As the new year approaches, small businesses have the opportunity to start fresh and set new goals for their success.
Whether you are a new business or an established one, setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound SMART goals can help you focus on what’s most important and drive your business forward.
Want to set your business up for success in the new year?
Start by setting SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. These goals provide a roadmap for your business’s growth and development and can help keep your team focused and motivated.
Make your SMART goals measurable to track your progress and know when you’ve achieved them.
For example, instead of setting a goal like “improve customer service,” you might consider setting a goal like “reduce customer wait times by 30% within the next three months.”
Read below to see a few examples of how to apply this principle in practice.
SMART Goal : Finance
By creating and sticking to a budget, managing cash flow, and tracking expenses, you can ensure that your business has the financial resources it needs to grow and thrive.
Budgeting allows you to plan for and allocate your financial resources in a way that aligns with your business’s goals and objectives. It also helps you to avoid overspending and prevent financial surprises. Managing cash flow is equally important, as it allows you to anticipate and prepare for any fluctuations in your income and expenses.
Tracking expenses is another crucial aspect of financial management. By keeping track of where your money is going, you can identify any areas of your business where you may be overspending and make adjustments accordingly. This can help you to save money and improve your bottom line.
If you would like to improve your financial management skills, the SBDC is your place to start. We offer a variety of resources and services to help you succeed — whether you need funding for expansion, or need help with tax preparation — we’ve got you covered. Click here to sign up for help.
SMART Goal : Marketing
Always Be Marketing
Promoting your business is essential for attracting and retaining customers. Social media, local advertising, and partnerships are effective ways to promote your business on a budget.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to reach a large and targeted audience quickly and easily. You can use social media to share updates about your products or services, interact with your customers, and showcase your brand’s personality.
A Google My Business listing is a must-have for any small business because it allows customers to find your business easily on Google Search and Google Maps. With a Google My Business listing, you can provide important information about your business, such as your address, phone number, and hours of operation. You can also manage and respond to customer reviews, which can help to improve your online reputation and visibility.
To set up a Google My Business listing, follow these instructions:
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/.
- Click “Start now” in the top right corner.
- Sign in to your Google Account, or create a new one if you don’t have one.
- Enter your business name and location.
- Select the category that best describes your business.
- Click “Continue” and follow the steps to verify your business.
- Once your business is verified, you can add additional information, such as your business hours, contact information, and photos.
By setting up a Google My Business listing, you can improve your visibility and make it easier for customers to find and connect with your business.
Knowing where to begin can be daunting with so many different aspects of marketing. Let us help you to identify the best strategies for promoting your business and achieving your goals.
SMART Goal : Connections
Networking and building partnerships are essential for the success and growth of any small business. By building relationships with other businesses and industry professionals, you can expand your network and create new opportunities for collaboration and growth.
Connect with potential partners and customers. Meet new people and make valuable connections. Networking builds and strengthens connections, increases visibility and credibility, and can help introduce your business to new audiences and create opportunities for collaboration and growth.
To get the most out of networking, it’s important to be proactive and strategic. Here are a few tips for networking and building partnerships:
- Identify your networking goals and priorities.
- Connect with people who share your interests and values.
- Follow up! Always follow up with people you want to build relationships with and foster collaboration.
- The Golden Rule. Be open and willing to help others.
- Share your knowledge and expertise to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Need help getting started? SBDC has many opportunities throughout the year to help you develop a networking strategy and connect with potential local partners and customers. Stay informed by joining our network newsletter.
SMART Goal: Self Improvement
Work on You
As a small business owner, it’s important to prioritize self-care and work-life balance to avoid burnout. Running a business can be stressful and demanding, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and burn out if you don’t take care of yourself and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
You will make better decisions for your business by taking better care of yourself. It can also improve your productivity and effectiveness.
A few suggested ways to integrate basic self-care and improve work-life balance:
- Take regular breaks and schedule downtime for yourself.
- Set boundaries around your work hours and stick to them.
- Make time for physical activity — like a quick 10-minute walk around the block or basic stretching.
- Seek support from friends, family, and colleagues — everyone needs encouragement.
- Play relaxing music or energizing music like Jazz to reduce stress and maintain a positive outlook.
Starting the new year with SMART goals can help small businesses focus on what’s most important and drive their success forward. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals can provide a clear roadmap for growth and development.
The Norcal SBDC offers a variety of resources and services to help small businesses set and achieve their goals.
If you’re not yet a client of the SBDC, now is the time to take the next step and sign up. With the support and expertise of the SBDC, you can set and achieve your SMART goals in the new year.