3 Keys to Success in 2024

Tim Lawrence | December 27, 2023

Looking to plan for 2024 but don't know where to start? Check out these three steps to creating a successful plan for 2024!

1. Set Clear Objectives 

Recognize the importance of strategic planning, even though it may seem obvious. Start by spending a day offsite with your leadership team or key employees. Envision your goals for 5, 3, and 1 year, using SMART objectives. Focus on 3-4 main company objectives and 3-5 for each department. This boosts engagement and provides a clear roadmap.

For instance, a company goal for 2024 could be to "Increase revenue from $3.2MM to $4.1MM." A Sales Department objective might be to "Increase 240 net accounts, earning $600,000." Now, get practical. How will you achieve this? Assess inventory needs, reconditioning capacity, capital, and staffing requirements. Set deadlines for goal completion.

Lastly, align compensation plans across the organization to avoid conflicting agendas. This streamlined approach enhances progress toward your objectives.

2. Implement Your Plan 

Implementing your Plan with SMART objectives involves fostering team connection and maintaining continuous communication. We utilize Asana, a cost-effective web-based task management tool, to document and adjust our plan dynamically. Avoid confining your Plan to stagnant Word or Excel files; it should be easily accessible and adaptable.

Initiate 2024 by sharing the Plan organization-wide. Communicate clear goals, such as growing by $2.1MM in gross revenue to enhance customer service, stabilize infrastructure, and ensure long-term business viability. Genuine communication fosters team buy-in, crucial for Plan success.

During the kick-off, establish department-specific expectations. Ensure your sales team understands the collections department goals and their contribution to overall results, alongside other departments.

Define when these expectations will be assessed. Weekly 15-45 minute tactical meetings maintain alignment, while monthly and quarterly leadership team meetings provide higher-level strategic performance reviews. This approach ensures ongoing Plan engagement and success.

3. Measure and Respond

With clearly outlined objectives, expectations, and a set schedule for monitoring Plan progress, the crucial next step is executing the Plan—setting apart mediocre businesses from great ones.

Evaluate performance using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the tangible outcomes of your Plan objectives. Establish a trend for your KPIs with at least a trailing 13-month data set. If lacking this information, don't fret; it's never too late to start tracking new indicators.

Analyze results alongside your leadership team. Delve into reasons for exceeding or falling short of month-over-month net account growth. Determine necessary adjustments to tactics, resource allocation, and assess impacts on the established budget. Identify any unforeseen consequences.

Assess your organization's culture. Determine team engagement levels and explore ways to enhance engagement, such as through training, events, and recognition. Evaluate workload balance and personnel suitability for the Plan, considering necessary changes and timing.

Hold your team accountable for results, starting with yourself taking overall responsibility for failures and crediting the team for major successes. Reference the KPIs to maintain objectivity and empower your leaders to provide solutions: “Help me understand what happened here and how do you think we can get back on track?”

Undoubtedly, these recommendations can propel your organization toward a successful 2024. However, this is just the beginning. Numerous resources are available to assist in setting and executing an annual plan. For instance, some auto dealers have found success using the book "Traction" by Gino Wickman. Others, including our organization, have engaged executive coaches to facilitate off-site workshops, ensuring productive planning sessions.

The BHPH and LHPH sector is highly personalized, given the distinctive nature of each dealership's operations, customer base, and business objectives. There isn't a universal approach to attaining goals, but proven strategies for success include establishing objectives, implementing a comprehensive plan, measuring progress through KPIs, and addressing areas that require improvement. These steps serve as reliable keys to achieving both short-term and long-term goals for your dealership.