Effective goal-setting is crucial for sustainable business development. There are numerous strategies you can use to set your company goals. Most of these, however, boil down to deciding what matters to you, defining a target for it, and working out a way to measure it. With that in mind, here are five small business goals you can set this year.
Commit to a quarterly SWOT analysis
Arguably, you should be setting this business goal every year. In business, as in life, change is inevitable. Often, however, changes start out small and build up over time. This means that you can easily miss them unless you make a point of looking for them. That’s exactly why you should commit to undertaking a regular SWOT analysis.
Making some time to look at your current Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats will ensure that you always have your finger on your business’ pulse. This will allow you to maximize opportunities and minimize threats.
Your SWOT analysis can be the perfect opportunity to review your business goals. Where appropriate, you can adjust them to account for new information. Just remember to be moderate in your approach. If you change goals too often or too quickly, you’re much less likely to achieve them in the time given or to have the chance to measure their impact.
Streamline your business processes
This should be on your list of business goals for any given year. Technology is improving all the time and many of these improvements are incremental. They may not look like much in themselves. If, however, you measure their impact over a longer period, the difference can really make itself felt.
There is still a case for keeping some records on paper, but you should be aiming to work on a digital-first basis as much as you can. The most obvious example of this is “going paperless”, and using it as a foundation for other improvements such as automating basic processes. You could also look at switching out traditional landlines for VoIP phones and ditching faxes, which is a largely obsolete technology, to make cost savings.
Invest in your employees
Business processes are important, but your employees are the beating heart of your business. Make sure you provide them with whatever they need to do their job effectively. Furthermore, make sure they feel empowered to do what they need to do and to go that extra mile where it matters.
If possible, help your employees with their personal and professional development as well as their mental and physical wellbeing. If you have the budget, offer benefits such as an education allowance or on-site wellbeing facilities. Even if you don’t, you can still curate resources for your employees to access to make it easier for them to help themselves.
Increase community engagement
Consumers like to be treated as people, not numbers, and they like to see businesses with a human face. In fact, the term “faceless corporation” has very negative connotations. Increasing your community engagement shows consumers that you take ethics and responsibility seriously. It also builds bridges and creates networking opportunities.
Community engagement doesn’t just have to mean providing funds for worthy causes. People understand that money can be tight. You could donate goods or services or even provide your time and skills. Businesses can be a great source of skilled and capable volunteers for local organizations.
Increase customer retention
What this means in practice will depend on your business model. In particular, it will depend on whether your product/service is likely to be bought on a recurring basis. If it is, then, you should certainly set a business goal to hold onto as many existing customers as possible. If it isn’t, then consider setting a company goal to turn purchasers into brand ambassadors.
Remember, maintaining existing relationships is a lot easier and cheaper than building new ones from scratch. Furthermore, building new relationships becomes easier if you can draw on established connections, even indirect ones. For example, if a person has had a glowing review of your business from a friend, there is already a foundation of trust in place.
We Can Help
If you’re interested in finding out more about goal-setting for small businesses, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.