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5 New Year Resolutions for Small Businesses

The new year is a great time to look at the past year's objectives and marketing results, re-evaluate those marketing goals and set new and higher sights for the next 12 months. When setting goals, it's important to keep some key points in mind. It is not worthwhile to merely set a goal. Every goal should follow the commonly known SMART acronym:

S- specific
M- measurable
A- attainable
R- relevant
T- time-bound

If you're a small business with big goals for the new year, take a look at these resolutions for driving sales. Apply the SMART goals to every suggestion and to your specific business.

1. Develop an online presence

Building an online presence can be time consuming and at times frustrating. But it becomes a lot easier if you know where to start. The EO Fire Blog gives seven ways you can build your online presence for beginners. We would like to point out just a few of them that are especially pertinent. These steps are not just helpful for new beginners but for well, established businesses to continue performing at their best.

Start with a solid platform. Your website should be top notch especially because the goal of outside content is to drive people to your website. A place that customers and users can go to and find information easily and conveniently. It should be pleasing aesthetically and filled with valuable content.

Be social. This does not mean you have to be posting daily on six different social media platforms. Pick two or three and be consistent on those. Post relevant content and reach out to groups and sites that share common interests and build a relationship with them

2. Write a Style Guide for your company to improve your brand

Developing a consistent brand is important for any business of any size. Consistency means using the same fonts, logos, color schemes and so forth. A brand style guide will help this consistency be passed down from different hands, not to mention have a steady and reliable brand between departments. Having a formal style guide will force you to sit down and really think and brainstorm what your branding looks like and represents.

The goal is when your audience sees your branding in different places, they immediately recognize it as yours. When you see McDonald's golden arches or hear their brand ring tone, you know exactly who it is and what to expect from them.

Planning and researching a good style guide is important. So take the time to build a solid foundation. Check out these 14 great examples of good style guides from the Hub Spot blog. They might help for some inspiration for your own brand style guide.

3. Define and market your specific target audience

If your target audience is currently, "everyone," you know you need to change something. In rifle shooting, if you don't know where to aim, you don't know where to shoot. No target means no bulls eye. The same goes with marketing. No target audience means no marketing success. You know a company or business has a specific target audience when we as the consumers know who it is. The Johnson and Johnson Company targets young families, John Deere targets active, handymen, Covergirl targets teenage girls and so forth. You should always create time to plan and know who you want to target before you start to market.

All in all, it's vital you know exactly who is your target audience, it affects everything else you do.

4. Make yourself an expert in your field

Why would someone choose your business over another? Are your prices better? Is your product better made? Do you have better sales and deals? Are you more personable? Are you a better salesman? One way to make yourself stand out above other companies is making yourself an expert in your field.

Masterful Marketing gives eight ways to differentiate your business. One of them focuses on how businesses can make themselves an expert in your sphere. Becoming and staying an expert is not easy, but very doable. You do this by hiring the right people with the right expertise and building your reputation through blogs, online videos and social media pages. It also involves a lot of research and staying up-to-date on the latest modernities.

If people have questions, they want answers from experts. If you become and market yourself as an expert, they will turn to you and your business for answers.

Entrepreneur provides seven steps on how you can promote yourself as an expert. A lot of the steps include PR techniques such as doing more public speaking gigs and getting interviewed on radio and TV shows.

5. Stay on the cutting edge of innovation

We live in an ever-changing world and technology innovation never sleeps. In order to stay up with the evolving times, your business has to continue adapting. Fifteen years ago, social media was completely different. The words Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat were practically non-existent. Businesses didn't have to worry about posting to those channels. But now, It's vital that they do. Companies who don't change with modernity get lost and left behind.

Forbes wrote an article about the importance of staying up-to-date on technological trends. In it they explain how technology has always been changing and innovating since the beginning of time. When you lag behind of innovation, you're missing out on opportunities to grow.

Be a fast follower. An easy way to stay up in the times is to always be watching and waiting. Once a new technological marketing strategy or business trend presents itself and proves to be worthwhile, climb aboard and start implementing it. You don't have to be the innovator, just a fast follower. Instagram became popular extremely fast. The sooner businesses noticed and took action the better it was for them.

Even though you are a small business, doesn't mean you have to set small goals. Being a small business gives you many opportunities, such as the chance to work closer with clients, specialize in niche areas, develop a tight knit office and more. By creating specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals, you can achieve many things this year. The given five new year resolutions are a great place to start.

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