By the beginning of June most New Year’s Resolutions have been tossed to the waste side but it is never too early to begin planning goals for the second half of the year. Here are some great tips for small business owners to use for themselves and pass along to their employees to increase productivity and business morale.
1.Set realistic goals.
The best way to reach a goal is to first set one. Consider goals based not on profit but instead on revenue. Revenue is often more concrete than profit and more likely to be used by customers when deciding to purchase a product or use a service that you are offering.
If you have never set goals before consider why you started your small business [or why you applied for your current job]. Did you aim to spread your product to a large geographic area or are you more focused on a local market? Did you want to create new products, improve old ones, or simply sell existing ones? Also consider what you and your company have accomplished recently. When you started your company [or your job]where did you expect to be at this point? Have you reached those expectations or are you still working on meeting them?
2.Set REALISTIC goals.
This is an incredibly important step not just because it is what will start you on your path to greater efficiency and productivity, but because this is also where you can set yourself up for failure if you are not realistic. Goals must be realistic if they are going to be attainable. Consider setting a goal that pushes you just a little bit beyond what you would normally expect from yourself but also be prepared to accept that it is okay to fail. Learning from your mistakes and shortcomings is key to being successful.
3.Make a plan to reach your goals.
Why have goals if you do not try to reach them? Creating a laid out plan with “milestones” along the way helps you to reach your final goal and keeps you motivated along the way. As the last step suggested, realize that it is okay to fail. Occasionally you may not reach one of your mini-goals (one of your “milestones”) in the time you expected but do not give up! Readjust your plan and continue. You will reach your goal.
The next couple of tips are strategy-specific. These are some ways to help you reach your goals if you aim to increase revenue or simply growing your customer base.
4.Consider current clients first.
Your current clients or customers already understand that you have a great product. Now you want to encourage them to look at other products or services you can offer them. If you are selling to a large company is the whole company taking advantage of all that you can provide or just a small department?
This tip also implies creating brand loyalty. Encourage your current customers to stay with you by offering discounts or other free services (such as a free trial to a different service) that will show them how reliable, efficient, cool, etc. your company is. Do some research into your current clientele. “Vulnerable customers,” those whose behavior suggests that they may be looking to stop working with your company are great people to introduce a free trial of additional services.
5.Consider old avenues for new customers.
Often new clients are right under your nose. Start networking at those places you would never consider but which you spend lots of time at: the gym, your child’s dance classes or sports games, even the grocery store. It is also a good idea, if applicable, to go to conventions for your product or service to learn about different advertising and marketing strategies for acquiring new customers.
Invest in social networking to spread the word about your company, especially because your company is a small business and advanced (read EXPENSIVE) advertising may not be feasible. Send out emails and newsletters. Take advantage of technology!
It doesn’t hurt to mention that you might not be hitting your goals becuase you don’t have enough man power on the sales front. It’s worth considering hiring a PEO, or Staff Leasing company. They can help with all the paperwork, payroll, HR, SUTA, and beyond. Employee leasing companies (PEOs) are becoming almost a necessity to keep up with your business competitors, and they take the difficulties out of management.
Are you ready to reach your goals now? Well, as stated previously you must first state your goals. Take some time (whether it be a few minutes now or a few hours this week) to see what you want to do with your company and create a plan to reach your goals. Success is bound to come your way.