Small businesses can create big success if they consistently set short-term, attainable goals. Whether your business is looking to expand into a new market, acquire new leads or make key new hires, these short-term goals will help you sustain momentum over the long term.
1. Make sales and marketing a priority.
Clearly, sales and marketing are key to success, but many small business owners don’t have expertise in these areas. Evaluate a few of the free or inexpensive cloud-based applications that can help you optimize for search engines and improve PPC campaign results, increase lead generation or make it easy to launch and maintain marketing campaigns. By getting a bit of help with these sales and marketing activities, you can increase market awareness about your product and allow your team to dedicate more time to improving it.
2. Listen to your customers.
Small businesses need to keep up with the changing needs of their customers in order to keep an edge on the competition. Ensure that there is a way for customers to voice their feedback and for you to show that you’re listening. Create a forum that allows the people actually using your product to share their experiences. This way, you can monitor customers’ satisfaction, provide great customer service and make adjustments and improvements as necessary. Doing so will build your brand and reputation as a customer-centric company.
3. Simplify day-to-day activities and automate workflows to improve productivity.
Try out a customer relationship management (CRM) or project management solution to help you spend less time on administrative tasks, like inputting customer details and organizing call notes, and more time ensuring that each customer has a positive experience while interacting with your product. For example, Yep Roc, a North Carolina-based music label, prepares for the annual SXSW music festival with the help of its project management tool. Organizers can manage performer contracts, vendors and catering contacts, ensuring that all tasks are completed in time for the show and the audience has the best experience possible.
4. Build and nurture customer relationships.
Small business owners may think it’s impossible to create a personalized experience for each customer, but there are simple ways your team can build meaningful relationships. Employees who can recall customer details, such as recent purchases, can create conversations around your product. Ensure that your team has access to all necessary customer information so they can easily build high-quality relationships and grow a loyal customer base.
5. Collaborate with your team to brainstorm new ideas.
Whether your team members are located in the same office or scattered across the globe, consistent collaboration will increase efficiency and productivity and strengthen the team’s bond. Set time aside each week or month, whatever works best for your team, to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of one another for ways to solve problems, improve your product and create new opportunities.
6. Attract and retain talented employees.
In order to attract and retain high-caliber employees, offer flexible work arrangements and areas in which to relax. Instead of driving your staff to work an 80-or 90-hour week every week, respect employees and look after their well-being with balanced work-life schedules. Working hard is important, but taking time to relax and recharge batteries is just as important. Allow yourself and your team to take breaks and de-stress. You’d be surprised what a time-out can do for your mental sharpness and creativity. Also, celebrating the team’s success is key to keeping employees motivated. Bring the team together for a total-office cheers to acknowledge the contribution of the entire team, or take a break from the day and go out to lunch together to celebrate wins.
Building a successful business takes time, and it shouldn’t be a sprint. Conquering each of these tasks will allow business owners to reach short-term goals while continually working toward their long-term objectives. Start today, be consistent and, ultimately, you’ll get where you want to go.