Usually this day of goal setting is a given. I just automatically schedule it and do it. Last year I really wasn't in the mood for it and didn't do it. Almost a year later, I can tell you that I paid for that. Up until a couple of months ago, when I finally did put some goals on paper, I felt very lost. In fact, it was a very dear friend of mine who strongly suggested I go back and read my own article in this magazine in the December 1996 issue, "And My New Year's Resolution Is . . ." (You can find it on the Internet at www.DWCdesigNet.com).
I read it and then followed my own advice. Now if you all had Internet access, you could go back and read that article and I wouldn't have to write this one! Actually I'm approaching this month's differently so you do need to read both.
1982—to be written up in a major publication. In June '97 I was on the cover of D&WC. Even though I was a regular writer, I had not consciously done anything to make this happen. 1984—teach window treatments. In February '95 I started teaching at Cheryl Strickland's new Professional Drapery Workroom School and taught for three years. There was only one thing I did to make this happen. When Cheryl and I first met, we discussed the need for a school. During the discussion, I said I would volunteer to teach if she started a school. 1984—compile Workroom Quality Standards. (This happened to be included as part of writing a fabrication book, for which I eventually lost the real heart.) At the International Window Coverings Expo in Atlanta, GA, in '99, I presented a seminar on Workroom Quality Standards as part of D&WC's Interior Fashions University and followed it with an article for the magazine. I am very pleased and honored that this year, WCAA chose to adopt these standards for the industry. 1995—Write a pricing book. This book, Price Your Work With Confidence, was finally finished and published in 2000, but I also published The Price List and Workroom Specifications in 1998, which were never on my goals list!
Even writing down your goals once a year does not mean they can't change during the year. That's perfectly OK. The important thing is to follow your heart and have a plan.
YOUR PAST PREPARES THE FUTURE
Here's some sound advice from Grace Moore: "Analyzing what you haven't got as well as what you have is a necessary ingredient of a career." In other words, where have you been and where do you want to go?
Here are some questions to ask yourself to stimulate your thinking process:
1.Are you truly happy with what you are doing? All of it?
Be completely honest with yourself. Don't be doing what you are doing because you think it will make you more money or because somebody else wants you to do it. If you are not happy at what you are doing, then success will be sour. Life is too short. Yes, there will be a few things you won't like to do, but they should only be a fraction of your business.
I know of many business owners who do both retail and wholesale and who really prefer to do one more than the other. However, they fear they won't have enough business if they give up the least favorable one. But spending some time doing more marketing for the more desirable part of the business will eventually lead to greater satisfaction, less frustration and more success.
2.What did you accomplish in the past year? Was it what you planned or did it just happen?
The important thing here is to decide if you are happy with the past year. What were the good points? What were the bad points? What caused them and what changes could have been made that would have led to a more favorable outcome?
3.Re-evaluate your mission statement.
If you don't have a mission statement, create one. Your mission statement would be why your business exists. Here is an example of a mission statement that we had posted in our workroom back in the 1980s. Actually someone else, and I'm sorry I don't know who, wrote it: "We are committed to quality performance. As an organization, and as individuals, we will continually seek out the specific needs of those who depend on us. We will then consistently satisfy these needs by doing everything right the first time."
Yours need not be anything like this. I have mine on the home page of my Web site ( www.workroomconcepts.com), which I recently modified. It's a bit lengthy. You know me, I'm long winded! In a nutshell, it says, "Workroom Concepts exists to help others succeed."
The purpose of your mission statement is to focus you on what you really want to accomplish. We all go through growth and changes, this is why it is necessary to update a mission statement periodically, and that may mean more than once a year.
4.What are your goals for the coming year? How do you get there?
I don't recommend that you do what I did with my written goals in the past - write 'em and file 'em. You can see how long it took for some of those goals to come to fruition. Instead, decide on one major goal in each phase of your life—work, personal, family, spiritual, etc. Work is only a part of your existence.
When you have determined what that major goal is, make a list of everything that must be done to achieve it. Then make a separate list for each one of those items of what must be done to achieve them, and keep going until you get to what you can do today or tomorrow.
Ideally, do a chart with all of these steps on it and put a date on each, subject to change as needed. And change will be needed. Keep this chart posted where you can see it. I have mine on the wall in my office, and I've colored each branch off the main goal a different color. When you accomplish a step, check it off.
I've also found it handy to keep another list right below this chart that has the immediate priorities on it. As it is finished, I start a new one. Use whatever method works for you. You may even add or delete branches as you go along depending upon the direction your heart takes you.
5.What makes you different from the competition? How would you like to be different?
I believe it is important to ask this question monthly, not just yearly. You must keep in tune to what the industry is doing and what your competition is doing. Last month, you may have been the only company offering motorization, but this month you discover three more companies are offering it now. You have to know what makes you different so you can explain it to your customers.
Developing goals, priorities and a focus are essential to your business. To do this it takes think time. Thinking is worth every minute or hour you give it, because it will more than pay you back in having more control and vision for yourself and your business. Here is what Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker once said, "I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through, then follow through."
I challenge you to do this, and if you do, your New Year will be phenomenal!
If you have any questions or comments about this article, previous articles or any topic of interest to workrooms, please contact me at:
Draperies & Window Coverings
840 US. Hwy One Ste. 330
N. Palm Beach, FL 33408
Web site: www.workroomconcepts.com
Kitty Stein, WCAA, is a 20-year veteran of the drapery workroom field, having owned and operated her own business for 18 years and having taught classes on window treatment construction. Until 1990, Stein and a partner owned a workroom with nine employees. She since has opened her own smaller workroom, Workroom Concepts, that has just one employee. She also does workroom consulting, seminar speaking and is the author of Order in the Workroom available through Draperies & Window Coverings and Price Your Work With Confidence.