Goal setting has been a cornerstone of effective business management well before the formalisation of the theory by American psychologist Edwin A. Locke in 1968*. It is a benchmark against which entrepreneurs evaluate their professional pursuits, often becoming a qualifying factor for their self-assessment. 
Embracing the role of being your own boss opens up a myriad of achievements and goals. Yet, for franchisees, the challenge lies in sustaining motivation without the conventional oversight of a line manager or the reference of a sales chart. How can one effectively track and drive growth without these familiar structures? Here, Sarah Richardson and Nick Skinner, long-term Business Development Managers for pet-care franchise Petpals, explain how they support franchisees to determine, reach and evaluate goals and how this strategy positively impacts both focus and motivation. 
Tailored to every need 
Entrepreneurship encompasses a rich tapestry of diversity, spanning various industries, skill sets and personal aspirations. Recognising the distinct circumstances, strengths and challenges franchisees face on this dynamic journey underscores the importance of a personalised approach to goal setting. By adopting a customised strategy, franchisees can harmonise their goals with their unique vision, fostering a deep sense of ownership and motivation. This approach empowers them to establish objectives that resonate with their passion and purpose. 
At Petpals, we champion a metaphorical open-door policy, actively encouraging franchisees to seek interim reviews and support as needed. For new franchisees, the initial goals set at launch – such as client targets, monthly turnover or staffing objectives – lay the foundation for a tailored growth trajectory. As franchisees become more established, their focus naturally evolves toward diverse goals, such as staff expansion, effective time management or strategic business growth. Our strategies are meticulously crafted to align with these individual aspirations and we consistently monitor progress, conducting thorough goal analyses and resetting objectives when necessary. 
More than just sales 
In contrast to traditional metrics, gauging a franchisee’s success requires a more expansive perspective. While sales remain a key indicator, our robust working relationship with franchisees at Petpals enables us to assess success or progress through various lenses. Our evaluation encompasses factors such as profitability, adaptability to market dynamics and a nuanced understanding of each franchisee’s needs in a given year. 
Although sales are crucial, a holistic set of objectives should encompass a range of aspects, including enhancing products and services, operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and fostering innovation. This multifaceted strategy aims to fortify the business’s overall resilience, offering a buffer against risks associated with market fluctuations and evolving consumer behaviours. 
Overcoming obstacles 
In times of adversity, goal setting serves as a valuable tool – offering clear objectives, guidance and a roadmap for improvement. Collaborating closely with franchisees to customise these goals instils dedication to addressing specific weaknesses. We embed opportunities for training and support within the goals, creating a structured framework for consistent monitoring and feedback. This approach incorporates incentives linked to goal attainment, cultivating a mindset of ongoing enhancement and fostering open communication and transparency throughout the journey. Periodic reassessment and adjustment of goals in response to changing circumstances ensure a strategic and supportive approach, ultimately elevating franchisee performance. 
At Petpals, we recognise that franchisee underperformance may not always stem solely from their actions. External factors, such as economic fluctuations or personal challenges, can impact their business operations. Consequently, we prioritise proactive engagement with franchisees encountering these hurdles, offering empathetic support and proposing solutions to help navigate their difficulties. We understand that there are occasions when our presence alone is crucial, guiding them toward potential solutions and goals to facilitate their return to a successful track. 
Charting the course 
Whether entering a new chapter later in life or embracing entrepreneurship with aspirations for a fulfilling, enduring career, strategic goal setting becomes the bedrock for optimising the advantages of investing in a franchise. Crafting a successful strategy for the future demands a comprehensive approach that spans various career timelines and aspirations. It should acknowledge and address the distinct requirements of budding entrepreneurs striving to establish a lasting business or experienced franchisees contemplating succession plans to enjoy the fruits of their hard work in retirement. 
At Petpals, our approach is finely tuned to cater to the diverse needs and aspirations of entrepreneurs at various stages of their professional journey – ensuring that franchisees extract optimal value from their investment. Our goal-setting framework facilitates a smooth transition from the corporate world for those entering the franchise landscape after a lengthy corporate career, often spanning three decades or more. It aligns with their commitment to establishing a thriving legacy when selling their business. 
Conversely, for younger entrepreneurs with a vision of building a flourishing business in the years ahead, we synchronise these goals with their evolving ambitions. This involves providing a robust structure to achieve milestones and bring their long-term vision for success to fruition. 
Establishing goals is imperative when striving for success. As you commence your franchise journey, take a moment to ponder your motivation – what fuels your aspirations? Delve into the underlying reasons and forge a connection with your goals. Maintain an unwavering commitment to your objectives, whether they revolve around developing a long-term business or relishing post-retirement vacations. Keep your focus on the ultimate goal and, crucially, leverage the available support! 
For more information on franchise investment opportunities with Petpals, click on the link below. 
* BetterUp, 2022, Goal-setting theory: Why it’s important, and how to use it at work 
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