A new year is upon us, and many of us are looking for ways to make the next 12 months impactful by increasing success, becoming more profitable, and taking business to the next level. Check out these New Year’s resolutions designed for business owners who want to kick-start their best year yet.
We’ve compiled few new year’s resolutions for online business owners to complete. Pick and choose which ones speak to you the most, and develop a concrete plan for achieving those goals. Make a note to check in with yourself in March to see how your goals are coming along. That way, you can stay on track, and create new goals for the following year
Goal #1: Ready your business to be cloud centric
Software businesses often choose to offer their technology on-premise, stored locally on computers or a local server, as part of an upfront licensing agreement. This approach suits many of their customers as they have full control over the software; they can administer the security controls of the product and the flow of data into and out of their networks. It removes some of the risks and delays of using a software product hosted in the cloud.
However, cloud-based software is becoming increasingly popular, offering different benefits such as the preferable economics of commodity hardware and shared infrastructure, flexible licensing contracts and the scale afforded by a cloud environment. Software businesses should be prepared to follow the preferences of their customer base if they see the industry shift towards accessing software in a cloud-based environment.
To ensure they can meet the demands of their entire customer base, an option to consider is the move to a hybrid cloud model, combining on-premise, private and public cloud hosting. This will allow them to adapt to any direction the industry moves in, whilst ensuring that they offer services in a cost-effective, convenient way for each customer.
Goal #2: Review and update your business plan.
Every small business must be guided by a business plan. If you’ve been at this for a while already, then you know how important that is. But how often do you go back to revisit your plan and make sure that it’s up to date and you’re sticking to it?
The beginning of a new year is a good time to pull up the most recent version of your business plan to see if your earlier goals and planning are still in line with what you want for the year to come. Chances are, you’ll want to make some changes based on new trends or technology and on your analysis of results from last year.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be set in stone, but simply the practice of sitting down to review and update it will help you go into the next year with a more clear and defined idea of what your priorities are and how to best to achieve your goals.
Goal #3: Do a website review.
Whether you run an eCommerce business or have a physical shop that your website helps promote, your website is the main way people will interact with your business online. You’ve got to keep it up to date and working well.
If you haven’t had a website redesign in a while, take some time now to do a thorough review of your website. Test out how it works both on desktop on mobile. Do user testing to make sure it’s intuitive for your customers. Look for issues like broken links or images that no longer show up.
It can be easy after a while to think you can let your website run on autopilot, but the longer you go without doing proper maintenance to make sure it’s working as it should, the more little issues will accrue that cause your visitors to have a negative experience. Make a good, thorough website review one of your New Year’s resolutions.
Goal #4: Focus on Marketing & Social Media
If you want to start getting new customers, you need to be promoting your business. It can take quite a bit of trial and error to discover which method works best for you, in terms of cost, effort, and ROI, but it is well worth your time to figure it out. If you have the funds, you could also hire a marketing expert to jump start your marketing initiatives, and create a long-term marketing plan, so that you can keep the ball rolling yourself afterward.
Sample action items:
- Write three blog posts a week on the company blog, and then share those posts on Social Media to reach out to your target audience.
- Experiment with a variety of ads in different places, such as Social Media, Google Ad-words, Bing Ads. You could also try print ads, TV, or radio if you think they would reach your target audience, and they align with your budgetary constraints. If you never try, you’ll never know what might have been!
- Monitor any mention of your business on social media or other websites, both positive and negative mentions are very relevant because if you can find them, so can your potential customers. You can use tools such as Mention, Google Alerts, Google your business name and then filter for results within the past week, or search your business name on Twitter for any recent tweets about you. Share the positive mentions on your social media channels to boost credibility, and do your best to diplomatically respond to the negative ones to try and smooth any situation over.
Goal #5: Rank Higher Through SEO
Obviously, one of your main goals as a business owner is to grow your business. That means you need to start attracting audiences. Promoting your blog on social media and producing great content aren’t the only tactics you need to get found by your target audiences. It’s essential that you prime your site for high ranking in search engines. You need to rank high if you want sales: 61 percent of internet users do research on a product online before making a purchase, but 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.
Good SEO starts with a quality hosting provider and involves everything from your domain to your site structure.
To grow your business, you need to start implementing strategies to drive traffic to your site — SEO is one of the most effective ways to rank higher in search engines and increase visibility.
Goal #6: Increase sales by realistic goals
Sales are often one of the top things you consider at your year-end review of the business. Most business owners also wish they could make even more next year. However, this requires an action plan to be put into place, as the sales aren’t likely to just appear by chance.
To begin, set an amount you’d like to increase your sales by that’s feasible. Setting unrealistic goals will only leave you feeling defeated. Frequently setting and achieving realistic goals will put you on the path to success.
Sample action items:
- Increase prices. Depending on your current price point, customers may not be too bothered if you increase your prices a bit, and it will make a big difference to your bottom line.
- Possibly develop some new products or add-on items customers can purchase. It is much easier and cost-effective to get a current customer to buy more of your products than to find new customers.
- Find ways to cut costs if possible. While this may not be directly increasing sales, it will increase your profits.
- Invest in new marketing strategies. Spend a bit of money to make even more money.
- Research your competitors. Is someone else getting the sales you need from your target audience? Find out if there’s something they are doing that’s giving them an edge over you, or what you can highlight about your business to clients that your competitors don’t offer.
Goal #7: Get to Know Your Customers Better
How well do you know your customers? Do you know why they chose to support your business over your competitors? If they’re local or come from a distance? How did they discover you? Are they currently satisfied with the job you’re doing? Why or why not? These questions and more are all crucial to the growth of your business. You need to know exactly what makes your customers tick in order to keep them loyal to you. Make this the year of the customer, and your business will thank you.
Sample action items:
- Create online surveys for your customers to complete. Perhaps add an incentive such as a possible prize for completing it. Online surveys are best because all of the data will be organized and easy to read. Surveys can let you know if you’re on the right track with regards to what your customers want from you, and what your next steps should be.
- If you see customers in person while running your business, make an effort to speak to them and create a rapport. Not only will they be more likely to shop at a place where the staff is friendly, but they will also tell you if there are ways your business could be improved that you haven’t even thought of.
- Get familiar with Google Analytics and all the information it has to offer. You will know which countries your business is most popular in, how your customers found your business, which pages are most popular on your website, and where do people tend to drop off. Crazy Egg is also great for being able to see exactly where customers are clicking on your website (it might not be where you want them to click!).
- If a customer requests a special item or feature from you, make note of who they are, so you can personally tell them when you’ve completed their request, instead of letting them discover it on their own. Customers will be more loyal to businesses who show they care about their wants and needs.
Goal #8: Get more locally involved.
Small businesses have a lot to give to their local communities, and local communities have a lot to give back. That’s often true even if you’re an eCommerce business. The city where you’re based likely has professional organizations, networking get-together, and local events you can benefit from getting involved with.
Get out there and make connections with other businesses in your community. Speak at local events. Seek out mutually beneficial partnerships. And consider local causes you can donate or otherwise contribute to. Becoming part of the community will only make your business stronger.
Goal #9: Prevent employee fraud
Adopt a code of ethics for employees. Set a “tone at the top” that fraud will not be tolerated at any level of your organization. Draft and approve a code of ethics that includes concise compliance standards that are consistent with promoting ethical behavior across the organization. Require each employee to read and sign the code of ethics — as well as contractors who work on behalf of the organization.
Goal #10: Stay Up to Date on Marketing Innovations
Marketing tactics are ever-evolving. The small business owners of yesteryear looking to get eyes on their goods weren’t pushing new podcast episodes, managing micro-influences, or fishing for Facebook likes. Marketing really has come a long way since the early 2000s.
The way you build traffic and promote your content is likely to transform as industries and digital landscapes change, and as your business grows. Plus, things change as marketers are continually discovering new, innovative ways to connect with customers, giving you new opportunities to learn and engage with your audiences.
Sometimes these new strategies are merely building off of foundational tried-and-true tactics, like implementing seasonal or niche-related touches onto your current marketing efforts of developing a social media presence, growing and maintaining an email list, advertising, and running a company blog. And other times, they’re completely new approaches to reaching customers — like the recent developments in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and voice search.
Keeping up with current marketing innovations means doing your research and implementing the latest marketing tactics that make the most sense for your business. Guided by your overall business goals, you can develop an up-to-date marketing strategy that couples the best of old and new marketing innovations.
Goal #11: Plan for your Taxes
There’s nothing the end of the year to make you consider how sales went, and how effectively you managed your business. And once the year ends, so does your chance at managing your expenses properly for tax time.
Perhaps you did an amazing job at keeping track of every little item you could claim, or maybe there is some room for improvement next year. Ultimately, you shouldn’t pay more taxes just because you didn’t know what you were allowed to claim as expenses.
Sample action items:
- Create expense reports for any business-related expenses; such as travel costs or items purchased. You can even scan in your receipts!
- Ask your accountant or personally research which items you can and should be claiming on your taxes as a small business owner. Especially if you happen to work from home.
- Keep your orders and expenses organized within 1CRM, so that you can quickly access your key numbers when tax time rolls around.
Goal #12: Give back to community.
Nothing grows goodwill for your company better than giving back to your community. Trust in this knowledge, you have something of value to contribute to your community. Get involved and lift your business — and society you live in — together.
Goal #13: Become a mentor.
Put your business knowledge and experience to good use by mentoring a colleague or speaking at a local school.
Goal #14: Make time for yourself.
Make a point to free up time in your schedule to work away from the office or for quarterly mental health day. A healthy work−life balance leads to increased productivity and creativity.
The New Year is a great time to carry out new strategies, fuel growth and make changes for long-term success. “A new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start.”
Whether you need to be more efficient, keep up with the latest technology or implement innovative ways to find and retain new customers, New Year’s resolutions can help you create a plan of attack and stay on track. Hope the above discussed New Year’s resolutions to help you get started.
“Assess the requirements, Explore the opportunities and Implement the changes and Succeed – Sky is the limit”.
If you are a newbie and have some questions- ask me in the comments…
If you’re an expert- share your secrets with me in the comments…
THANK YOU !!!
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and business-booming new year!