7 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners

new-years-resolutions-for-your-business-1crm
 

Tired of the same old New Year’s Resolutions like your vow to eat better and exercise regularly? Let’s change it up this year and apply that extra-special New Year’s boost of enthusiasm to your business instead.

We’ve compiled 7 new year’s resolutions for small 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!

Ready? Let’s check out these goals:

Goal #1: 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 jumpstart 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 Adwords, 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 #2: Increase sales by X Percent

 
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 #3: Learn to Delegate 

 
Small business owners tend to wear many hats, as in they complete the jobs of many people all by themselves. This works very well from a cost-cutting perspective, but if your business is doing well, it may start to become less feasible. If you’re very busy, orders may be going out slower than they should, support calls could be going unanswered, and there tends to be more focus on running the business than growing it – because you simply don’t have the time.
 

Sample action items: 

  • Keep track of how you spend your business hours each day for a week, to get an idea of which tasks you spend the most time on. Which tasks have to be performed by you, and which could be performed by someone else?
  • Decide whether current employees could take on some of these tasks, or if you need to hire a few new ones.
  • Some tasks could also be performed by a company offering to complete them as a service. Take them up on it!

#4: 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 #5: Increase Productivity

 
While you can’t add more hours to the day, you can control how you spend them. Are there tasks you’re doing manually that could be automated? Could teams be working more efficiently together?
 

Sample action items: 

  • Have your employees enter any data they receive into 1CRM, so that all staff will have instant access to it – whether they’re on-site or on-the-go.
  • Create drip-feed campaigns, so that you can automatically follow-up with new leads.
  • Talk to your employees about how they spend their days, and if there are any processes that seem to take longer than necessary to complete. Perhaps there is a way to streamline those processes, and make everyone’s life easier!
  • Try to set times in which you will check your email, facebook, or your other fun go-to websites that happen to also be time-consuming. If your business is online, it can be easy to get distracted and visit these websites now and then. But with each visit, it will take longer to complete your actual business tasks, and at the end of the day, you will still feel like you worked the whole time.

Goal #6: 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 #7: Leave What’s Not Working in the Past 

 
It’s easy to hold onto the same people and processes because we enjoy the familiarity, and it takes time and effort to find and learn about new ones. However, an unwillingness to change could be holding your business back. Just because it’s the way you’ve always done things, doesn’t mean it’s effective. Let this be the year you finally move forward!
 

Sample action items: 

  • Take a good hard look at the products or services you provide. Which are selling, and which are duds that you wish would sell? Let go of the duds that you’re keeping around out of sentimentality or hopefulness. This will make room for new products or services that could sell much better.
  • Examine your workforce. Who is really paying their way, and who might just be holding you back? As a small business owner, you can’t afford to be paying employees who aren’t really doing a good job for you. This can be a tough one, especially if you personally like them. If letting them go is your last resort, begin the process by looking into ways they could either improve within their current position, if there is a way to motivate them to do better, or if they would be better suited to a different position within the company.
  • What technology are you using to run your business? Are you still keeping track of your orders and clients on papers stacked around your office? Make this the year you invest in a CRM system to run your business more effectively. Or if your current CRM is not serving you well, make this the year you find a new one that works the way you work.
  • Take a look at your business partners, distributors or suppliers. Are they working for you, or are you working for them? See where improvements can be made, ideally with minimal disruption to the business.

Conclusion: 

As this year draws to a close, we would like to extend a big thank you to all of you who used 1CRM Software to grow your business (over 45,000 of you!), and we look forward to helping you achieve your goals in 2017!

 

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