Setting targets for your business

Ever felt like surrendering to the fate of your clients showing up and accepting your product?

If you think your clients have all the darts and call the shots, you are not alone. This may deter you from setting targets for your business whether daily, weekly or even monthly.


What’s With The Setting Targets Story?

Last week while I was taking a group of girls through a business mentorship session, the question of setting weekly targets came up. Let me paint the picture of the day for you so that you are able to walk with me through this.

Fish business

Fried fish business


Twice a month, I meet these girls; five of them, for a two-hour business mentorship session. Each has her own small business and is working 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 detergent and the fifth is a hairdresser. Now, 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 sitting at a strategic road junction where they can connect with as many clients as they can. Talk of 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; approximately $50. 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 go!


Why am I mentioning this again? You ask.

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

Now, if you are reading this article and you are not from Kenya or this scenario sounds like child labor to you. Let me clear this up. It is possible to have a 17 years old mom in Kenya and sometimes she could be single with two kids. Fit in your piece to the puzzle. Fair enough?


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

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. You are welcome to join the club.


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 intend 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.

4 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 cannot force the client to buy, can you?

But here is the problem with that response. To a large extent, it means that 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? Hmmm?


Scoring Against Fate Through Setting Targets For Your Business

When you set targets, what you actually mean is that you will intentionally shape your day or week to hit the mark. You will do everything it takes to achieve that which you have intended. You are committed to SETTING and HITTING that target no matter what.


Or is it possible to hit a target that you haven’t set except by coincident/ 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 is that they operate without set targets. But have you noticed that even school children have target points that they aim to score in every exam? Athletes too. Why not you as a small business owner?


How To Set Your Targets For This Week

Before you start feeling guilty of the offense of not setting targets for your business, how about I 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, but 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 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. Chances are the ladies there have money to spare for your manicure service. Got it?

For a need-to-have product, you have greater opportunities to sell because your product isn’t a luxury to your surrounding market but a necessity.


  1. Note down a list of possible clients:

Before you began your 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.  Reason being, your product MUST be a solution to someone’s pain.

How did you arrive at selling that product to your target market? Do they NEED it?

The need to investigate the number of people who will use your product or service prior to setting up your business is key to your success.

If you missed this step at the beginning, investigate the demand for your product or service among similar businesses. Then, create a unique aspect of your product and test the response of at least 20 people on the need to have it. They had better not be your relatives. That will be the lower figure of possible clients.


  1. Calculate your profit based on possible clients

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

From the story I began with above, we could use the business of the girl selling Khangas. If she was to buy 10 Khangas worth Ksh. 3500, spend 250 for transport to and from the wholesale shop, Ksh. 100 to make phone calls and Ksh. 150 for lunch on the day that she goes to buy her merchandise, what will be the buying price for each Khanga?

Khanga for business

African women wearing Khanga during celebrations


10 Khangas = 3500

Transport  = 250

Phone calls = 100

Lunch  = 150

Total = 4000

 Each Khanga would cost (4000/10) = Ksh. 400


If she has to make any decent profit from selling each Khanga, she may want to consider adding at least a 30% markup to the buying price. The least she should sell each piece is Ksh. 520, making her a profit of Ksh. 120. Approximately $1.2 per Khanga.


Bearing in mind that Khangas are very important in her community, she can target to sell to 1 piece on an ordinary day and 3 pieces during an event. In a month, there is a possibility of having at least 2 events; births, wedding, dowry and deaths in her village. In a week, she should intend to sell 1 Khanga per day for 6 days and 3 on the 7th day. This totals to 9 Khangas in a week. Should there be no bargain in any sale, she has the confidence of making (120 * 9) Ksh. 1080 per week. That should be her target!


Painful Business in Your Business

The weird thing about setting targets for your business is that you have to keep studying your market. You also need to continually introduce your business to new people with the intention of converting them to clients. There are times that you will miss your target. But at other times, you will score and go beyond.


The secret is, SET THE TARGETS FIRST before you venture into your new business week. That way, you can check your progress every day to see if your business is growing or not.


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, it’s time for a review; set new 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 was able to set and defend their targeted profit for the week. Individually, each girl came up with a plan of how they could achieve their targets. They calculated the number of clients they intended to interact with every day. They also 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? Do you have the guts to set targets for your business this week? How many new clients do you intend to speak to about your business? How will you change your language or packaging of your product or service to suit the existing clients? Will that change draw your clients to using your product more? Until you write that plan and study it every morning before you begin your business, you could be chasing the waterfalls!

Would you like to share various ways in which you set targets for your business? Sharing is caring.

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