As 2016 comes to an end, it’s the perfect time for small business goal setting that will motivate you for success in the New Year.
Without clearly defined and measurable goals, your small business may struggle to find direction and you may begin to “lose steam.” Goal setting offers an excellent opportunity to reassess, refocus and realign your small business objectives to create a roadmap for success.
Here are 10 strategies to consider for your small business goal setting for 2017.
- Reflect.In what ways did you and your team outperform expectations over the past year? You can use several metrics to determine success such as revenues, net profit, client testimonials, customer retention rates and even staff turnover. The idea is to build upon these successes while also recognizing your shortcomings. Some examples include: unfulfilled orders, high levels of inventory and low staff morale. Keep a track of each of these areas for improvement and begin to build strategies around them for next year. In a nutshell, you’ll want to “keep what works and toss what doesn’t.”
- Pick a word. Any word. We love Gretchen Rubin’s article about choosing one word as your theme for the year. This could work very well for your business and could even be as simple as “GROW”. Whatever word you select, consider posting it around the office to get your team onboard and reminding them of your theme throughout the year. You could also reflect on this word when thinking of the goals you have for the New Year and see how they could be further tailored in relation to this theme.
- Leave some tasks to the professionals. Many small business owners put in long hours, taking on essential business functions in order to keep expenses as low as possible. However, more often than not, this decision could end up hurting your business in the long run — think potential IRS audits or even tax penalties for inaccurate books. At RQB, we strongly believe in outsourcing to save small business owners time and money. Outsourcing essential functions such as bookkeeping through RQB transfers these tasks to a team of experts, freeing up time to focus on your core business. It also helps to provide peace of mind for you as a small business owner. See our previous blog post which details the benefit of outsourcing functions including payroll services.
- Get your finances in order. Your business may be doing well in terms of top line growth but how well are you managing receivables and payables? As a business owner, it is critical to keep your pulse on these balance sheet line items in order to have a true understanding of the full financial landscape of your business. Cash flow management is also key when it comes to forecasting and planning for milestones — so it should be a critical part of your 2017 goal-setting plan. See our post “Cash Flow Management Like a Pro.”
- Reinvent. There are so many ways that you can improve your business and yourself in the New Year. You could learn how to become a better leader, re-brand your company, improve the quality of your products or make your production time more efficient. The fact is that there is always room to do things better. However, you might benefit from selecting one aspect and focusing on that for the year. In fact, you might want to put the book, Essentialism by Greg McKeon on your holiday reading list. It offers great insight on doing just that.
- Don’t be a one-man (or woman) show. Be sure to consult with your business partners and team members to identify their goals. Everyone brings a unique perspective and it is likely to bring new ideas. It also helps to boost morale as it makes your team feel that they are a part of the decision-making process. If you are a solopreneur, meet with a colleague or your mentor for a brainstorming session.
- Help your team grow. Find out what your staff needs to perform better and feel more fulfilled. Chances are some of the solutions could be easy to implement such as improving the work environment to make it more comfortable or ergonomic. Other ideas include investing in staff training or offsetting tuition costs for staff members who are going back to school. Many of these options can be directly tied to staff performance.
- Resolve to connect with your customers more. Last month, we wrote an article on showing appreciation to your customers over the holidays. If you are already strapped for time and funds before the end of 2016, simply choose one of our suggestions that you could implement over the New Year.
- Give back. It is tempting to think only in terms of how you will increase your revenue, reduce expenses and ‘get ahead’ in the New Year. But you could also look at ways to reach out and help others in your community. A great team building exercise would be to ask employees to nominate a charity or cause they think would be good to support. Everyone could vote and you could channel your company’s efforts into helping that charity for the New Year.
- Make sure your goals are measurable. This list of apps is useful to listing and tracking your business goals. You’ll also want to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable. Don’t go overboard or burnout will be the likely result. You can also consider separating your goals into short-term versus long-term plans to give you and your team a reasonable time frame for achieving them.
With these tips in mind, we hope that you will accomplish your small business goal setting well before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.