Imagine letting fate decide how your clients respond to your product. Letting fate hold all the darts, call all the shots and leaving you to dance to its tune even if it means running down your business?

Scared of setting targets for your business?

When fate seems to win the game, most business owners, just like you and I avoid setting targets; daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly. Especially after a number of frustrating attempts a few days after deciding to charge for services offered through your talent. When you start charging for your pastries, put a price to your singing gigs, coaching, writing, event planning and their passion-based relatives.

That’s when all hell breaks lose!

But isn’t it easier to let fate choose those who need your services and shove them your way instead of wasting time trying to score a number of pre-decided sales per week?

Come on, people!

What’s With The Setting Targets Story?

Last week while taking a group of girls through a business mentorship session, the question of setting weekly targets for small businesses came up. Let me bring you up to speed with an sketchy picture of the day. 

Tilapia deep fried fish

Twice a month, I meet these girls; five of them, for a two-hour business mentorship session. Each has her own small business and works hard to ensure that the business thrives despite all odds. One sells deep fried fish, the other deep-fried potatoes, another Khangas, another home-made detergents and the fifth is a hairdresser.

Most of these businesses are learned from their parents in their childhood days or inborn gifts the girls desire to turn to convert to fine riches.

None of them has a physical building to call a shop. That leaves them to either sell their products door to door a.k.a hawking or sit at a strategic road junction where they can connect with as many clients as they can. In the blazing the heat of the day in Mombasa. Welcome to Kenya!

These girls have completely bought into the idea that they are well able to fed for their families despite not having capital above Ksh. 5,000; $50 thereabout. You may think this defines poverty, but it doesn’t. It defines a woman who is ready to create decent employment for herself.

Did I mention that they range between 17 and 21 years old? Well, there you are!

Why am I mentioning this again?

Because I believe every girl in the world has a right to earn a living and take care of herself and her family without submitting to beggary.

Now, if you are reading this article and you’re not Kenyan or this scenario sounds like child labor to you, let me clear this up. It is possible to have a 17 years old mom, single, with two kids or more, and without parents to assist her.

Does that piece fit in your puzzle?

Don’t start tearing yet, these girls have their stuff together. They are courageous; sometimes. 😉

I love them, or shall I say, I have come to love these girls. Naturally, I am attracted to people who are zealous about doing something good for themselves. That includes you baby!

The Clients Call The Shots… Or Do They?

While discussing the issue of setting targets in business, I asked the girls if they had any weekly targets for their businesses. How much profit do they intended to make by the end of the week, if at all?

Having gone through the pricing concept and helped them price their products and services, the topic of targets was bound to come up. It did, and that is what this article is all about.

Four of the girls confidently stated the amount of profit they intended to make in the next week. One girl stood her ground saying that the profit depended on if clients came around to buy her product!

Well, well, well, why do I feel like you too support that response?

She had it right. Her sales depended on the clients for sure. You can’t force the client to buy, can you?

But here is the problem with that response. To a large extent, it means that the F word is the dominant and she is the submissive. Oh, I mean FATE has more points than she does.

But who does the business belong to again?

It is easy to let fate run the show and blame it for the losses in your business. Think about it, what do you have to lose if you don’t meet the targets that you never set?

blindly shooting at a target

Your life without setting targets for your business.

Scoring Against Fate Through Setting Targets For Your Business

Setting your business targets means you commit to intentionally shape your day or week to hit the mark. That you actually have a plan and will do everything it takes to make it happen.

Or is it possible to hit a target you haven’t set except by coincidence; some lame luck?

Maybe you should try leaving the success of your business to luck. By chance, you might be successful.

The problem with many small business owners, especially those running talent-based businesses, is that they operate without set targets. School children set target points before sitting for their exams. Athletes too. Why not you as a small business owner?


How To Set Your Targets For This Week

Before you start feeling guilty for not setting targets for your business, let me walk you through what you need to do.

  1. Evaluate your product

Is your product a nice-to-have or a need-to-have in regards to your target market?

That may sound rude, so let me explain.

Suppose you offer manicure services in an estate where the majority people who pass by your shop are low income earning men. If you are targeting their wives, who are majorly housewives, that’s a steep state.

The ladies will pass by your shop and say, “Oh that’s beautiful” and then hurry past as they go to buy vegetables in a neighboring shop. Your shop is better off in the next estate where those men work. The ladies there have money to spare for your manicure service.

Makes sense now?

To make money in the estate packed with low income earners, opt for a need-to-have product. Such a product isn’t a luxury to your surrounding market. It is a necessity.

In the case of my mentees, all had a need-to-have product. The hairdresser focused on low-priced hair styles only.

  1. List the possible clients

Before setting up your small business, you must have tested your product to see how many people would need it. I hope you did, but if you didn’t, DO IT NOW!

See if  your product is a solution to someone’s pain. Find out who needs it so you know who to pursue and woo into your shop. This involves investigating the number of people who can use your product or service whether or not they are aware of it.

Then, create a unique aspect of your product and test the response of at least 20 people on the need to have it. Avoid your relatives in this test, they are likely to say they need it out of sympathy. Work with strangers and court them into falling in love with your product. Educate them about it.

This is your tribe; the possible clients

  1. Calculate the possible profit

Your selling price largely depends on the buying price, supporting expenses and your markup.

Let’s work with the Khanga-selling business from one of my mentees above.

If she bought 10 Khangas worth Ksh. 3500, spent 250 for transport to and from the wholesale shop, Ksh. 100 to make phone calls and Ksh. 150 for lunch on the day she goes to buy her merchandise, what will be the buying price for each Khanga?

Evaluating the true cost of your product

Evaluating the true cost of your product

To make a decent profit from selling each Khanga, the girl must add at least a 30% markup to the true cost of each piece. Meaning, the least she should sell each Khanga at Ksh. 520, making her a profit of Ksh. 120 per piece!

Bearing in mind that Khangas are very important in her community, she could target to sell to one piece on an ordinary day and three during an event.

In a month, there was a possibility of a minimum of two events; births, wedding, dowry and funeral, in her village. In a week, her target was to sell one Khanga daily for six days and three on the seventh.

This totals to 9 Khangas in a week. Without any bargain in any sale, she had the confidence of making (120 * 9) Ksh. 1080 per week.

Isn’t that target motivating?


Painful Business in Your Business

The weird thing about setting targets for your business is, you have to keep studying your market. You also need to keep courting new members into the business to grow your tribe and thereafter convert them to true believers in your product. That way, they become your evangelists, carrying the gospel of your business far and wide.

That’s the easiest way to become the go-to person whenever your product is needed. That doesn’t mean you will always hit the target. But it assures you of scoring and overflowing! 

Don’t you want an overwhelming sale in your business ever once in a while? Weekly even?

The secret is in setting your business targets way before you venture into a new business week. That way, you can check your progress every day to see if your business is growing or not. And then you can take the necessary measures to grow your business such as:

  • Increasing your products,
  • Changing the way you teach your target clients about your product
  • Lowering the price (only if absolutely necessary)
  • Creating a better product
  • Introducing a free gift to go along with your product

Regardless of the nature of your business, it is your sole responsibility to plan ahead and commit to hitting your target daily then weekly. When you set and hit your targets continually over at least 4 weeks, review the targets. This is how those who run bigger businesses than yours grew to the level they are.

Challenge yourself to grow by set measures.

… Actualizing Your Set Targets

By the end of the business mentorship session, each girl should be able to set and defend their targeted profit for the week. Each should come up with a plan of how they should achieve their targets. They should also calculate the number of clients they intend to interact with every day. And finally, they should set their mind to rise up every morning with the aim of speaking to a certain number of new people about their products.

I hope to update you on the progress after the next visit.

What About You and Your Business Targets?

If you believe you have the guts for setting targets for your business, I have three questions to get you started up this week.

  1. How many new people do you plan to teach about your product and where will you find them?
  2. How will you change your language or packaging of your product or service to suit the existing clients?
  3. How much money do you intend to make from the combine sales of the old and new clients?

I dare you.

Until you write that plan, study it every evening before going to bed and morning before starting your business, you are chasing waterfalls!

Case closed!

Update on the progress of the five girls as of June 9, 2020

Two of the girls decided to go for casual labor with the local companies despite the claimed increase in unemployment in Kenya. One took a tailoring course last year and was hired by the Khanga seller as a tailor. The home-made detergent maker supplies the same in 10 litres jerry cans to small restaurants, schools and individuals in her neigborhood, while the Khanga seller runs her own Khanga and tailoring shop. And now you know who works for her.

Now, that’s that News to write home about!

Sharing is caring. Are you setting targets for your business, and if so, how do you go about it? 

People who care always share!


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