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business goal planning

A Fresh Start: Six New Year’s Resolutions For Your Small Business

Running a small business always comes with its challenges, and with the arrival of a new year comes the added pressure to assess how you’re doing things, and where you’ll go next. Regardless of the industry you’re in, the size of your company or the amount of success you’ve experienced so far, here are six business goals that will never go astray.

1. Reflect on the past year — the highs, the lows, and everything in between

It’s important to regularly reflect on the progress of your small business, both in a structured manner (are you meeting your KPIs?) and less formal way (generally speaking, are you receiving positive feedback from your customers?)

Knowing what did and didn’t work over the past twelve months will be invaluable in developing your business strategy for the year to come. Even if your business didn’t exist a year ago, reflection is important: identify what you achieved professionally or personally, and how utilising or refining those skills could be useful in the context of your new business.

2. Research other small businesses

Look to the work of other small businesses, both in your industry and otherwise, for inspiration and guidance on your own strategy. When doing this, it can be helpful to identify businesses of roughly the same size and type over businesses that only share your location (i.e. it will likely be more useful to make comparisons with a similar type of business in the next town over, rather than a larger, distinct business simply because it is located closer to you).

3. Identify your target audience

It’s surprising how often small businesses don’t take the time to properly define their target audience. To do so, you need to ask: what is unique about your business, and who would that be useful for? It can take time to do this, but it will maximise the impacts of your marketing efforts. Research your industry, identify your niche, and incorporate your findings into your strategic planning for the year. There are plenty of resources to help you on your way, including the government’s website detailing support for small businesses in Australia, and guides from magazines and other media platforms.

4. Work on your brand

The effectiveness of branding is nearly impossible to measure, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It’s crucial to develop an effective brand if you want your business to become known (and possibly even a leader in your industry), and will undoubtedly help you to build customer loyalty. These tips from Hubspot about developing a unique brand identity are worth a look.

5. Adopt a hybrid or remote work model… if you haven’t already

The benefits and pitfalls of remote or hybrid work models are well documented already, but in 2020, they became buzzwords. If office space is costing your small business a lot, it’s worth taking the time to analyse how important it truly is. This could vary dramatically depending on the day-to-day operations of your small business. You might be a software company with a small team of workers that rarely interacts throughout the day, thus making a shift to a remote work model highly practical. But if your office space is primarily used for face-to-face meetings with clients – and those clients are either resistant to digital meetings, or struggle with digital literacy – abandoning the office will likely present challenges that outweigh any potential financial benefits you might encounter.

6. Be in-the-know about investment opportunities

If you want your small business to grow, it might be time to pursue investment opportunities. To start with, research different categories of investment and investors. Once you feel comfortable with the type of investment you want to seek, set some goals to achieve it (make sure to be realistic), and look for people in your network who may be able to help you on your way.

Don’t be discouraged if it feels like an uphill battle at first. In an article for Startup Daily, Dom Sutton writes that he was “told by a venture capitalist that raising capital can be a full-time job… so be prepared to make 40-100 presentations.”

Read our blog on attracting investment here.

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