At a recent conference, Clay Hebert shared his thoughts on measuring business success. The one analogy that he shared that really struck me was what he called “the champagne moment.”

Using sports as a correlation, he talked about how when sports teams succeed, they celebrate. Think of how the winners of the Superbowl or the World Series celebrate their success.

The reason they do so is not just because they won the game or trophy, but because they have fulfilled a plan. At the beginning of the season and throughout it, they are planning their Champagne Moment. It’s what we, as outsiders, see is the culmination of the plan.

How It Applies to Small Business

As small business owners who are hopefully consistent with our business goal setting, do we plan those Champagne Moments well enough? For example, we might know in our head that we want to increase sales – what business doesn’t have that as an objective? But do we really plan out how we are going to do that?

The over-arching goal might be to increase sales, but the Champagne Moment is more detailed than that. It is measurable. The metrics are defined in advance as part of the plan so they can be tracked. A Champagne Moment definition might be: “We will increase sales through our website by 25% in the next 12 months.” Hit that and open the champagne!

Creating a Champagne Moment for 2012

What differentiates this from the way most small businesses set goals is the level of definition:

  • What are you going to impact?
    Sales through the website.
  • What is the change you are going to make?
    Increase sales by 25%.
  • When is this going to happen?
    Within one year.

By increasing the level of detail in the plan and including trackable/measurable metric points — even just one — you make the plan more effective. This is important because, making a plan is great, but if you can’t execute it — and know when you’re done so — then it’s pointless.

The plan doesn’t need to be a ring binder-sized document, either. As you can see from the above, it can be one line. In fact, brevity is better, if for no other reason than it will assist you in communicating it to other stakeholders. A shorter plan will also incentivize you to deliver on the plan. It is hard to hide from a short, concise and clear plan.

So now that it’s time to make plans and set goals for next year, what will your Champagne Moment be for 2012?