By identifying your wins and missteps, you can better plan where you need to pivot or double down for the upcoming year.
2. Look around
Your strategy can’t be made in a vacuum. It’s vital to assess market conditions to see what factors might affect you, both positively and negatively. Is there new competition in your space? Are there new opportunities available because of new technologies? What economic factors might help or hinder your business?
If signs are looking iffy – maybe there’s new legislation that can affect your payroll, or the tight labor market is making it harder to hire, then figure out what you can do to stave off the destructive effects, whether it’s raise prices to cover salary increases or offer more benefits to impact retention. Gather the data you need to ascertain what financial effects these changes might have on your customer base and/or bottom lines so you’re not surprised.
3. Look ahead
Sometimes a way to figure out how to get somewhere is to begin with the end in mind and then work backward to determine the weekly or monthly steps it will take to get there.
Your Top Three 2018 Success Strategies
1. Implement SMART goals
A lofty goal with a 12-month timeline may be too nebulous: Consider using the “SMART” formula, which allows you to create business strategies and tactics that can be easy to track. “SMART” stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based, which helps you to tighten broad goals into ones that keep you on target.
2. Review your vendors
The effect your partners have on your efficiency and bottom line may often get overlooked. By periodically analyzing your supplier relationships and considering any potential economies of scale that might come from consolidation, you can determine if you are getting the value and service you deserve.
3. Commit to networking
Networking is frequently thought of as a priority for job hunters, but a robust network can often be the No. 1 secret to success for small businesses as well. Building your network offers a number of benefits, from helping you forge relationships with new customers to finding talent through trusted connections, getting recommendations for service providers and seeking counsel from other experts.
As part of your 2018 business planning, consider scheduling networking opportunities through professional association meetings, conferences and regular coffee or lunch get-togethers with both new and existing contacts.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer who specializes in small business, finance and real estate.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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