Close to a third of adults set New Year’s resolutions, but only about one in ten is actually likely to follow through on them. I’m sure that isn’t a shock to most of us who are professional procrastinators, though.
Businesses should also make it a priority to set goals for the coming year to make sure you are setting yourself and your business up for success. However, if you want to increase your odds of reaching your objectives, you need to start strategizing now before the year is over.
Here are 15 quick tips that may help you with prepping your business for the new year:
1. Analyze Successes and Failures from the Past Year
The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on your successes and failures. Think about what went right and also what went wrong with your business. You can strive to recreate your successes and avoid your mistakes to achieve greater results next year.
Analyze your biggest gains and losses from the year with a detailed breakdown of each event. Use all available data to dig in deep and decide what led to each success or failure. It may help to generate a report if you ever need to reference this year’s details at a later time.
A survey found that only about 5% of small businesses achieve their goals for the year. Some of the most common reasons for failed business projects include:
Setting SMART goals can boost success and help decrease the risk of some of these issues. Each business task should include specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART) objectives. By having clear sights of what you want to achieve with your business each year, you make it that much easier to set things into motion.
2. Set the Main Goal for Your Business for the Next Year
Setting one main overarching goal for the coming year can help give your business a lot more focus. Evaluate your current situation and decide where you want your business to be this time next year.
For example, you may want to focus on increasing your market share, improving employee turnover, boosting profits, or strengthening customer service. This is going to be specific and personal to your business, depending on what you want for the immediate future.
Choosing a single business objective for the year may seem a bit shortsighted. Yet, a central goal acts as a compass for your roadmap for the coming year. It helps you and your staff stay on track and develop strategies that complement your main goal.
Determine the trajectory of how to reach your goal for the coming year. Analyze and document the steps needed to reach the goal. Assign a rough timetable for each step to ensure that achieving your goal within 12 months is realistic.
After breaking the goal down into smaller steps, start assessing the resources needed to complete each milestone. The resources you need may include new talent, equipment, or office space. Considering these needs now can better prepare you for the new year. Having sort-of a big “to-do” list for your business can really make all the difference so you stay on track.
3. Tie Up Any Loose Ends from the Current Year
Many businesses experience a slowdown toward the end of the year or the first few weeks of the new year. You can use this opportunity to take care of any tasks that you have put off (hello again, professional procrastinator).
Make a list of the administrative and general projects you have avoided, such as canceling an unused service or dealing with a broken computer in the office. Getting these tasks out of the way now can help you start the year with a cleaner slate.
Cleaning up loose ends also involves cutting waste. If you have any business processes that add no real value to your organization, consider removing them. This may include outdated business procedures, unnecessary business contracts, or wasteful spending.
When it comes to wasteful spending, marketing is one of the most common sources. Many business owners and entrepreneurs waste a significant portion of their budgets on advertising that produces little to no results. Marketing is notoriously hard to get right, and until you know what works for your specific business, don’t throw money aimlessly at it.
4. Review Your Marketing Strategies and Budget
Look at your marketing campaigns from the past year and assess what worked well. You should have access to 12 months’ worth of metrics related to the performance of your ad campaigns, social media marketing, and other marketing efforts.
Include an analysis of your advertising spending from the year. Use this data to decide which marketing channels are most effective for reaching your target audience. Again, if you are a small business, it’s difficult to navigate all that. Marketing can sometimes be overwhelming and you won’t know what works until you try many different avenues. Spend a little at a time so that you don’t lose a lot if it’s not the best advertisement option for you.
Focusing on the areas that provided the best results can help you achieve a better return on your investment next year. But just remember that there is some trial and error here.
5. Review and Optimize Your Standard Operating Procedures
Review your current operating procedures and try to find ways to improve them. Increasing the efficiency or cost-effectiveness of your business processes can boost your chances of success.
If you don’t already have a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs), take the time to document your procedures using a spreadsheet, computer software, or a web-based platform.
SOPs provide you and your team with clear instructions on how to complete various business tasks. Giving people a set of instructions decreases the risk of mistakes and sets a baseline for evaluating the results of each task. Which is better for everyone.
You can review SOPs and fine-tune them based on previous results. Each improvement helps make your business more resilient and adaptable to change.
6. Create Financial Projections for the Coming Year
Assess your finances, review your profit/loss statements, and project your finances for the coming year. Estimate how much you expect to spend and earn through each quarter.
Creating financial projections now can help you prepare for any surprises in the coming year. Based on the results of your projections, you may need to reduce spending or find ways to increase revenue.
Reviewing financial statements and balance sheets can help you better understand exactly where your money goes. You may also be able to identify waste and cost-cutting opportunities. Even a small amount of savings can really add up across 12 months.
If possible, make sure to settle all outstanding accounts. Settling and reconciling accounts at the end of the year creates the opportunity to reassess each transaction. Do a deep dive!
7. Assess Your Partnerships and Business Relationships
The success of your business may depend heavily on your relationships with various partners and vendors. Now is always a good time to assess these relationships to decide if you need to find replacements in the coming year.
For example, you may have a vendor that charges too much for a software package. Shopping around for a new solution could result in savings. Check into it now rather than later, while it’s on your mind.
Many other business owners and entrepreneurs are preparing for the next year and looking for new opportunities. You can take advantage of this period of renewal to seek new business connections and partnerships, that way you are already one step ahead.
8. Listen to the Needs of Your Clients/Customers
Listening to the needs of your clients can help determine the best way to serve their needs in the coming year. Showing that you value their input can also lead to much greater customer retention.
Most businesses depend on recurring revenue for continued growth and success. If you can’t retain customers, you may struggle to keep your business profitable for the long term.
Create a customer journey map to analyze your customer relationships. Start with the first point of contact, which may include a landing page or social media site. Track their journey through the acquisition process and each interaction with your business. Keeping tabs on things really allows you to hone in on what is most important, and what isn’t.
Understanding the customer’s journey can provide more insight into how they perceive your business. You may uncover issues that you would find annoying if you were in the customer’s shoes. That way you can remedy anything that would prevent a customer from coming back.
9. Create More Upselling and Cross-Selling Opportunities
Upselling and cross-selling are often effective methods for generating more revenue from your existing customers.
Upselling involves selling the next best option to a customer, such as a wine vendor selling a higher-priced bottle of wine. Cross-selling involves selling complementary products or services, such as a bottle opener to go with a bottle of wine.
Creating more upselling and cross-selling opportunities can create more profits, boost employee morale, and increase customer satisfaction. Getting customers to buy more products or services keeps your sales team happy by helping them meet their sales goals. Offering beneficial recommendations can boost customer satisfaction scores by increasing the usefulness of your products or service. Win/Win.
10. Assess and Enhance Employee Satisfaction and Morale
You cannot expect to achieve greater success next year without the help of your staff. Employee burnout and low morale can decrease the efficiency of your organization.
Take the time to assess employee satisfaction and morale. Hold meetings with staff or send out a questionnaire to receive input. Learn more about their struggles and complaints when it comes to the workplace. You may find that a simple change can address some of the biggest issues impacting employee satisfaction. Make sure your employees know that you value them, and that they always feel appreciated.
Increasing employee engagement can also help improve morale and productivity. Methods for increasing worker engagement may include providing more training opportunities, responding to their feedback more frequently, and providing employees with the tools they need to accomplish their tasks. Happy Employees=Successful Business.
11. Streamline Your Administrative Processes
Business owners should maintain detailed records of everything from financial documents to employee files. Unfortunately, maintaining records obviously takes up time and resources. But it’s super important to document everything, as it makes things so much easier long term.
Look for ways to streamline your administrative processes and recordkeeping. For example, you may consolidate your recordkeeping to a single application instead of relying on a variety of software for different tasks, such as payroll, vendor invoices, and tax documents.
12. Determine the Future of Your Industry for Upcoming Trends
As the end of the year is a time of reflection, you should reflect on the trends of the past year to gain more insight into potential trends for the coming year.
Think about what the future holds for your industry and how customer needs and interests may change throughout the year. Considering potential trends and developments may help you stay ahead of the competition.
Try to identify one area of your niche market that remains underdeveloped or primed for increased interest in the coming year. This may include a specific product feature that is likely to be helpful to your customers next year or a way of doing business that your competitors have overlooked. Staying on top of trends and yearly predictions can really help you stay current and relevant.
13. Focus on Keeping Yourself Organized
Maintaining efficient business operations is difficult if you are unorganized and unprepared. Your ability to stay organized influences the people you work with. If you are constantly unorganized, you may foster a chaotic, inefficient work environment. No one wants that.
Find ways to increase your organizational skills and personal productivity levels. Start by cleaning up your inbox. Delete, archive, or move all emails in your inbox. You should start the year with an empty inbox to avoid letting the past keep you from focusing on the future.
Using a calendar for business and personal planning can also help you stay on track. Set at least one personal goal for each month, week, and day. Following through on these goals increases the likelihood of reaching larger goals, such as your main business objective for the year.
14. Receive an Outside Perspective
Hiring a consultant or a consultancy agency can provide a fresh perspective on your business. Allowing an outsider to analyze your business may uncover overlooked opportunities and areas for improvement. So many times we don’t see certain things that may be right in front of us, simply because we are too close or used to things to notice ourselves.
Consultants who specialize in your industry are also likely to provide greater insight. You can work with a consultant on specific issues or receive help reworking your business from the ground up. It’s never a bad thing to ask for some help when you need it.
15. Make Your Business More Adaptable
Making your business more adaptable can decrease the severity of setbacks or mistakes. Here are a few ways to increase the flexibility of your business:
Wasteful spending limits your available resources for dealing with challenges. You may need extra funds to deal with future setbacks. Try to find ways to cut unnecessary spending to increase your flexibility.
Strategic partnerships are one way to save on costs while growing your business. For example, you may partner with a business that already has a physical presence in a market that you want to reach. You may also find strategic partnerships with businesses that can enhance your products or services without requiring you to invest in additional equipment or talent. There are many options to look into here.
Scaling down your product offerings may also make your business more adaptable. Focusing on your most successful products or services can limit operating costs and increase the overall profitability of your organization.
In the end, you can’t predict what will happen next year, but you can certainly prepare for it. The strategizing tips we discussed with you can help strengthen your business. Make your business New Year’s resolutions now to increase your prospects for 2023. Going into the upcoming year, don’t focus on the past & what you should or could have done. Start fresh this year, with an open mind and clear goals..there truly is no better time to look forward!
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.