has always done something or achieved certain results is that a reason to keep doing it?

4. Do your RESEARCH. What are others achieving in the market? What are your competitors doing? What can you learn and do better?

5. What do you want to get out of the business in 3 years? Be honest. What is this all for! Match your personal ASPIRATIONS to that of the business and then assess your aspirations against risk, reward, experience and effort needed to get there.

by Miles Welch 
Partner at Waypoint Partners

Waypoint Partners are a leading growth advisory firm, working with shareholders and their leadership teams in the creative, marketing and technology sectors to grow and realise value. Are you planning for agency growth in the next 1-3 years? We would be happy to help you achieve your growth targets. Please feel free to give us a call on T +44 (0) 203 282 7598 or send us an email via angela@waypointpartners.co.uk. We look forward to starting the conversation.

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