18 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Businesses in 2018
Goal setting - it’s an important part maintaining and growing a business, and there’s no better time to set goals than at the beginning of the year. Everywhere around us, friends and family members of all ages are setting their 2018 goals. In fact, you’ve probably heard several inklings of “lose weight” and “eat healthier" already in the last week. All of these New Year’s resolutions have us thinking: what are the best resolutions to set for small businesses in 2018?
For entrepreneurs, ambition comes naturally, but it can be hard to make sure that you’re channeling that ambition into meaningful, focused goals. There’s just so much that you want to accomplish! We suggest defining 3 (5 maximum) goals to help guide your business decisions for the next year. And make them "SMART" - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. To get you started, here are 18 great resolutions for small businesses in 2018.
Meet New Small Business Milestones:
1. Turn a profit
If your business is still in the very early stages of getting off the ground, turning a profit for the first time can feel like it’s years away. Don’t let yourself lose sight of this major milestone, though. The first dollar you make from your new company is a momentous one.
2. Introduce a new product or service
Is your company already off the ground? If you’re already succeeding with your first product or service, this year could be the year to expand your offerings. What can you introduce to complement your existing business and further satisfy your customers? You may find that you can expand your revenue streams in a way that provides meaningful value to your customers and gives your competition a run for their money.
3. Hire your first employee
Running a business alone or with a small team of co-founders is challenging, but your first employee can unlock new opportunities for success. Make it a goal to expand your team this year, for the first or the fifth time. The extra manpower will change what your company is capable of.
Tell Your Customers You’re Listening
4. Conduct a customer feedback survey
Do you ever wonder what your customers actually think of your business? It’s easy to find out! Take a moment to create and conduct a customer feedback survey aimed at finding out what your customers love and (hopefully not) hate about your company. Be careful: you should be ready to implement their feedback when you hear it!
5. Improve your customer service
Customer loyalty is an important piece in growing any business, regardless of your industry or location. The best way to encourage loyalty is through stellar customer service. Provide more personalized support for your customers, smile at them as they come through your doors, or get on the phone with them when you can. The happier they are with your customer support, the more they’ll share the word about your business.
6. Improve the quality of your product or service
No small business is perfect. In the first few years of running your company, it can be difficult to make the perfect product or service. While customers may not notice areas for improvement, they’ll certainly notice when an improvement is made. Make it a goal to assess your product or service and to make a meaningful change in what you offer.
Get Your Business In Front of More Customers
7. Update your brand (or create it)
How do your customers (and potential customers) recognize your company? Your business should strive to have a signature, like that of the Nike symbol or Apple icon, that clearly represents who you are. If you don’t have a brand (a meaningful, standardized look, feel, and tone), this year is a great year to create one.
8. Start or grow social media marketing efforts
For most businesses, social media is a way to directly access your target audience. Depending on your market, you should leverage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even Snapchat to put your message in front of the right people. In some cases, you don’t even have to pay to get started. Be sure to research the best platforms to reach your audience and the best practices for getting noticed.
9. Start a blog
Providing valuable content is a great way to build trust with your customers. A blog is a great way to provide answers for your target audience’s question and become a credible source even before they decide they need or want your product. Although you might not see an immediate growth in your sales, this long-term approach to inbound marketing is sure to be helpful.
10. Start email marketing
Email is a meaningful way to access your target market. The tool allows you to communicate directly with your customers based on a previous interest they’ve shown in your company. It’s also a great way to keep them informed about new offers, products, content (on your blog!). With some research and trail-and-error emails blasts, you may find yourself with more returning customers this time next year.
11. Revisit and update your business plan
Plans are important, but they change frequently. In the unpredictable world of starting a business, it can be difficult to know whether you’re on track (or even should be on track) with the plan that you defined any more than one month ago. This year, take a moment to revisit your plan. After laughing at your own naiveté, update it. The exercise will help you stay on track for the next several months, at least.
12. Hold yourself to monthly or quarterly reviews
Among the mile-long to do lists and the many moving parts of your new business, the value of reflection can be overlooked. In reality, a periodic review of your successes, mistakes, and lessons learned can help inform the next steps for your business. In 2018, make sure you allot the time to do so per quarter, if not per month.
13. Implement a CRM
If you’ve ever found yourself overwhelmed with the number of client relationships you maintain, a CRM could be a great tool for your business. As a tool designed to track your interactions and help you manage every customer’s nuances, CRMs help small businesses keep track of and make the most every customer.
14. Have a more productive business
Business productivity comes down to a simple idea: how many resources are you investing into every win? Most businesses can operate more efficiently, including yours. Evaluate the activities that take the most time or resources – can you improve the process? For example: by automating simple tasks like emails, you could increase the number of stakeholders you can connect with on a daily basis without taking more time.
Set Goals for Yourself
15. Make every day more productive
Every entrepreneur could improve their time management. This year, make it a goal to try new time management tricks that work for you. Not every entrepreneur thrives with the same practices, it’s important to develop habits that help you limit distractions, prioritize, and work quickly.
16. Network more
The startup and small business network is incredible. This community is uniquely equipped to understand your vents, offer insightful advice, and guide your business decisions. In 2018, get to know local small business owners and leverage the community to help you grow alongside your business.
17. Take a vacation
No matter what’s on your plate, it’s not healthy to work all day, every day for an entire year. Instead of powering through every tireless night and working every weekend, make 2018 the year that you develop a work-life balance. If nothing else, plan a vacation in which you leave behind your laptop, trust your business to an employee, and relax.
We all set goals that we know we’ll meet some time. This is the item that you put on your to-do list purely for the satisfaction of crossing it off. Wherever 2018 takes you, you can be confident in the fact that you’ll learn something new and become a better small business owner.