Is your small business poised for success in 2014? Can you even answer that question? If not, then take some time to consider the following 10 questions every small business should answer in 2014.
1. What are our goals for 2014?
If you don’t set clear and measurable goals, how will you know whether the year 2014 was a success? Set goals for revenues and profit, customer retention and acquisition, employee hiring and retention, and company milestones you want to achieve in 2014.
2. What is our goal achievement plan in 2014?
Simply stating your goals isn’t enough; you have to craft a detailed step-by-step plan for achieving each one of your goals. Break your annual goals down into monthly goals, monthly goals into weekly goals, and weekly goals into daily tasks. Track your daily tasks; if you complete all of them every day, you’ll stand a good chance of achieving your annual goals.
3. What opportunities did we miss in 2013?
Reflect on the past year and list opportunities you missed: opportunities for growth, marketing, new clients, etc. Then detail how you’re going to avoid missing similar opportunities in 2014.
4. What costs will rise in 2014?
Determine how your overhead and cost-of-living will increase in 2014. Materials, housing, employment, rent, etc., are all potential increases. When your overhead increases, you either need to be more efficient and cut costs or raise your own fees – or both.
5. What about health care?
The repercussions of the Affordable Care Act are still yet to be fully understood, but do your best to anticipate what you’ll need to do to cover your family and employees in 2014. This might be directly related to combating rising costs as well.
6. What is my role in the company?
As a small business owner, how many hats do you wear? Do you micro-manage or let employees be? Do you do everything or delegate everything? Determine what your role in the company is now, what you want your role to be, and then set goals for achieving that status.
7. How can we improve efficiency?
Brainstorm ways you can improve productivity and efficiency for your small business – without sacrificing quality. It might be time to delegate more tasks, such as tasks you don’t need to be doing and could pay someone less to do while you make more actually running your business.
8. How can we improve the customer experience?
Poll customers to find out what your shortcomings are, then craft a plan to improve the customer experience. Let your customers in on the process, and they’ll take ownership of your cause and become staunch word-of-mouth advocates for your company.
9. What is our marketing plan?
From brochures to direct-mail postcards to posters, websites, and mobile marketing, make sure you have a comprehensive yet flexible small business marketing plan (with a full budget) to deploy in 2014.
10. What is our marketing strategy?
What is your exit strategy for your business? Even if you don’t plan on ever selling your business, having an exit strategy will help you make decisions that make your company more valuable.