From the Editor: What’s in your forecast?
If you don’t have goals, you’ll never achieve them
January 20, 2021 By Colleen Cross
Every year at our company we set goals to improve our magazines, outline how we are going to achieve them and say how we will measure that achievement. For example, one of my goals last year was to design, carry out and present the results of an groundwater industry survey. I mapped out the questions we wanted to ask, decided when to conduct the survey and planned to publish results in the Fall issue – all steps on the way to achieving that goal.
Our goals are always about meeting our readers’ needs. In that case we wanted to create a baseline of data to help determine the state of this industry. We made a start and we will revisit that goal to try to encompass more contractors. All this is in order to learn about your challenges and priorities.
We sweat over the goals a bit but the truth is we need them. They push us to think deeply about what we could do better or more of – for the industry.
Thinking deeply might seem like something to be avoided, but stepping back to look at your business objectively can help you decide your next step.
NGWA’s Virtual Groundwater Week featured many smart, experienced and forward-thinking contractors and experts whose aim was to get others to plan ahead for their business. That includes creating depreciation and asset replacement schedules, setting aside part of your profits for future purchases, putting something away to cover leaner years and, yes, making arrangements to hand over your business when you retire.
Jeff Williams, of Spafford and Sons Water Wells in Vermont, handed out plenty of straight talk about ways to manage your business and come away with profits and a sense of control you can be proud of. That includes forecasting – looking at employee pay, including benefits, and the cost of goods sold. “Try to estimate your gross revenue forecast for next year and beyond,” Williams said. A profit target. For years, the veteran contractor said ran his business in a boom-and-bust cycle, alternately investing when the jobs were plentiful and cash was flowing, and tightening the purse strings when the work slowed. He now invests consistently and is able to weather the unpredictability of the economy and other factors that affect business.
Williams shared a goal he has set in motion: “I don’t want to live off my assets. I want to replace my assets and grow.”
Looking forward one, two, five years – maybe more – is a great antidote to looking back on the mess that was COVID-20. We all want to move forward, and with vaccines on the way we will Appreciating what we have in our lives right at this moment will help us understand what our future goals need to be.
What goals will you set for 2021 and beyond? Will you create a plan to replace and acquire new assets consistently and stick to it? Will you finally get the books in order? Will you commit to trying new recruiting strategies or mentoring a new employee? Will you finally “have that talk” with your family about exiting the business?
Whatever your goal is, we hope 2021 takes you a step toward it and toward personal and professional success.
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