With a brand new year comes so many new opportunities for your business. After the challenges of the past 2 years, you may be very much looking forward to a fresh start in 2024. So, what is the best way to start the new year with a positive perspective?
When it comes to goal planning and setting your business up for growth, the beginning of the year really is the perfect time to re-evaluate your current practices.
In the following article, we will explore some of the most effective strategies for propelling your business to even more success in 2024. From goal setting to disaster planning, use these tips to make sure this a banner year for your business.
Set Clear Goals for the Coming Year
Start by thinking about the long-term goals you hope to achieve by the end of the year. Where do you see your business this time next year? The answer to this question can help shape the direction of your business in 2024.
Setting goals can also increase your chances of success tenfold compared to those without goals. When setting goals, consider using the SMART method. As you may already know, SMART is an acronym for:
Using the SMART approach ensures that your goals are within reach. Instead of simply stating that you want to generate more profit, you need to decide how success looks for you and your business.
For example, you may set a specific amount of profit that you want to generate or a specific percentage increase in profits. These goals are also measurable. Making sure that the goal is measurable allows you to track progress and know when you have reached your objective.
Goals should also be achievable. Aim for realistic ambitions that you are likely to achieve. Choosing a goal that is too far out of reach decreases motivation and increases frustration. All goals should be relevant to the needs of your clients, employees, or business. Always ask yourself, “why do I want to accomplish this goal?”
Finally, make sure that your goals are time-bound. Set a deadline for reaching your goal, such as the end of 2024. Deadlines force you to stay on track and continue working toward your objectives.
Identify Your Biggest Challenges in 2022
After setting goals, determine what may stand in your way. Create a list of the main obstacles that you face in reaching your goals. For example, if you want to sell more units of a specific product, you may face difficulty reaching more customers or capturing a larger share of the market from your competition.
Instead of an external challenge, your business may also face internal weaknesses, such as a lack of productivity, morale, or production capabilities. Identify the areas where you can improve your business operations.
Once you identify your biggest challenges you can obviously start looking for solutions. You may not need to implement these solutions immediately. Yet, taking the time to address these issues now can increase your chances of success when the moment comes.
Prepare for the Unexpected
If the past couple of years has taught us anything, it is the need to prepare for the unexpected. You never know when you may need to alter your business operations to accommodate a public health issue or supply chain woes.
Along with preparing for known challenges, you need to prepare for unexpected situations. Here are a few tips for ensuring that your business is prepared for just about anything:
Having a business continuity plan provides a clear set of procedures to follow during a disaster. Continuity plans are used to deal with everything from fires and natural disasters to cyberattacks and pandemic lockdowns. A thorough continuity plan allows your business to continue functioning or quickly restore operations after a major disruption. For example, your plan may outline the minimum procedures and staffing needed to keep your business running.
Always inform clients and partners of any changes to your business. Whether you are dealing with remote work situations or supply chain issues, think about how your changes may impact your clients and partners. Keep them updated and explain the reasoning behind changes to the way your business operates.
Also, an emergency business fund is another way to prepare for the unforeseen. Jody Grunden of the Summit CPA Group recommends keeping 10% to 30% of annualized revenue in the bank. This should result in about three to six months of operating expenses available to deal with a temporary downturn in business.
Grow Your Online Presence
If you haven’t already started focusing on online growth, you may start falling behind the competition when it comes to acquiring new customers. An increasingly large portion of the public relies on the internet to search for pretty much everything.
63% of purchases start online, whether customers complete the transaction online or visit a physical location. Growing your online presence allows you to capture a larger share of web traffic in your market. People have more trust in businesses that appear at the top of search results when searching for products and services.
Marketers expect video SEO and local SEO to remain essential for digital marketing in 2024. Businesses wanting to attract local interest should continue following best practices for local SEO, such as:
Whether you are focused on local, national, or global growth, you should also include video SEO in your overall marketing strategy. Video search engine optimization (SEO) involves optimizing video content for increased search rankings in the video tab of Google Search.
One study found that about 62% of consumers prefer video content over text content on their smartphones and tablets. Producing more video content and optimizing it for search engines may boost traffic and brand recognition.
Hire the Right People to Support Business Growth
Try to make hiring an important part of your business strategy for 2024. Your business is only as successful as the people working under you. It helps to have workers who are dedicated, hard-working, and passionate about the future of your business.
Don’t simply pay attention to a candidate’s skills and background when hiring. Look for potential employees who are a good fit for your business environment and culture. These are equally as important in most companies.
Supplementing your workforce with temporary contractors is another way to meet your employment needs. Outsourcing some of your less customer-facing tasks can free up time for your in-house workers.
Hiring private contractors also allows you to easily scale your operations up or down depending on your current situation. When sales slump, you can cut back.. When you are ready to grow, you can take on more freelancers.
Improve Your Time Management Skills
If you want to propel your business to new heights in 2024, improve your time management skills. Whether you have no employees or hundreds of workers, your time management skills definitely influence the efficiency of your business.
Increase your personal productivity with the following suggestions:
Start each morning by reviewing the tasks that you want to complete during the day. Create a list of things you need to get done and prioritize the items based on importance. Most time management experts recommend starting with the hardest tasks. This seriously can help!
Your mind is typically most active during the first half of the day, allowing you to focus on activities that require more critical thinking and mental effort. During the latter half of the day, you can devote more time to tasks that require less mental energy or increased creativity.
You should also review your business plan frequently. At the beginning of each week, look at your plan to make sure that you are still making progress on your goals. If you find that you are straying from your original plans, take the time to recalibrate and get back on track.
If you need to make sales calls or cold calls, do these calls early in the day. Getting outbound calls out of the way early allows you to connect with leads before they get too busy with their own workdays. You also get an important task out of the way before lunch..Bonus!
If you ever feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to get help. Delegate smaller tasks to give yourself more time to focus on the bigger picture. Freeing up your own time can ease stress and help you become more organized.
Reduce Your Risk of Major Liability Issues
Liabilities are a major concern for businesses across most industries. As a business owner, you may be liable for a wide range of hazards, including workplace accidents and property damage due to natural disasters.
Ensuring that you are protected against liabilities can give you peace of mind. With one less thing to worry about in 2024, it becomes easier to devote your energy to reach your goals. The three main types of insurance that you may need for your business include:
General liability insurance protects business owners and businesses when someone sustains an injury on business property. General liability can also cover accidents that occur from someone using your products or services. If a client, vendor, or customer gets injured inside your business, the insurance may cover your costs.
Workers’ compensation also protects businesses in the event of accidents. However, it is used to cover medical costs and lost wages for workers who are injured performing their jobs instead of customers or vendors.
The previous two forms of insurance protect against physical injuries to people. Commercial property insurance covers costs related to damage to property. This may include damage caused by natural disasters, vandalism, or poor construction.
Prioritize Customer Service to Grow Your Business
Delivering exceptional customer service has always been an important part of running a business. However, people now have more options when it comes to finding a product or service. You need to make customer service a priority to avoid losing customers to your competition.
Review the entire customer experience to find ways to improve the level of service that you provide. Examine every touchpoint from the moment that a customer becomes aware of your business. You can also learn more about any failings by looking at customer reviews. Actively review online reviews on Google, Yelp, and social media platforms. Pay attention to negative feedback to identify areas for improvement.
Carrying out new market research is another method for ensuring that you continue to meet the needs of your customers. Customers’ interests and preferences change over time. Your existing market research may not match customer expectations for 2024. Continue to review market trends to better understand your customers and your competition.
You should also reiterate the importance of customer service to your staff. Make sure that every interaction with customers includes honesty and clarity.
Go Into the New Year With a Positive Attitude
Setting New Year’s resolutions is a common practice, but most people give up on their personal goals within a few weeks. When it comes to your business, you may have a lot more at stake. Going into the year with a positive attitude also makes a huge difference.
Identify any obstacles that you face in accomplishing your goals. Exploring potential solutions now can leave you better prepared for when challenges arise. Developing a business continuity plan and building an emergency business fund can also help you prepare for the unexpected.
Reaching your goals requires commitment. You need to review them at least once per week to consider whether your current actions are helping you achieve success. In the end, you may not achieve every goal that you set. You may also stray from your plans occasionally. When difficulties occur, simply get back on track the next day. Make this the best year for your business yet!
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.