Busi­ness goals for the New Year

The Punch - - NEWS - Source: the­bal­ancesmb.com

Goal set­ting is one of the most im­por­tant ac­tiv­i­ties you can do in your small busi­ness, re­gard­less of how old your busi­ness is, where you are lo­cated, how prof­itable it is, or what you sell.

Goals help you stay fo­cused and they can pre­vent your busi­ness from be­com­ing stag­nant. Your busi­ness goals keep you mov­ing for­ward and set the stage for on­go­ing suc­cess.

Although we of­ten think of goal set­ting as some­thing we do at the start of ev­ery year, the truth is that it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to work on your busi­ness goals all year long. You should be set­ting goals mul­ti­ple times each year, track­ing your progress, and refin­ing the strate­gies you are fol­low­ing in or­der to achieve your goals on an on­go­ing ba­sis.

To help you get started with your small busi­ness goals this year, here is a list of goals that have the po­ten­tial to change your busi­ness for the bet­ter. Pick one or two that are fit­ting for your small busi­ness, turn them into SMART goals (more on that at the end of this ar­ti­cle!) and cre­ate a plan to tackle them in the com­ing months.

1. re­duce on­go­ing busi­ness ex­penses

This is a goal that is fit­ting for most small busi­nesses. Af­ter all, what busi­ness owner would not want to re­duce the costs of run­ning his or her busi­ness? As you set this goal for the year, be spe­cific about how you will re­duce busi­ness costs — us­ing more tech­nol­ogy, re­duc­ing debt, or chang­ing up your op­er­a­tions — in or­der to make it stick. 2. Hire your first em­ployee

If your solo busi­ness has reached the point where you can’t con­tinue to main­tain it in your own, make this the year you ex­pand by hir­ing an em­ployee. Take time to con­sult your ac­coun­tant and at­tor­ney to make sure you fol­low all of the nec­es­sary reg­u­la­tions, and to con­firm that now is the right time for you to hire an em­ployee be­fore mov­ing for­ward.

3. Ramp up pro­duc­tiv­ity in your busi­ness

Your level of pro­duc­tiv­ity can di­rectly im­pact your bot­tom line, so it’s never a bad idea to set a goal to boost your pro­duc­tiv­ity and the pro­duc­tiv­ity of your team. You can be­come more pro­duc­tive by elim­i­nat­ing dis­trac­tions dur­ing the work day, im­prov­ing the way you use busi­ness tools such as email, and by in­cor­po­rat­ing the use of pro­duc­tiv­ity apps.

4. Cre­ate a new cus­tomer ser­vice process

How do you com­mu­ni­cate with your em­ploy­ees and en­sure their sat­is­fac­tion with your busi­ness and prod­ucts and ser­vices? Set a goal that fo­cuses on mak­ing your cus­tomer ser­vice process ex­cep­tional, han­dling cus­tomer com­plaints more ef­fec­tively, or in­cor­po­rat­ing cus­tomer ser­vice into your so­cial me­dia prac­tices. And don’t for­get about the power of ask­ing your cus­tomers for feed­back in or­der to iden­tify what your busi­ness can be do­ing bet­ter.

5. In­crease traf­fic on your busi­ness web­site or blog

More web­site traf­fic of­ten trans­lates into in­creased sales and cus­tomer loy­alty, mak­ing this a great goal for small busi­nesses. There are many ways to get more eyes on your web­site or blog. Start by cre­at­ing a plan to ramp up your con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­egy. Then, once you have rel­e­vant and en­gag­ing con­tent ready to share on your web­site or blog, try one of these five ways to drive tar­geted web­site traf­fic.

6. Cre­ate a new prod­uct

If you haven’t changed up your prod­uct line in a while, one way to give your busi­ness new life is by cre­at­ing a new prod­uct to add to your of­fer­ings. Con­sider the feed­back you have re­ceived from cus­tomers and their buy­ing be­hav­iour as you get started with this goal. You can also con­sider chang­ing up the way you mar­ket an ex­ist­ing prod­uct since some­times a new spin can give an older prod­uct new life.

7. Start us­ing so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing in your busi­ness

It is never too late to add a new mar­ket­ing tac­tic in your busi­ness, and if you have been re­sis­tant to so­cial me­dia, this is the year to dive in. Learn more about us­ing so­cial me­dia for small busi­ness by read­ing this col­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles, then pick on so­cial plat­form and set a goal to in­cor­po­rate it into your mar­ket­ing plan this year.

8. Im­prove the fi­nan­cial health of your busi­ness

Do you have a han­dle on what money is com­ing in and go­ing out of your busi­ness ev­ery day? Do you have an on­go­ing bud­get to guide your ex­pen­di­tures? Make this year the year you lock down your spend­ing and im­prove the fis­cal health of your busi­ness. Start with these tips for giv­ing your small busi­ness a money makeover.

9. Open a sec­ond busi­ness lo­ca­tion

If you have a brick-and-mor­tar shop that is do­ing well, it may be time to con­sider open­ing a sec­ond lo­ca­tion. Fol­low these tips on choos­ing a lo­ca­tion for your busi­ness as you ex­plore if ex­pand­ing your foot­print is the right move for your small busi­ness.

10. Go paper­less

elim­i­nat­ing or re­duc­ing the amount of pa­per you use in your small busi­ness can cut costs and im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, if it is done suc­cess­fully. But keep in mind that go­ing paper­less is not right for ev­ery busi­ness. Be­fore you com­mit to this goal, take a look at the pros and cons of a paper­less of­fice to de­cide if this is can work in your small busi­ness.

11. Con­duct a mar­ket­ing au­dit Some­times we get caught up in the “do­ing” and for­got to check if what we are do­ing is worth the time and money we are in­vest­ing in it. When was the last time you took stock of all of the mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties you are do­ing in your small busi­ness, and mea­sured the level of suc­cess of each of them? Com­mit to do­ing a mar­ket­ing au­dit this year to im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of your mar­ket­ing in­vest­ment.

12. Do a thor­ough SWOT anal­y­sis

A SWOT anal­y­sis is a tool that helps you iden­tify the strengths and weak­nesses of your busi­ness, a new prod­uct of­fer­ing and of the com­pe­ti­tion. It can be used in any stage of busi­ness to help you de­ter­mine what makes your busi­ness unique, iden­tify po­ten­tial new ar­eas of the mar­ket that are un­tapped, and ex­plore what your com­pe­ti­tion is do­ing bet­ter than you are. Do a SWOT anal­y­sis this year as part of a larger process to im­prove your de­ci­sion­mak­ing abil­ity.

13. In­crease your mar­ket share Cap­tur­ing a larger part of the mar­ket is a key com­po­nent in mak­ing your busi­ness more com­pet­i­tive and in­creas­ing prof­itabil­ity. One way to start with a goal of in­creas­ing mar­ket share is by do­ing mar­ket re­search. Then, try one of these five ways to in­crease mar­ket share and cap­ture a larger part of the mar­ket.

14. Cre­ate a new em­ployee in­cen­tive pro­gram

Keep­ing up the morale and mo­ti­vat­ing your em­ploy­ees to work hard in your busi­ness can be a chal­lenge. This is es­pe­cially true for small busi­nesses that do not al­ways have the re­sources to of­fer fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives. The good news is that em­ployee in­cen­tives do not nec­es­sar­ily need to be fi­nan­cially driven. Try one of these 14 em­ployee perks that won’t break the bank.

15. Find new op­por­tu­ni­ties for net­work­ing

If you are not ac­tively net­work­ing in your small busi­ness, set a goal this year that gets you in front of more peo­ple and ex­pands your busi­ness net­work. You can at­tend more con­fer­ences, ramp up your on­line net­work­ing on plat­forms like Linkedin, and even share your ex­per­tise by speak­ing at small busi­ness events.

16. Work on your per­sonal brand

Many times in small busi­ness, suc­cess is re­liant on the busi­ness owner and his or her abil­ity to stand out in the crowd. This is why it is so im­por­tant to de­velop a per­sonal brand. If you have not spent time on cre­at­ing your own brand yet, make it a goal for this year, and boost your cred­i­bil­ity at the same time.

17. Re­vamp your busi­ness plan

You prob­a­bly cre­ated some type of busi­ness plan when you started your busi­ness, but when was the last time you took a look at it? This year is the per­fect time to dust off your busi­ness plan, see where you are in re­la­tion to where you ex­pected to be, and cre­ate a new plan that helps you get even fur­ther with your small busi­ness. Try this quick and easy busi­ness plan­ning ex­er­cise and these 14 busi­ness plan writ­ing tools to get started.

18. Sched­ule a break from your busi­ness

If it has been a while since you took a break from your busi­ness, you should con­sider sched­ul­ing one this year. Not only can time off help to re­duce stress and pre­vent burnout, but it can also give you a fresh per­spec­tive that you can use in your busi­ness when you re­turn. Of course, tak­ing a break — even a short one — from your busi­ness is of­ten eas­ier said than done. Con­sider these tips for tak­ing a work­ing va­ca­tion that gives you some down­time with­out be­ing com­pletely dis­con­nected.

19. Use SMART goal set­ting once you have some ideas about goals you can set in your small busi­ness, it is time to take the next step and turn each goal into a SMART goal. A SMART goal is one that is spe­cific, mea­sur­able, at­tain­able, rel­e­vant and time-based. For ex­am­ple, a goal to in­crease your mar­ket share could be­come: In­crease mar­ket share by three per cent be­fore the 4th quar­ter of the year. This ver­sion of the goal meets all of the SMART cri­te­ria.

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