18 Goals that SMEs Should Embrace Year Round
Business| By Stuart Ridley | May 27, 2020
By making a plan and tracking business goals year-round, SMEs can be smart about keeping the focus squarely on objectives that will help to achieve success.
New resolutions, greater ambitions, higher targets; so often we leave our business goal-setting to the “new-leaf” times of the calendar: new year and new financial year. Or, for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, goal-setting has been put on the backburner as they race to deal with new day-to-day challenges. But it’s wise to make a plan for success and keep business goal-setting front of mind from January right through to December and through the challenges of uncertain times. Achieving those goals – even small, realistic goals – will boost your motivation, satisfaction and sense of purpose throughout the year. Here are 18 business goals to keep in sight year-round.
Update Your Business Plan Regularly
You've had good days and bad days in the past 12 months, so learn what you can from them. Use these lessons to help you review how your business is performing against the expectations you laid out in your business plan last year, last quarter, and last month. Writing down what you want to improve will help motivate you to achieve your goals.
If you don’t have a business plan, the biggest question is, why not? It might be time to learn more about writing a business plan. For more information, follow the Australian government’s step-by-step guide on developing a business plan.
Work on Your Business, Not in It
As a business owner, you’re often deep in the weeds of your business. Make time every week or fortnight to work on your business rather than in it. That means focusing on planning, broader strategy, lead generation and more. That kind of regular high-level thinking will help you identify opportunities and challenges as, or even before, they arise.
Not sure how to step back and look at the bigger picture? Then it’s time to take some advice: opt for a 12-month subscription to Your Business Network’s Business Toolkit. Its knowledge library makes it easier to research opportunities and challenges ahead for your business, then plan how you'll address them. You can also ask questions and receive confidential help from experienced consultants within two business days via an online forum.
Compare Your Business’s Goals with Industry Benchmarks
Yes, your business is unique but knowing where you stand against similar businesses is a good way to keep track of your business’ health – and plan better for the long-term against various types of business goals.
There is excellent information from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to help you measure your financial performance. The ATO analyses data from tax returns and activity statements to set small business benchmarks across each industry.
These benchmarks not only help the ATO spot tax dodgers – they'll also help you see how your business is performing, view profit/loss benchmarks via the ATO app, help you set new goals and objectives and even identify where to cut costs.
You'll need some info including:
- Gross income
- Salary and wages
- Vehicle costs
- Interest on overdraft and credit cards
- Payments to suppliers and contractors
- Cost of sales
Keep To-Do Lists in Plain Sight to Achieve Common Goals
Clear communication about weekly and monthly activities is essential for good teamwork. Sure, our smartphones and laptops are amazing for helping us manage multiple tasks and appointments but weekly (or monthly) planners up on walls are still in fashion for good reason: they make it super easy for the whole team to see what's coming up, share goals and objectives and achieve common goals together. If working remotely, virtual organisation platforms such as Monday, Trello and Avaza will keep everyone on the same page.
Office Stationery to Try
- J.Burrows Magnetic Monthly Calendar Board 356 x 356mm
- Studymate Grip Whiteboard Markers Bullet Assorted 4 Pack
- J.Burrows A4 Day Planner Pad 50 sheet
- Post-it Adhesive Weekly Wall Planner Gradient
- J.Burrows A4 Undated Week to View Planner 20 Sheet
- J.Burrows A4 Undated Task Planner Pad 20 sheet
Support Flexible Working with Better Mobile Internet
Laptops are essential for flexible work from home or remote working and a good internet connection is also a must. Public WiFi networks might be fine for basic connectivity when out and about and hotspotting to a smartphone is OK in short bursts but a better and safer option is having mobile internet connectivity built into the laptop.
Laptops to Try
Streamline Your BAS Routine
If you're collecting GST and you do a regular Business Activity Statement (BAS) for the ATO, you know it can chew up more hours than you'd like. But there are plenty of ways to make it easier and spend your time more productively.
Don’t be afraid to outsource your bookkeeping or automate a lot of your BAS record keeping using accounting software. Learn more about making BAS time easier.
Drive up Customer Satisfaction with Easier Payments
Point-of-sale terminals work well in fixed locations such as in-store but what if you want to take payments at the markets or, when social isolating rules lift, when visiting a customer on their own premises? Most customers prefer digital payments these days and the latest mobile credit card readers with Bluetooth make it easy to accept payments on the go, not to mention improving customer service and customer satisfaction.
Credit Card Reader to Try
Increase Productivity with Better Data Storage
Of course, cloud computing makes day-to-day data storage simple but it's still worth keeping back-ups of all your valuable files and records offline. An external hard drive is an affordable, convenient way to expand the data storage capacity of your computer whenever and wherever you need it.
And if you regularly work with large files, an external hard drive can speed up your PC's performance by taking the load off the internal drive and do wonders for your productivity.
Hard Drives to Try
Organisational Supplies to Try
Improve ‘Green’ Credentials by Sorting Recyclables
It seems so basic to separate recyclables from rubbish. But when someone is in a rush to finish lunch or get out the door, it can be tough to stick to the sustainable program. In the office, colour-coded bins will help staff put paper, mixed recyclables, landfill and organic waste into their respective containers with barely a thought.
And if you’re wondering why recycling should be a business goal, know this: surveys have found that people (particularly millennials) want to work at environmentally conscious companies. Clear and active recycling sends a message to both staff and customers that your business cares about climate change.
Do More For the Environment by Recycling Office Items
Don’t stop your eco-conscious business goals at colour-coded bins. Your business can also help reduce the amount of used or worn-out office items sent to landfill (such as pens, staplers or even coffee capsules) by collecting them in a TerraCycle box.
TerraCycle is a great Aussie organisation that recycles or upcycles common office waste previously thought to be un-recyclable. When you collect and send non-electronic office items to TerraCycle, they'll be sorted and converted to materials that will, in turn, make new products, like garden furniture made from pen plastic. If you invest in TerraCycle collection boxes at Officeworks, you'll also be contributing to the Restoring Australia initiative where Officeworks plants two trees for every tree used in its paper products.
Keep Health Front of Mind
Whether you’re looking out for a team of employees, or just yourself, staying healthy is critical to the smooth day-to-day operation of your business. Fruit supplies a bunch of health-boosting nutrients, such as vitamin C, dietary fibre, potassium and folate, all in a convenient and delicious package.
When we’re busy, many of us struggle to eat the recommended two serves a day, so if you are in an office order up a health injection with a weekly fruit delivery for anywhere from 10 to 100 people. If the office is working remotely, encourage healthy snacking by having scheduled fruit breaks on the workday calendar.
What to Try
Reward Your Team More Often
Research suggests that staff feel more motivated if their good work is recognised and rewarded immediately, rather than waiting for an annual bonus. And the reward doesn’t have to be large; it’s the recognition that counts. Gift cards are a great way to thank team members who've gone the extra mile in customer service, thrown themselves into a new project, or simply achieved their personal goals.
Gift Card Rewards to Try
Focus More on Fitness and Good Sleep Habits
Regular exercise and good sleep are well-known performance boosters, improving focus and energy levels throughout the day, while lack of sleep can seriously impact your wellbeing and performance, so it makes business sense to keep your team on the right track.
Fitness monitors take the idea that “you can't manage what you don't measure” several thousand steps (or sleep cycles) further in a small and wirelessly connected package. Many of these devices monitor heart rate and movement to help manage and improve daily activities, including exercise, and some can also measure light-, deep- and REM-sleep quality.
Fitness trackers and sports smart watches can also deliver peaceful wake-up vibrations, reminders to move from your desk and notifications from your smartphone to help you achieve your business objectives. Once everyone’s equipped, a friendly competition to see who can clock-up the most steps is a fun way to get everyone moving more.
Fitness Trackers to Try
Brush up on Fair Work Rules Before Hiring New Employees
Fortunately, most small business owners want to comply with Fair Work rules. Start on the right foot by understanding your obligations as an employer for wages, conditions and HR policies.
Using Business Embassy's handy kit means you won’t have to go back to do time-consuming admin at a later date. The kit includes checklists, policies, forms and letters of appointment templates. You can also get phone consulting via the firm's HR Help Premium Service.
Improve Productivity With Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Open-plan offices have their benefits but they're not ideal when it’s time for a phone or video conference. Double ear headsets with good quality microphones improve call quality so you never need to raise your voice to be heard. And some models have noise-cancelling earphones, helping to block out distractions, all of which will help boost productivity and increase revenue. If working from home, noise-cancelling headphones can be a lifesaver in shared households or households with young kids.
Noise-Cancelling Headphones to Try
Make It Easier for Staff to Find the Essentials
As your team grows, you want to make it easy to find office stationery, mugs and other supplies they need. Otherwise they'll lose time – and likely patience – with aimless searching. To help everyone reach their productivity goals, a super-fast organisational hack is to label storage spaces (cupboards, shelves, pigeonholes, etc.) marking a clear place for everything. It'll also help you see at a glance what needs restocking.
Review and Update Your Software Licenses
If you've grown your software library ad hoc, you've probably lost time and productivity trialling different options or overspent on licences for software you don't need. Still, that's no excuse for pirating software: in Australia 18% of software is unlicensed according to a 2018 Business Software Alliance report and businesses caught pirating software can be hit with heavy fines.
Instead, save time, money and hassle with a software licensing package tailored for your business that will give you the tools you need to be creative, productive and successful, without the risk of fines that could set back your overall profitability goals.