New Year, New Internet Business Goals
The New Year is officially upon us and you’ve likely made some personal resolutions for yourself that you’ll strive to manage and maintain. As a business owner, you might be inclined to set some resolutions for your company as you review data from the past year and project and plan for the year ahead.
If we have one piece of advice for you, it’s this: STOP MAKING CRAPPY RESOLUTIONS YOU DON’T INTEND TO KEEP!
Less than half the people who made a resolution in 2012 managed to keep them 6 months through the new year. Typically, resolutions fail because they aren’t set up for success.
In order to attain new customers and achieve your business endeavors in 2014, you’ll need to think about your goals instead. That’s why it’s critical to set “SMART Goals”
When it comes to the Internet, considerations like redesigning your website or planning inbound marketing campaigns are not only crucial to your business, but these plans can also go astray if not properly managed. In short, goals help us focus.
Want to succeed? Think SMART.
Creating SMART goals is about setting focused intentions on specific, trackable, and tangible targets.
Setting specific goals is the key to achievement. In order to set specific goals start by asking the six general “W” questions (who, what, where, when, which, why).
In order to measure your progress and ensure that you’re staying on track and reaching your target dates you must measure the progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
By planning your steps wisely and establishing a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps, you can attain almost any goal you set. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them.
Realistic goals are those that represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.
Your goal, along with being specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, must also be timely. This means that your goal should be coupled with a time frame. If your goal has no sense of urgency, the chances you’ll get around to accomplishing it are slim. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by April 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
By creating specific and measurable goals, you can better craft a plan to attain them. This new year, determine exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there. Stop saying, “I want to be more successful.” Instead say, “I want to increase profits by 30% through a combination of raising my prices by 10% and following up with 5 clients to produce one additional project each month.” Then set a time frame for yourself and execute your plan into action.
If being smart will improve your businesses outreach, then being smarter will certainly make those goals much more efficient in the long run. Here are steps you should take once you accomplish your goal:
You accomplished your goal, congratulations! If you reached your goal within your set time frame, what made it possible? Which parts of your strategy allowed for your achievement. If your goal wasn’t met, why not? What held you back? With any goal or business objective, you must be prepared to evaluate its outcome. If the results don’t seem worth the time you invested, it might be worth it to reconsider or RE-evaluate your goals.
Now that you have reasoning behind your success or lack thereof, how can you use that knowledge to your advantage in future campaigns? Learn from both your success and your failure!
Setting The Goal
The business goals you make don’t have to be anything extreme or difficult, you can keep those for your resolutions. Start by giving yourself a dose of reality. Put an end to making lofty goals that simply don’t jive with your business culture or missions. Keep it simple and set 2-3 goals that fit within the scope and objectives of your business. Just be sure that these goals are ones that you CAN actually accomplish, are in line with what you have done and that will help keep your existing progress moving forward.
Here are 4 suggestions to help you determine your web goals for 2014:
- Ask your internal employees what they are hear from clients.
- Talk to your sales force on what they have heard in the marketplace.
- Ask yourself and your team – “how do we want to grow next year”
- Look at statistical data in your industry to determine trends and opportunities of untapped potential you could potentially fill.
Finally, here are some web-related goals we think you should already be considering for the year ahead. These are just a few of the up-and-coming digital trends and current best-practices that are essential for building your online business in 2014:
- How does your website look on mobile and tablet devices? If your site was built in 2008 and still contains Flash slideshows, it’s time for you to seriously consider a quick website evaluation and upgrade as one of your goals for 2014. There are many other mobile considerations you need to be aware of now such as responsive design, Google penalties for poorly configured mobile sites and custom built mobile apps just to name a few.
- How active are you on social media networks? You may still think that being signed up on Facebook and having a Business Page is enough, but in 2014 it will be more critical than ever to take those social media Business profiles and actually use them! It’s almost strange to see how many brands out there create social media profiles and rarely update or use them. This year, make a promise to yourself to focus on just ONE single social network. You don’t need to use them all, but considering a platform like Google+ and Pinterest can help boost engagement and interaction with your current and prospective customers.
- Does your website get sufficient traffic from search engines? When you launched your website, did it come with initial on-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) setup? If you’re not sure what this is (or don’t know if your website even gets traffic from search engines), then it’s likely that your site is not optimized properly or at all. In 2014, if your website doesn’t have proper on-page SEO, and an ongoing SEO campaign that keeps your content and meta tags updated, you might not receive the traffic you’re looking for. Make sure your on-page SEO is set, updated and ready for the New Year!
- How much traffic do you get on your website from search engines? If you have on-page SEO updated throughout your entire site, engage in social media consistently and are ready to be seen on any mobile or tablet device, you should also be monitoring your websites performance on a frequent basis as well. Because web design and SEO requirements change so often, it’s highly important to monitor your website’s performance. If you already use an analytics service, like Google Analytics, that’s great – but you need to do more. Monitoring a website’s performance is more than just logging in once a week to see if your traffic has increased. You not only need to check for traffic indicators, but also Google penalty threats, inbound link reports, and more. There are many great (free) tools available through Google Webmaster Tools (especially link reports and site status reports) and Google Analytics. Once you know the status of your website and how Google updates may be affecting you, you’ll know how to change your design, content or online marketing strategy to improve your performance.
Set your business goals now, and take massive action to achieve them. The ending of a year opens the opportunity for you to review mistakes and opportunities that you can learn from. Once you take the time to talk through some of these crucial business questions and considerations, be sure to make a plan to implement changes and business goals to redirect your company to be successful and profitable in the New Year.
Here are some final words of wisdom on goals from Stephen Covey’s classic, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
“Be proactive and begin with the end in mind. You’re more likely to attain your goals if you frame them in the right way and feel a strong commitment to your objective.”
Right now, take a minute and let us know below what’s the FIRST thing you are going to do to get some online momentum and visibility for 2014. We’d love to hear your plans!
Need help coming up with your SMART Goals for your online business in 2014? Contact us, we’re here to help.