Ask the owner of a struggling business what their plans are, and you will likely hear, “Bring client numbers up.” Pose the same question to their more successful competitor and you can expect an answer that includes clearly established and articulated, specific goals.
Like any company, the success of a colocation data center hinges on the ability of its managers or owners to set and attain positive goals. The way to do that is SMART goal setting.
SMART Goals Explained
SMART is a popular acronym for the approach businesses take to turn vague and intangible goals into real and actionable ones. The five elements of a successful goal are as follows:
- Time bound
It’s fine to be ambitious, but all goals must be attainable given the available resources. This type of limitation may stifle those who believe they should be able to achieve anything that they set their mind to.
Goals need to be specific and clearly defined. Instead of “Bring client numbers up”, a colocation data center manager should state, “Reorganize the server hosting rooms to create 500 square feet of more space and accommodate 20 more clients.”
Once a goal becomes tangible, it becomes easier to create an action plan to support it. You can’t put together an itinerary if you don’t know where you are going.
All goals must be measurable. What is the benchmark for success? Without one, an action plan is like a soccer game without a scoreboard.
Add milestones to the “grow client numbers” goal to confirm that you’re headed in the right direction. It can even help to post a chart in the manager’s office to keep the entire sales and marketing team on track and focused on the targeted results.
But if a colocation data center manager has decreed that your team will triple the company’s business revenue by the end of the year, and the data center is not large enough to support the necessary number of clients, the goal is unattainable and pointless. A better choice would be “We will move to a larger facility within two years and triple the company business in five.”
For a goal to be achievable, it has to take the present realities of the local market and economy into account. If there have been a lot of layoffs in the community or two new competitors have opened in the vicinity, a goal to double last year’s revenue by December is simply not relevant to the current state of the market.
On a more personal level, goals also need to be relevant to the entire team. If achieving them means a bonus or salary increase, everyone will be much more motivated to attain them.
As the saying goes, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.” In business, goals only get achieved when there’s a time frame involved. If a colocation data center manager wants to sign on 30 new clients or increase revenue by 30%, a timeline is important. Dreams can come true, but only if they have time-driven focus. In other words, goals must be time bound.
Once a company’s business goals are SMART, they should be broken down into tasks and initiatives, periodically reviewed, and adjusted if necessary. Goal setting is key to business success, so be SMART about them.
Does your colocation data center pursue well-defined and realistic goals? Or are goals expressed in terms of overall achievements? Sound off in the Comments below.
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