New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

With the holiday season upon us, people are looking forward to joyful and relaxing times with their loved ones. It is a chance to catch a break and enjoy the presents, but it is also a good time to think about the future, especially if you are a business owner.

The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the previous year and set goals and plans for the next. Ashton College has put together a list of New Year’s resolution ideas to help your business prosper and grow in the new year.

business meeting

Set smart goals!

Goal-setting is key to ensuring growth, be that personal, financial or business. Goals can help you determine the direction in which to take your business, as well as the quarterly, weekly and daily targets needed to achieve those goals. Most importantly, goals set the tone for the rest of the year. The earlier you start, the further you can get by the end of the year.

Take some time to evaluate this year’s events and see what you want to happen next year. What would you like to continue doing and what things you would like to change? What aspects of the business would you like to work on?

We find a good goal-setting tool in Smart Goals:

  • Specific: It can be very tempting to set general goals, but more often than not they do not give any significant results. Make them more specific in order to understand the right course of action to take to achieve them. For example, if you have a goal to provide better customer service, instead think about how you could achieve it best: you could focus on retraining your employees, or incorporating the emphasis on serving clients into your company’s mission statement. That would be the first step.
  • Measurable: You should be able to evaluate changes and see if you are getting closer to goals that you’ve set for your business. Some goals can be easier to measure than others: for instance, increasing the company’s revenue or sales is easier to measure than better customer service. In that case, get creative! In the case of customer service, you could ask customers for feedback (paper evaluations, online feedback, etc.) to measure improvement.
  • Achievable and Realistic: You should be able to achieve your goals. That does not mean you should stop challenging yourself and only choose simple goals, but you also should not make your goals so difficult and unrealistic that you will be discouraged to pursue them. The goals should be challenging enough to motivate you, and should require you to work harder and be strategic.
  • Time-bound: Set a time limit on what you are trying to achieve. For instance, if you are aiming to increase the number of sales this year, specify how much increase you want quarterly or monthly. This will keep you accountable to your goals, and will help to determine whether certain strategies are working or not.

Keep your goals visible.

Share your goals and visions with your employees and partners, and make them a part of those goals. After all, the objectives you set for your organization can only be achieved if other people are working towards them. When the goals are set, everyone should be regularly reminded of them: common goals can help the whole team to stay motivated and keep each other accountable.

Furthermore, when you openly communicate about what you want to achieve, you give opportunities for creative thinking and input from people who may have a different view on the situation, and therefore who can give you new ideas and perspectives you didn’t consider.

Take care of your finances.

If you have not yet done so, look at your budget. Ask yourself some important questions: What is your plan to get out of debt (if you are in debt)? Are you looking for financial support to expand your business? How much money are you investing back into your business? You need to be aware of your investments, your assets and your spending in order to properly manage your finances and stay on top of your goals. Refer to the list of common mistakes business owners make when it comes to money and budgeting.

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Connect with others.

Communication is key to success for any organization or company, be it communicating with your partners, customers, clients or staff. Through communication with your employees, for instance, you can find out what they are struggling with, what changes they would like to see, and what strengths and assets they have that you can rely on. Same with the customers or clients: you can get more feedback and ensure the quality of the services when you go an extra mile to deliver customer service to them.

Communication includes several key aspects that you as a business owner should consider:

  • Exposure: You should be able to both communicate about your business to your current clients and partners and reach out to new ones. It includes being available to people: having an active presence on social media, or ensuring that your website displays detailed and updated information. It also includes actively looking for ways to promote your organization, products and/or services. Make sure you spend some time during your New Year resolutions reviewing (or creating) your marketing plan for the upcoming year.
  • Transparency: Be open and honest about your organization’s progress and setbacks, both with yourself and your employees. This can help you adjust the course of action that you take with your company to fix the problems or consolidate success. The earlier you and your team can see what you need to change or work on, the faster you’ll see improvements and the less disappointment and explanations you will have to face in the future.
  • Connections: Don’t forget to connect with people! Show both your customers and your team that you are personally invested in them. As a leader, you are there to help them meet their goals and ensure their satisfaction and growth. Organize in-person meetings with your employees, or show your appreciation to the customers by throwing in pleasant incentives (however, make sure they are within your company’s budget). Personal touch does go a long way: it helps form trust and creates a better work environment.

The key is to find the balance that will both attract the customers and ensure the business stays profitable. A good practice to use is reaching out to the existing list of regular customers and followers, who may be more excited to support your business during holiday season.

If you are doing holiday discounts, you should also remember that there may be promotional cost associated with advertising. It is important to budget for those promotions, so that you do not end up losing money during the sale.

Don’t Advertise without Doing Research First

Advertising is necessary to ensure people are aware of your organization or company: what you stand for, how are you different, what are the ongoing promotions, etc. Advertising is also big during the holidays, since the goal is to reach out to as many potential customers as possible to ensure that they know about, and take advantage of the discounts you offer.

Learn from others.

Don’t be afraid to ask other people for advice and guidance. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to keep an open mind and be able to reach out to other people and sources for help. Welcome feedback from your team, join networking events, and surround yourself with successful people who keep the go-getter attitude. If you put learning and growing as your top priority in the New Year, you will definitely succeed with your plans and goals for your business.

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