From crowded gyms to new hobbies, the beginning of the new year is usually a time to make personal resolutions. But according to a new Manta poll, only 23 percent of the general public made resolutions at the beginning of 2017. Small business owners, on the other hand, are much more committed to setting actionable goals for both their business and personal lives. For instance, Manta’s poll found 66 percent of small business owners set business resolutions while another 54 percent set resolutions for life outside of work.
Small business owners are clearly ready to make some powerful improvements to their companies this year, and their top goals include increasing cash flow (43 percent) and boosting customer base (24 percent). Making resolutions is only half the battle; it’s another to successfully fulfill them. To thrive in 2017, here are a few goals small business owners can make (and some tips for actually keeping them):
Refine operations to bring in more cash flow: The survival of any business is dependent on revenue and profits, so it’s no surprise that many small business owners’ top resolution for 2017 is to increase cash flow. Optimizing cash flow is essential to keeping a small business afloat, and doing so requires taking a hard look at product pricing, replacing old equipment if possible, re-negotiating long-term contracts and beefing up marketing efforts. Instead of throwing in the towel when cash flow isn’t up to par, small business owners should reevaluate how they’re allocating revenue to determine what changes could be made.
Leverage digital marketing to increase customer base: According to Manta data, small businesses are keen on attracting new customers this year, and digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to achieve this growth. Prospective customers are constantly engaging with brands online, so small business owners must embrace digital marketing to cultivate positive relationships among current and new customers. In 2017, small businesses should implement a healthy combination of social media, content marketing, SEO and digital advertising to convert leads into repeat business.
Stick to your marketing plan: To keep a pulse on the efforts outlined above, small business owners will want to be armed with a formal marketing strategy in 2017. Previous Manta research found that less than half of owners (49 percent) have a detailed marketing plan in place, which can result in failed marketing initiatives. Even the smallest of businesses should map out their marketing efforts for the year and include specific goals in the plan. Marketing plans should answer a few core questions: What are you trying to accomplish and why? Who are your target customers? What makes your business stand out? What is your marketing budget? How do you plan to reach your target customers?
Establish better work-life balance: While small business owners tend to operate on chaotic work schedules, it is possible to find a work-life balance with the right mindset. Start by committing to working a set amount of hours each week and hold firm to this goal. To prevent burnout, small business owners should also set boundaries with employees and customers. This way, owners are clearly communicating when they’re working and when they’re not. Maintaining a consistent routine at home and at work can help small business owners improve their time management skills, which decreases distractions and frees up time for more strategic initiatives.
A new year offers a fresh start for budding businesses – a chance to review what worked last year and determine which areas can be improved for the future. By taking the time to make realistic resolutions, small business owners will be better positioned to compete in the market and truly engage with new and prospective customers in 2017.