All good things must come to an end, as they say. The holidays are almost over and that means it’s time to start working on your New Year’s resolutions for 2017. Usually New Year’s resolutions are all about losing weight, learning something new, saving money and traveling more. But who’s to say the business can’t set its own aspirations in the New Year? Here are the best New Year’s resolution business planning ideas for small business owners looking to step up their game in 2017.

How to stick to what you aim to achieve this year

As the year just gets started, this is a great time to look over your business’ progress in the previous year and plan on how you want things to steadily develop. Improving your business is going to require some commitment and, unlike every other failed resolution before, it should not be abandoned or forgotten. The reason resolutions fail is that we often set unrealistic goals. It’s all fine and well to say you’d like to lose weight this year, but without being specific, how can you measure your success? Set S.M.A.R.T goals when defining your New Year’s resolutions. If you want to re-evaluate your marketing strategy, this is what your S.M.A.R.T business planning goals will look like more or less:

Specific: The business will aim to attract new customers by leveraging new marketing avenues.

Measurable: We will measure our progress using marketing metrics and the number of new clients we acquire.

Attainable: Review our existing customer base and do more research on the target market the business hopes to reach.

Relevant: Carrying out a new marketing initiative that will be profitable for the business.

Time-based: We need to have a marketing plan drafted within two months.

Getting to know you

According to the marketing trends of 2017, hyperlink to: blog Marketing trends you need to pay attention to in 2017 your business should focus more on getting to know your customers. If you’re relying solely on customers coming onto your website because they want to find out more, then you’re seriously missing out on potential sales leads. You can create new channels of communication to expand your reach such as the use of social media, niche advertising or a newsletter. The more channels you provide the better you’ll get to know your customers. Don’t put too much on your plate however, if you neglect a single platform, it could have the opposite effect to what you’re aiming for. Not sure which channels your business should focus on? A survey is the best place to start. Tell your customers that you’re trying to better understand them and guarantee their confidentiality. But nothing beats actually talking to your customers. Get them to open up to you. There’s nothing to it, all you have to do is ask them, ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘how was your experience with us?’

Weed out the toxic employees

It’s understandable for a small business to want to keep employees, because the cost of getting a new one is too great. However, the cost of keeping a toxic employee could be more significant. When you allow these employees to remain working for you, they can cause irreparable financial and cultural damage. They don’t care about the organisation and therefore they won’t want to see it succeed. Focus on hiring new employees that bring out the best in everyone this year. Set up a recruitment strategy, but don’t just jump straight into it, start your business planning now. There’s a lot that goes into hiring the right person and if you’re swamped with work you can overlook important aspects. So, perhaps hiring an external consultant is the best strategy for you this year. Stick to this New Year’s resolution, because if you have the right team working for you, everything else falls into place, starting with improved employee retention.

To achieve any form of success, businesses need to constantly evolve, keep up with trends and adapt new processes to stay in sync with the ever-evolving business environment of the 21st century. By sticking to this ideal, you’ll be surprised by the progress you’ll have made by the time you have to plan next year’s resolutions. For more great business planning tips and insights, download our guide below.

Image Credit: Small Business Trends