You need to be both S.M.A.R.T and D.U.M.B to achieve realize your business’ full potential.

Whether you’re a new operator and need to know where to start or a seasoned pro who wants to grow in a certain area, this framework can help.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to help you strengthen any area of your existing business, or set out on the right path forward.

The path to success is winding, but it’s clear. You need to drill down to exactly what you want to achieve and plan how you mean to get there. Here’s how.

No.1: Review and recommit to your why.

You’re probably inundated with new ideas and tips and tricks and it would be easy to try and run with every new marketing or sales tactic. But it’s important to be clear about who and what you want your business to be in your community. And that goes back to why you’re in this business in the first place. Remember that your values show who you are when you think no one is watching; and guess what, someone is always watching. Take this opportunity to dig deep into your core purpose and identify areas that have fallen short of what you intend. Then make a plan to strengthen your resolve.


No. 2: Become an expert on your data.

Get a firm grasp on important guest insights, such as market data about where visitors come from, key age groups, average spending and visit trends, most (and least) popular attractions and combos, as well as where your facility might be losing money. Then use those insights to set new targets and inform your marketing and costs savings initiatives to maximize both revenue and profitability.


No. 3: Set goals using the D.U.M.B framework.

There’s a great saying that it’s better to shoot for the stars and miss than to shoot for the gutter and make it. When it comes to goal setting, consider both the big picture and the details, both realistic and audacious. I recently read an article that introduced the D.U.M.B. framework for goal setting. In essence, the D.U.M.B. framework can help you identify what you want and the positive benefits you’ll reap as you work towards achieving what you want. Then, use the S.M.A.R.T. framework to create specific tasks and actions that ensure you actually get there. The D.U.M.B. framework:

  • Dream-Driven: Something you might not be able to quantify with numbers, but you know you want. The big picture. (could be tied to your why)
  • Uplifting: Connects your team to something bigger than themselves, creating more buy-in and commitment.
  • Method-Friendly: While the visionary goal itself might not be quantifiable, you’ll need a method to track the actions and steps necessary to achieve it (enter the S.M.A.R.T framework).
  • Behavior-Triggered: Consider what behaviors will keep you and the team motivated and working in the same direction. Then, weave in opportunities to identify, celebrate and cultivate those behaviors. This is what fuels people to work in the day-to-day.

No. 4: Make your action plan(s) with the S.M.A.R.T framework.

Now that you’ve done the creative part and are excited about what’s possible, it’s time to put together your action plan. As a reminder, S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

  • Specific: You know exactly how many memberships you wish to sell this holiday season, for example.
  • Measurable: You can measure the number of memberships sold, the success of Facebook ads and other marketing campaigns, and team member progress during in-store sales competitions, etc.
  • Achievable: Be realistic with what can be accomplished by your team. Is gaining 1,000 new members realistic or should you work towards 10 new members per week?
  • Relevant: Every goal should clearly drive towards the outcome you wish to see.
  • Time-Based: Put a deadline on it. Why? Because they work.

In short, when you want to move your business forward, think about why you’re doing this, what you hope to accomplish, and exactly what it will take to get there. Then make your plan to start working it.

Get creative with the details.

It can be fun, exciting, and profitable to freshen up your offerings. Think moving games around, dreaming up new promotions, and introducing new menu items. If you want to get excited about the future, consider one or more of these ideas.

No. 5: Freshen up your food and beverage operation.

Review your current menu concept and analyze what items are working and which should come off your menu. Take in things like visual appeal, the difficulty of acquiring certain ingredients, which menu items will work best if you have to do a partial opening, and assess profit margins. Does it make sense to develop a whole new concept or will just a few tweaks boost sales?

Also it might be time to review waste or return reports, inventory management processes, and update those recipe cards and images so that your kitchen staff will be ready with the right tools.


No. 6: Brainstorm new and returning programs, promotions, and packages.

From menu items to party packages, to the rewards programs and memberships you offer, refine or develop new offerings. These small changes can drive excitement, engagement, and buzz around how ‘cutting edge’ and innovative your facility is. When making changes, don’t forget to create solid marketing strategies and content so that you’ll maximize all the potential from your efforts.


What goals are you setting for your facility’s future? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter.

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