Working Back From Your Big Goal

The idea of working back from what you want to achieve can seem counter-intuitive since people tend to think “I’ll do this and then that…”

However in a world where you have to make your own map, it is the easiest and quickest way to make sure you know the path from where you are to where you want to be.

In this example I imagine I own a retail stop and I want to build up a chain of stores.

My vision – in five years time I will have 15 stores each selling at least £500k of goods per year.

My current position is that I have one store selling £250k per year.

Step 1 – Take your vision and work backwards to identify milestone goals

  • At the end of year 4 I will have 10 stores selling £500k
  • At the end of year 3 I will have 7 stores selling £500k
  • At the end of year 2 I will have 4 stores selling £500k
  • At the end of year 1 I will have 2 stores selling £500k
  • In six months time I will have 1 store selling £500k

Since retail involves high costs and long term commitments, my initial priority is to boost the turnover and profitability of my existing store.

Then I can take the success formula and roll it out to extra stores.

Step 2 – Identify your constraints and what you can do to relieve the constraints

  • Cash to fit out  new stores and secure leases will be tight.The existing and new stores must be very profitable before more stores are opened so they each generate cash to support any bank loans.
  • My time is very limitedI need to have good managers in each store and a central buyer when I have two stores. A general manager will be needed after the third store is opened.
  • It may be difficult to identify and secure the right locations I need to work closely with a property expert to investigate 25 to 30 possible towns and cities and monitor the properties which become available.

Step 3 – Build up an outline plan for each major action.

Store openings will become a standard process from specification of the ideal retail location, shop fittings and design, merchandise and local promotions.

Step 4 – Flesh out the first goal with more specific goals and actions

This plan has two key elements:
1.    Making the existing store much more profitable
2.    To create the store opening process.

Goal 1 – To Make The First Store Sell £500k p.a. and generate £100k net profit within the next six months.

  • Launch a customer competition to start collecting customer and prospective customer names and contact details – to be in place by the end of week 1.
  • Start an email system to send news and offers to customers – up to 4 messages per month – by the end of month 1.
  • Review products – sales, profits and profit per square foot. Identify products to keep and drop by the end of month 2.
  • Identify and test new products to find the best profit generators – ongoing through the six months
  • Record “As Is” systems and processes for the store by the end of month 5.

Goal 2 – To open the second store and make it an immediate success with sales at the £500k p.a. level from the start within the next 12 months

  • Identify the best five towns or cities based on population, local area prosperity and competition – by end of month 7
  • Find and negotiate the lease for the second store by the end of month 9
  • Improve, test and prove systems for the existing shop by the end of month 8.
  • Complete the “shop in a box” specification – end of month 9.
  • Complete shop fitting – month 10.5
  • Open new store – end of month 11
  • Plan marketing & PR for new store – month 10

Other Thoughts

You may find that this is a process where you start off trying to achieve more than you can do as you work backwards.

You have a choice.

You either delay your big goals or you find a faster way of achieving what you want.

The important thing is that you have recognised the problem and made your decision on what’s right for you.

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