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New Year Small-Business Goals: Your “Fresh Start” Checklist

Jan 03, 2022

A group of coworkers looking at a laptop and charts

What are your New Year’s resolutions for your small business? When you’re an owner, January usually signifies a fresh start and a renewed commitment to earn more customers, grow profits, retain employees, scale your business — the list goes on! Therefore, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and really think about how things went last year and how you want to grow your business in the year ahead.

Whether you want to continue your current trajectory, adjust your business model here and there or even try something bolder to kick things into high gear, the first order of business is to make a list and a plan. And look … we’ve got the first part covered for you — all you need to do is fill in the blanks! Check out our checklist of popular small-business goals to help get the wheels turning as you gear up for the best year yet.

Step 1: Review Last Year’s Goals

If you’ve been in business for more than a year, we’re guessing that it was about this time last year you set some goals and objectives for the forthcoming 12 months. So, how did it go? Take time to review those goals and whether you met them at last year’s end. This will not only help you be realistic (as past performance can be a great indication of future momentum), but will give you a concrete starting point to create this year’s goals. It can also help you be more strategic about what you want to achieve this year.

Step 2: Planning: Identify Your “Why”

What was your “why” — your purpose, your motivation — for starting your own business in the first place? Is it your “why” now or has it changed? Last year, were your goals and achievements in line with your “why”? And are they still?

Sure, running a business is about making a profit and having financial success. But in both business and in life, your “why” is usually your north star — the deeper, more personal reason (or reasons) that motivates you to power through the good and bad times to reach that goal.

So with your “why” in mind, take the time to think beyond financial endeavors and assess how you will achieve your personal business goals this year. If you’re getting stuck, feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, answering to the questions above can give you a fresh outlook, help you refocus and serve as a reminder as to why you’re working so hard to keep your dream alive.

Step 3: Review and Renew Your Budget

When you’re an adult, you really can’t get away from creating a smart financial budget. As a business owner, it’s doubly so. In fact, setting monthly, quarterly and annual budgets are paramount to your business’s success. If you’re not sure what’s the best way to approach your budgeting goals, it’s best to review last year’s plan, compare to your actual performance, then set the upcoming year’s plan based on that.

It can also be helpful to understand how your competitors are budgeting, especially when it comes to marketing, sales and staffing. For example, if you do your research and discover that your core competitors have begun marketing online (i.e., taking their presence to the digital space with an ecommerce website, social media or online media), it might be a good idea to see how you can tailor your business strategies to meet your customers digitally, too. Then, of course, budget accordingly; consider re-allocating funds from marketing avenues that didn’t perform up to expectations in the previous year. 

Step 4: Show Customers Your Appreciation

 Your customers are the lifeline of your business. After all, they are the ones who have helped get you to where you are today! So as you start a new year, show them how much you appreciate them, their patronage and their loyalty.

Some popular ideas include:

  •        Send a “surprise and delight” offer or free item to thank them for their business

  •        Host a survey to find out what you can do as a business to better meet their needs (rewarding them with a gift or discount for their efforts)

  •        Host an open house celebration

  •        Invite customers to your store to check out your new inventory or pre-released products

  •        Hold a special VIP or Customer Appreciation Day or Weekend event with exclusive specials

  •        Whatever else you can come up with elevate your customers’ experience.

And don’t just do it once —make this a regular event, especially for your most loyal shoppers. Spoiler alert: Making your customer’s day with one of these ideas may be the most rewarding part of your year!

Step 5: Connect and Align with Your Employees

As a retailer, there’s no greater asset to your business (other than your customers) than your employees — especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store. Their success is your success. So communication and transparency with that team (both one-on-one and as a group) is key to making sure that your employees are not only on board with your goals, but that they know you are dedicated to helping them succeed and grow within your company.

The new year is a great time to bring your employees together for a kick-off meeting, so you can share with them your mission and vision for the next 12 months. By broadcasting your vision in person, it’s easier to ensure your team is aware of and aligned with those goals, as well as to set (or reset) the foundation for a successful and productive year ahead. It’s also an effective way to communicate that you are all in this together. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve provided or received employee feedback, carve out time for performance reviews. Take time to evaluate their performance, recognize their hard work if they’ve brought you results, and assess how they can better help you meet your business goals. Yes, reviews a lot of work (especially with a large team), but it’s worth the time and effort. Investing in each employee’s growth and success — as well as providing them a forum to ask questions, address concerns and provide suggestions privately — is paramount to the health of your business.

Step 6: Take Time to Celebrate Wins

You’re a business owner — that is a huge deal! And one you should take a lot of pride in, because your vocation is not for the faint of heart. So while you may be busy planning and forecasting the year ahead, be sure to take a little time to celebrate how far you’ve come with those who helped make it happen!

Whether it’s your first year in business or your 50th, there’s no better time than at the start of a new year to get the team together and have that celebration. In addition to toasting your achievements up to this point and expressing your appreciation for the employees that helped get you there, this is the time to get the troops excited and incentivized to meet the goals you’ve set (hopefully by putting our tips above into practice).

Step 7: Partner with Acima to Help You Hit Your Sales Goals

If you haven’t reached out to Acima to help grow your business, now is the time! When you offer Acima’s lease-purchase options and all the benefits that go with them, you don’t have to turn valuable customers away simply because they don’t have credit or cash to pay for the things they need. Instead, you can help them leverage our simple alternative to financing – a lease-to-own transaction*, and in turn, you can approve more customers and increase sales. Best of all, this convenient, simple point-of sale-system allows you to process a customer lease with no merchant fee required.  

Learn how Acima works today, and use this new year to attract more customers to your business!