“Successful companies set goals,” says Chron. “Without them, they have no defined purpose and nothing to strive for; consequently, they stagnate and struggle for meaningful accomplishments…[Goals] must be present in every business plan and become a regular part of ongoing business operations.”

To achieve continued success in 2018, you need to hit the ground running with a set of goals in place from the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, if you’re like many business owners, figuring out exactly what those goals should be isn’t always easy.

In fact, according to information found on Fast Company, 3/4 of the business owners polled in a Staples National Small Business Survey stated that they hadn’t achieved their company vision.

D!gitalist Magazine suggests the following five goals to get your 2018 off to a good start:

1. Thoroughly Review 2017 – Just because 2017 is over doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. Take the opportunity to review how your business performed and what methods were successful at driving revenue.

“Doing a personal review is critical before you set new year goals because it helps you set smarter goals. You can assess what’s important and tap into your motivators to help you achieve those goals. It is also critical to setting more authentic goals that are in alignment with values and priorities.” 

 

Source: Forbes

It’s also important to take note of what didn’t work and plan your budgets and other efforts accordingly. Learning from your achievements and failures will help you set yourself up for success in 2018.

2. Improve Customer Loyalty – 2018 provides competitors with a new year to try and steal away your customers. Fortunately, it’s also a great opportunity for you to amplify your efforts in keeping them.

As you may know, numerous studies indicate that the cost of retaining existing customers is much lower than the acquisition of new ones. Additionally, loyal customers purchase more from their favorite brands, as well as buying more frequently and increasing revenue by picking up related products. But that’s not all. Loyal customers typically generate positive word-of-mouth, helping you acquire more customers without spending more on marketing efforts.

Invest in opportunities to let your customers know that they are valued and remind them of the benefits of sticking with your brand. If you don’t already offer one, start a loyalty program or give your VIP customers special promotions targeted to their purchasing trends.

3. Invest In Your Employees – Healthy businesses can’t succeed without competent, enthusiastic and high-performing employees. To achieve this, you need to make sure that you not only do everything possible to retain your top performers but also hire exceptional talent.

“A major component of any business is the employees; they represent your brand, your goals, your ethics and essentially you. Hiring the right employees is so important to the success of any company because your business is only as strong as your weakest link.”

 

Source: Kabbage

It’s essential to provide your staff with the retail training necessary to succeed at their jobs. If you have employees that aren’t making the grade, do what you can to help them improve their performance. If necessary, terminate them. It’s important not to let poor staffing hold back your business!

4. Amp Up Social Media Marketing – According to D!gitalist Magazine, social media marketing becomes more and more important for driving sales and ensuring the success of your business with each passing year.

The most successful small businesses are those that are willing to explore new outlets made possible by the digital age in which we live. Today’s innovative social media platforms, for example, help you spread awareness about your brand, as well as market your products and better connect with the desired consumers (some even offer analytics tools that allow you to gauge performance).

If your business doesn’t have a social media presence and marketing strategy, be sure to incorporate it into your goals for 2018. Already using social media? Create a plan to improve it based on your performance in 2017.

5. Prepare for Growth – Adopt the mindset that if you’re not growing, you’re falling behind. After all, your fiercest competitors will be doing their best to outpace you and you don’t want to give them the upper hand.

But expansion can present problems for companies that aren’t ready for the challenges of growth. Therefore it’s essential, suggests Chron, that businesses “view successful expansion on a profitability level, not just from a sales growth level.”

“Since the point of expanding the business is to make it more profitable, business owners should periodically review the return on investment from an expansion. Additionally, there should be a defined reason for the expansion — entering into new, potentially profitable market segments, for example.”

 

Source: Chron

Big, medium or small, your business should prioritize the development and execution of a growth plan for 2018 to improve your market position, advises D!gitalist Magazine.

Conclusion

Goal setting should be an ongoing process. Savvy business owners look for opportunities in every situation, including market changes, economic shifts, and sales fluctuations.

Just as small goals set during times of crisis can have a positive impact when things improve, goals help maintain or increase the times when your business is thriving and can help you weather future slumps.

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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