As January rolls on, it’s time to be honest with yourself—are you on track with your resolutions? If you’re like many of us, you ended the prior year with the best of intentions, making mental notes about all the goals you want to strive for and new milestones to achieve.
And while your heart is in the right place, statistically, the likelihood that you’ll actively pursue all of your new year’s goals is pretty slim. In fact, 80 percent of folks will fail to achieve their resolutions, and come February, they’re done completely.
But it doesn’t have to be like that, especially where your business is concerned. There are things you can do to help both keep things on track and boost your business for the coming year—making it easier to achieve those goals. Read on for tips you can use to build momentum and crush the next 11 months.
Document Your Goals
Got goals, or ideas to help further your cause? Write them down. Taking the time to put a plan together on paper (or even the Notes app on your phone or tablet), will keep the ideas fresh, and even more importantly, help you organize your thoughts.
Being able to describe the things you’re striving for will help you actually achieve them. A study by psychology professor Gail Matthews backs this up and states that those who write their goals down daily are 42 percent more likely to achieve them. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And while running a business can be a 24/7 commitment, taking a few minutes to jot down your plans or aspirations is something to help keep you focused and on track to hit your goals.
Take Stock of Your Customer Experience
In a day and age where online shopping continues to grow in massive numbers, having the ability to replicate the excellent customer service found in certain brick and mortar stores is becoming increasingly important. And successful e-commerce SMBs will continue to have to find ways to distinguish themselves within an ever-expanding universe.
From site navigation and page-load time, to helpful product photos, reviews, and FAQs, it’s all part of the customer experience. Ensuring that all of these aspects are in top form will ultimately help you provide a better experience and drive more business. Offering free shipping and returns can also help in building loyalty and creating customers for life.
Take Note of What Others Are Doing Well, Even Your Competitors
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. While the old adage may not totally apply here, there’s certainly nothing wrong with studying what your competitors are doing—right or wrong—and then applying some of those principles to your own company.
Most successful businesses employ different strategies for analyzing their competition, and according to a study in the Harvard Business Review, early exposure to competitors may have an immunizing effect on a startup, similar to how a person being exposed to an illness can forge antibodies to help provide more lasting protection.
These days, there’s loads of data out there that you can easily gather just by doing a few pretty easy searches on things such as keyword usage, messaging on social channels, industry media updates and more. Attending industry conferences is also a great way to learn more about competitors, and often some of the more prominent ones will have speakers there walking attendees through some of their tactics and success stories.
Create a Winning Company Culture
Some bosses are respected, but not liked. Some may be beloved, but do little to inspire greatness when it comes to running a business. It is possible to do both, and ultimately, it will set the tone for a killer company culture. Little things can go a long way—recognizing your employees in a public forum, or just taking a couple minutes to say thanks for a job well done.
A positive work environment can ultimately have a positive impact on productivity. The effects can also have external-facing benefits. Happy employees are more engaged and effective, and according to the Harvard Business Review: “When organizations develop positive, virtuous cultures they achieve significantly higher levels of organizational effectiveness—including financial performance, customer satisfaction, productivity, and employee engagement.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
If you asked virtually any business leader, most all would tell you that they’ve experienced epic failures in their careers at one time or another. The fear of failing often holds people and businesses back from achieving their goals…but why?
Avoiding the possibility of pain seems to be a strong contributing factor. And this avoidance of feeling bad can go a long in holding companies back from innovating, forging new partnerships or just pushing the business further. And while it may sound cliché, there’s a lot of learning to be had in the process. Bill Gates summed it up nicely: “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s more important to heed the lessons in failure.”
In the end, trying something and having it fail may be better than never venturing out of your comfort zone and always wondering what might’ve been.
Get the Right Tools
As you ponder your goals and resolutions for the year ahead, one tangible way you can help set your business up for success is to ensure you have the right tools in place. Shippo’s shipping solution is extremely easy-to-use, efficient and will most always save your company substantially on shipping costs—making it easier to ultimately grow your business.