By: Sandy Stark
5 min read, Business Planning

We did it! We have reached the end of 2020! And, as with the end of any year it is customary for many of us to reflect upon our personal habits and achievements. We typically follow this with our declaration of resolutions we hope will improve our future; however, 2020 wasn’t a typical year and resolutions aren’t just for those of us wanting to shed a few pounds or watch less television. If you’ve never considered resolutions for your business before, now is a great time to re-evaluate your priorities and re-align your processes as we have all had to pivot out of our comfort zone. Here are a few resolutions that, hopefully, will help make 2021 memorable for all the right reasons.

  1. This Year, We will Review Our Business Plan: When was the last time you updated your business plan? Your business plan is a living document you should revisit annually and revise to reflect your current position and objectives. Chances are your business model has shifted so your business plan needs to adapt and take the lead. Using the SMART goals model, “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant” and “Time-bound”, revise your plan based on your vision for the future and include a clear strategy on how you will achieve that vision starting where you are today. Having this plan and being acutely aware of it, will keep you on track with your actions and decisions aligning to your mission and objectives.

  2. This Year, We Will Set Sales Targets: Again, using the SMART goals model, set targets for the year and break them down monthly, weekly, even daily if applicable and define in your business plan how you intend to achieve them. Next, make sure everyone on your team knows these targets and has a SMART role to play in achieving them.

  3. This Year, We Will Dial Up Our Promotions: Make this a year like no other when it comes to connecting to your customers. In today’s market, you don’t need a big advertising budget to get noticed. With your website, email marketing tools and a myriad of social media platforms to choose from you can reach your customers in frequent and creative ways for nearly free. You can also boost your posts to reach a wider audience, by defining your target demographic for just dollars a day. Use surveys, polls, contests, incentives and questions to gain further understanding of your customers behaviours and their perception of your business.

  4. This Year, We Will Streamline Our Expenses: This can include but doesn’t have to mean cutting back. It might mean shuffling budgets to fit your new priorities. Take a close, tough look at where your resources are going. Make sure you are getting maximum return on your dollars spent.

  5. This Year, We Will Build On Team Spirit: How about a Weekly Kickstarter? Schedule 30 minutes to 1 hour at the top of each week, Zoom counts, to check in as a team. Use this meeting time to emphasize the sales targets for the week, catch up on projects, assign priorities or just boost morale with a short team building exercise. If you’ve been working remotely, this step is more important than ever to ensure you are feeling connected as a team. If you are using the meeting to cover topics, set an agenda and stick to it. Detail what will be covered and who is responsible for the message. Make sure to allocate a time slot for each item and leave room at the end for an open mic period. Carry forward any new topics for the next meeting, do not stray from the agenda. Assign someone to take minutes. Distribute the minutes to the team within 1 business day with a recap of key notes and action items that came out of the meeting. Be clear on deadlines and identify who is taking the lead on each task.

  6. This Year, We Will Up Our Technology Game: If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that technology is king. If it weren’t for technology many of us would be lost and the consequences even more catastrophic to businesses. Where to start? If you haven’t reviewed your website in some years, it is past time. Statistics show you have less than one second to make your first impression before a visitor to your site makes a judgment about you and your business. An intuitive, attractive and informative site will not only help you drive the behaviours you want from your visitors, you will also deliver what visitors want from your site.

    If you’re on social media, that’s fantastic. You don’t need to be on every platform but make the most of the ones you do use. Comment back to at least the first few commentors on your posts. Spend more time creating than you do consuming. Use video content to bring personality to your posts. Have you tried TikTok? Businesses are using this medium in fun and engaging ways to educate viewers and ultimately attract new followers. People will consume a 15, 30 or 60 second video more readily than they will stop to read a lengthy post. Push your TikToks to your Instagram Reels to bring real life and authenticity to your otherwise, static and polished Instagram account. 

    Have you tried Podcasts? They are easy and affordable to create. Educate your customers, clients, patients – whomever your audience is - and give them your best information for free to build trust. Podcasts are searchable and convenient for on-the-go listening.

    Are you selling product? Do you have an e-commerce site or mobile app? Did you see what happened to online shopping in 2020? Need we say more?

  7. This Year, We Will Remember Self Care: Don’t forget about the health and well-being of you and your team. We just went through a very trying and emotionally charged year. Yes, we can celebrate that we’ve made it this far but there has been a cost to us all, some more than others. Stop. Breathe. Take a break and allow yourself and your staff time to self-nurture, rest and recharge.

  8. This Year, We Will Give Back to Our Community: While 2020 is behind us the pandemic is not and its effects on people, businesses and our communities at large will be lasting for some time. With more people at home, following news and engaging on social media, raising awareness of the impact this year has had on our family, friends and neighbours, we have seen an incredible amount of outreach and support toward others. From community support groups on Facebook to food bank donations to buying people gift cards for takeout, people are coming together. Resolve to be visible in your community in a positive way using your unique gifts, talents, products or services or simply join in the efforts of another initiative. It will feel great!

Setting goals is always a good idea. To achieve your goals you must have an action plan that breaks them down smaller, achievable targets. You will also increase productivity and boost morale by working smarter not harder. Let your team in on your plans and define their roles so they can be a productive part of the journey and share in the success. Give your website a makeover if you need it and have some fun engaging with your audience. Be productive members of your community and don’t forget a little self-pampering along the way. That sounds like a great year!

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