New year, new business goals. That’s how the saying goes, right? Wrong. Although we often think of a goal as something that is set at the beginning of the year and then achieved throughout the year, this is not the case for a business. Every single small business owner needs goals to keep moving forward, get them motivated to do more, and maintain the success of their companies.

The reality is that it is extremely important to work on and revise your goals throughout the year. You should be setting goals multiple times each year and being proactive about your business’ development. Tracking your progress and refining your strategy should be something that occurs on an ongoing basis. Following this way of thinking increases your overall motivation. This will also ensure that your brand new and thriving company doesn’t stagnate.

Although there are different processes that you can follow when setting your business goals, figuring out exactly what the right direction is in the new year isn’t always clear-cut.

Writing on book

Here are 10 goals that you can set for your business this year:

1. Increase your productivity levels.

Many small business owners struggle with finding enough time to get everything done. If this sounds familiar, then a productivity goal may be the right one for you. Productivity is something that can be improved upon continually, both for yourself and for your team. This is something that can be done by reducing or completely eliminating distractions during the work day and improving the way you use work tools (for example, emails).

Look at the latest AI powered tools here 

Tired employee

2. Reduce any ongoing expenses.

This is something that any entrepreneur would find attractive, and we understand why. If done right, this is something that could help your business thrive in the long-term. When setting this goal, be specific about how you will reduce business costs. This could include using improved technology, or even changing up some of your operations to be more cost effective.

  1. Supplier Negotiation: Negotiate better terms with suppliers for discounts and extended payment terms.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Implement energy-saving measures to lower utility bills.
  3. Remote Work: Offer remote work options to reduce office-related expenses.
  4. Outsource Non-Core Functions: Outsource non-core tasks to save on hiring and management costs.
  5. Optimize Inventory: Minimize excess inventory and carrying costs through better management.
  6. Streamline Processes: Identify and eliminate inefficiencies to save time and money.
  7. Employee Training: Invest in training to improve productivity and efficiency.
  8. Review Expenses: Regularly review and cut unnecessary subscriptions and expenses.
  9. Encourage Cost-Saving Ideas: Foster a culture of cost-consciousness among employees.

3. Hire a new employee.

When you need to expand your team, it’s a good sign that your business is growing and needs a larger team to aid it’s growth. 

9 Steps to Hiring the Right Person

Young working man

4. Revamp your customer service processes.

No business is possible without loyal customers. This is why it is very important to continuously improve your customer service processes to ensure that your customers are getting optimal service. When setting this goal, don’t forget about the power of asking your customers for feedback in order to identify what you could be doing better. ​

1. Audit Current Processes: Start by conducting a thorough audit of your current customer service processes to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This will provide a baseline for your revamp efforts.

2. Focus on Customer Needs: Shift your focus towards meeting and exceeding customer needs and expectations. Understand your customers’ pain points, preferences, and communication channels to tailor your service accordingly.

3. Implement Multi-Channel Support: Offer support across multiple channels, including phone, email, live chat, social media, and self-service options like FAQs or knowledge bases. This ensures customers can reach you through their preferred method.

4. Train and Empower Employees: Invest in comprehensive training for customer service representatives to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to handle various inquiries and situations effectively. Empower them to make decisions and resolve issues autonomously when possible.

5. Utilise Technology: Implement customer service technology solutions such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, ticketing systems, chatbots, and analytics tools to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and gather valuable insights.

6. Establish Clear Communication Protocols: Develop clear communication protocols and standards for responding to customer inquiries, including response times, tone, and escalation procedures. Consistency in communication builds trust and reliability.

7. Gather and Act on Customer Feedback: Regularly solicit feedback from customers through surveys, feedback forms, or post-interaction follow-ups. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to your processes.

8. Personalise the Customer Experience: Tailor your interactions with customers based on their preferences, purchase history, and past interactions. Personalization helps foster stronger connections and enhances customer satisfaction.

9. Monitor and Measure Performance: Continuously monitor key performance metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, response times, resolution rates, and customer retention rates. Use these metrics to track progress, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions for further improvements.

5. Increase online traffic.

It is important to not let your online customer service relations fall to the back-burner. More website traffic often translates into increased sales and customer loyalty, making this a great goal for small businesses.

  1. SEO Optimisation: Improve website visibility with keyword optimisation and high-quality content.
  2. Create Valuable Content: Engage your audience with blog posts, videos, and infographics.
  3. Social Media Promotion: Share content regularly on social media platforms to drive traffic.
  4. Email Marketing: Send newsletters and promotions with links to your website.
  5. Guest Blogging: Contribute guest posts on relevant websites to reach new audiences.
  6. Speed and Performance: Ensure fast loading times and smooth user experience.
  7. Online Engagement: Participate in forums and communities to share expertise and links.
  8. Paid Advertising: Consider PPC ads on Google and social media for targeted traffic.
  9. Analytics Monitoring: Use tools like Google Analytics to track and analyse website traffic sources.

6. Use social media marketing to your advantage.

Many small business owners find social media marketing daunting or fail to see the benefit of these platforms. If you have been resistant to social media, this is the year to dive in.

  1. Set Goals: Define clear objectives for social media marketing.
  2. Know Your Audience: Understand demographics and interests.
  3. Choose Platforms Wisely: Focus on active platforms for your audience.
  4. Create Quality Content: Produce engaging content consistently.
  5. Be Consistent: Maintain a regular posting schedule.
  6. Engage Actively: Respond promptly and foster interactions.
  7. Use Visuals: Include eye-catching visuals and multimedia.
  8. Analyse Performance: Monitor metrics and adjust strategies.
  9. Stay Updated: Keep up with trends and changes in social media.

Social media icons on phone

7. Do a thorough Marketing Audit.

It can be easy to get caught up in what you are currently doing, and one forgets to check that you are getting results from your efforts. When was the last time you took stock of all of the marketing activities you are doing in your small business, and measured the level of success of each of them? Do your homework and research the market and industry of your business to identify customer needs, trends and changes in the market or technology.

Some popular AI marketing audit tools include:

1. HubSpot Marketing Grader: HubSpot offers a free tool that analyzes your website’s marketing performance, including SEO, mobile responsiveness, and security, and provides a personalized report with actionable insights.

2. SEMrush: SEMrush offers a suite of marketing tools, including a Site Audit feature that scans your website for technical issues, SEO errors, and opportunities for improvement.

3. Google Analytics: While not strictly an AI tool, Google Analytics provides powerful analytics capabilities to track website traffic, user behaviour, conversions, and more. Its AI-driven insights feature can identify trends and opportunities based on your data.

4. Moz Pro: Moz Pro offers tools for SEO, link building, and keyword research, including a Site Crawl feature that audits your website for issues that may impact search engine rankings and user experience.

5. Ahrefs: Ahrefs provides SEO tools, including a Site Audit feature that crawls your website to identify SEO issues, such as broken links, duplicate content, and missing meta tags.

8. Conduct a SWOT analysis.

SWOT is a high-level strategic planning model and stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As the name suggests, it can be used at any stage of your business to help you determine what makes it unique, identify potential new areas of the market that are untapped, and explore what your competition is doing better than you are.

SWOT-Analysis Steps:

  1. Quickly gather information.
  2. List strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  3. Prioritise the most significant factors.
  4. Summarise key insights.
  5. Develop a simple action plan.

9. Work on your Brand.

Your brand is often what sets you apart from your competitors in a sea of brand names and products. This doesn’t only include your logo and slogan, but also your brand narrative. When customers feel like they can connect to you and know your brand, you will build customer trust and ultimately gain their loyalty.If you have not spent time on creating your own brand yet, make it a goal for this year, and boost your credibility at the same time.

Computer with logo design on screen

10. Revise your business plan.

Ideally, you would have created a business plan in some shape or form before starting on your business venture. However, when is the last time you revised it? This year is as good a time as any to take a look at your business plan and assess where you are in relation to where you expected you would be, and plan the road ahead from there.

  1. Digital Transformation: Update your plan to include the latest digital trends and technologies.
  2. Sustainability Integration: Incorporate sustainability initiatives to enhance brand reputation and appeal.
  3. Resilience Strategies: Outline adaptable plans to navigate disruptions and uncertain environments.
  4. Customer-Centric Focus: Prioritize meeting evolving customer needs and driving loyalty.
  5. E-commerce Expansion: Highlight plans for optimizing online experiences and digital marketing.
  6. Remote Work Support: Implement policies and tools to support remote teams effectively.
  7. Cybersecurity Measures: Ensure robust cybersecurity infrastructure and employee training.
  8. Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives: Promote a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.
  9. Financial Planning & Risk Management: Develop realistic projections and implement risk mitigation strategies.
  10. Continuous Innovation: Foster a culture of creativity, experimentation, and learning.

Planning in journal

Remember to make sure that all of your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) goals, and you’re all set.

We know that the process of business goal setting can be challenging, and achieving these goals sometimes even more so. We hope that these tips will assist you in kick-starting this year with a bang. Good luck setting – and reaching – your goals!

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