Should you make New Year’s resolutions to grow your small business?
New Year’s resolutions are an ageless tradition going back thousands of years. According to History.com, the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions, meaning that the practice began almost 4,000 years ago. And we still do it!
Research indicates that 80% of people throw away their New Year’s resolution by February, so one can ask, “what is the point?”
Lisa Bodell writes on Forbes.com that leaders like Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet understand the futility of setting resolutions. So instead, a better exercise might be to focus on the wasteful and creative-depleting tasks you engage in daily.
To arrive at your “don’t-do” list, you might ask yourself:
- Which of my tasks don’t bring value to the business?
- Would anyone notice if I stopped doing this task?
- Is someone else already doing this task?
These excellent questions provide a sturdy foundation for developing growth strategies for the coming year.
But, for this article, let’s reframe New Year’s resolutions to grow your small business into “2023 goals to grow your business.”
New Year’s Resolutions vs. Goals
What’s the difference between resolutions and goals?
Simply put, a resolution is a specific action you intend to work on all year. Resolutions focus more on behavior change, which could also apply to your business. For instance, you might set a resolution to improve your communication skills or do more to empower your team.
Goals are short-term, long-term, concrete, and measurable.
Every business needs a vision, mission/purpose, and goals. Goal setting helps you focus your efforts on growing your small business and provides data-driven metrics to measure progress and success.
Typical small business resolutions/goals include:
- Increase sales by 15%
- Acquire 100 new customers
- Enter two new markets
- Develop five new products
- Hire a CMO
- Reduce overhead expenses by 10% by improving efficiency
- Increase profits by 5%
Your business goals precede marketing goals. Marketing without setting business goals is a waste of precious resources.
So, to get in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, let’s focus on evaluating 2022 goals and setting new goals or intentions for 2023.
The 2022 Year In Review
The annual “year in review” stories are everywhere you look. It’s entertaining but also an excellent way to remind us of what has transpired during the year. Unfortunately, with so many events eclipsing those that preceded them, it’s easy to forget what happened.
Before moving forward with setting new goals for 2023, you’ll want to do a “year-in-review” for your business. Dive into data, records, or anecdotal evidence that provides a realistic overview of your small business’s accomplishments over the past 12 months.
Begin by reflecting on the year in a more general sense. Keep it a positive experience.
- How was the overall health of your small business?
- Which aspects of your business performance bring you the most joy?
- List your top three successes. Did you remember to celebrate them?
- What did you learn this year?
- List your three most significant challenges this year.
- What do you wish you would have done differently?
Reviewing 2022 Business Goals
Let’s assume you made the goals listed above. How did you do?
Did you meet your hiring target? If not, why not?
Were you able to roll out five new products? Did you roll out any new products? How many, and what was the outcome?
Did you increase your profit margin?
If you’re a solopreneur, you can easily organize the outcomes to measure your brand’s progress toward meeting your goals. If you have a small staff, assign someone to pull all the data and set aside a day to meet with your team, review, and set new goals for 2023.
Remember, failing to meet a 2022 goal is not indicative of failure. The goal may have been unrealistic, or factors out of your control may have interfered with it. Evaluating the year should be a positive and inspiring endeavor. The purpose is to help you set new resolutions or goals to grow your business in 2023.
SMART Goals Rather Than New Year’s Resolutions To Grow Your Small Business
SMART is an acronym for
Setting SMART goals enables you to move beyond resolutions to actionable strategies that help you achieve the results you want.
But this is only the first part of the process. Without delineating objectives- how you will achieve the goals—you’ll find yourself with a disappointing record at the end of 2023. You might also think of objectives as strategies to achieve your goals. Unfortunately, defining objectives is a part of the goal-setting process that most businesses overlook.
Let’s use the list of potential goals we discussed above.
Goal: Acquire 100 new customers
Your objectives to achieve this goal might look like this:
- First, review my current customer base. (Am I targeting the right customers?)
- Identify my competitors’ customers.
- Optimize my customer personas.
- Develop a messaging strategy to engage with my competitors’ and untapped potential customers I’m not reaching.
- Audit my outreach channels to determine if I’m wasting time on platforms my target customers are not using.
- Increase my use of A/B testing to determine optimum messaging and ad placement.
- Optimize or produce lead magnets on my website and social media sites.
- Build a referral program and launch a brand community.
Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: Track Your Progress Regularly
Tracking your progress toward achieving your goals is key to actualizing the intentions you set to grow your business in 2023.
Routine assessment and measurement will help you catch issues that may interfere with a goal, enabling you to pivot quickly. Additionally, as we’ve experienced, global events can quickly disrupt all our plans. By constantly measuring and optimizing your goal’s objectives, you’ll be empowered to adapt to evolving conditions in the marketplace. Lastly, routine tracking will identify goals that have been met, giving you a chance to pause and celebrate.
Depending on your business, you may want to do this weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Be sure to involve both your sales and marketing teams in these assessments.
- Rather than setting 2023 New Year’s resolutions to grow your small business, set goals and objectives.
- Before looking forward to 2023, look backward at 2022.
- Celebrate your successes.
- Set SMART goals and objectives for 2023.
- Routinely track and measure progress.
- Seek out resources, such as business coaching and networking groups, and sign up for this blog to help you achieve your 2023 goals for small business growth.
Best wishes to everyone for a happy holiday season and a peaceful New Year. Thank you for all your reactions and comments and for subscribing to our blog. See you next year!