Interview with a Small Business Owner (College Pro Painting)
How does goal setting impact a business plan?
Interview with a Small Business Owner of a College Pro Painting Business
The following is an interview with an owner of a College Pro Painting business. He was able to develop a set of goals and strategies through a training program administered by an upper-level employee of the company. In the interview we discuss how he set, measured, and accomplished his goals for the business.
Questions and Answers:
What are some of the type of goals which you have set for yourself and your business for this year?
“Well, I set weekly goals, which are leads, estimates, and jobs booked”
Could you explain a little more about this process?
The goals I set are on different levels… If my final goal is to gross $100,000 for the summer, and there are 20 weeks to book jobs, that means that I have to book $5000 in sales each week. So, each step builds on the other one in order to reach my targeted sales.”
Have you been meeting your goals so far?
“For the most part, yeah.”
What exactly do you mean by that?
“So far I have been able to meet my sales goals, but not my leads or estimates goals, but that’s okay because my success ratio is high.” (success ratio is percentage of estimates that result in sales)
What are your individual short term goals?
“I try to get 10 leads per week (leads are contact information from a homeowner who is interested in having an estimate for painting), at least 7. 5 of those leads I need to schedule for an estimate (an estimate is the proposed price for a painting job), and out of the 7. 5 estimates I need to book 2.5 jobs per week (a job “booked” is a future sale)”.
What are your individual long term goals?
“I am going for $100,000 gross sales which comes out to a $20,000 net profit
How can you have such a large discrepancy between you’re your gross sales and your net profit?
“Labor is about $40,000, overhead is $15,000, royalties are $15,000, and another $10,000 I can’t remember what it’s for, so we’ll call it miscellaneous.”
How realistic are your short term goals?
“They are high, but attainable.”
How realistic do you think your long term goal is?
“Also high, but attainable.”
How do your goals compare to other painting company owners who have started through College Pro?
“The average person in this business makes $88,000 in gross sales, with a profit of around $15,000.”
Will you be surprised if you don’t meet your goal?
“I would be disappointed, but not surprised.”
Why would you not be surprised by this?
“Well, I set a pretty high goal for myself, and I realize that there are a lot of other factors out there that may hurt the business. But, I am confident I will make atleast a $80,000 gross, with a $13,000 profit, which isn’t too bad.”
What do think is more important to your business: long term or short term goals?
“Meeting short term goals are most important because they ultimately determine whether or not you reach your long term goals… If you fail to reach your short term goals you will be too far behind to reach your long term goals.”
Do you find that achievement of your goals or failure to achieve your goals influence your self-efficacy, or the way you feel about yourself?
“No, not really, because I have to keep a certain level of confidence to book jobs… Shrug it off when things don’t go your way.”
How are you able to evaluate yourself and your business?
“Weekly I have to evaluate how well I have performed. If I had a bad week I critique myself on any flaws/weaknesses that are holding me back, and try to make changes for the future.”
What the most important factor you use to evaluate yourself and the business?
“Ultimately I evaluate myself based on my monetary goals; the short term goals don’t play as big of a part in my mind, even though I know they are important.”
How stressful is your job?
“Very, on a scale of 1-10, probably around an 8.”
“Because I have invested a lot of money into this, and there is an ever present fear of failing to meet my goal because of outside factors that I have no control over (bad market for painting)”
Does the pursuit of goals make your job more fun?
“It makes it rewarding and gives you motivation, even when you fail to reach your goals, you can probably figure out why you didn’t meet your goals, and change what you did wrong because of it.”
Did you realize that this job would be stressful?
“I knew there would be some stress, but didn’t fully realize how crazy it would be.”
Was your job training you received from College Pro leave you enough knowledge/skill to reach all of the goals you set out for this business?
“The training went over and above all my expectations, it has made me very capable of accomplishing my goals.”
Are you satisfied with your job so far?
“No, because there are still many areas that I need to improve on.”
Setting Goals for any Business
Using Goal-Setting in your Business Plan
While this interview questions were based on his painting business, I believe that the underlying themes of goal-setting (short-term and long-term) can apply to almost any business.
The saying goes “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, and goal-setting is one of the most important factors that you have setting up a business plan.
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