Small business goal-setting for 2012

With 2011 coming to an end, it is time to focus your attention on the year ahead. Now is the time to decide where you want to make changes in your small business, decide where you want to focus your marketing energy, and determine what worked and what didn't in 2011. It is a time to sit down and set new goals for your business.

Determine what worked

When it comes to setting goals for 2012, you must begin by determining what didn't work for your business in 2011. Maybe you chose a marketing option that really didn't help bring in new revenue. Maybe you chose a product line that didn't sell and is still sitting on your shelf.

Once you determine what didn't work, you need to determine why it didn't work. Was your marketing plan designed toward the right people? Were the products you ordered really what customers wanted? If you don't know the answers to these questions, consider creating a customer survey to ask them what they are looking for. Consider offering a small discount to every customer who completes the survey.

Determine what you want to accomplish

After you have figured out what doesn't work, you need to determine what it is that you want your business to accomplish in 2012. Obviously you want to increase sales, but by how much? Do you want to expand your business or branch out into new areas? Will your market support these changes? These are all questions you need to ask yourself when thinking about your business goals for 2012.

Create a plan of action

Once you know your direction, then you need to create a plan. Divide the year into segments and determine where you want to be or what you want to accomplish by a certain date. Write out a course of action. For example, if you want to target a new market, write this out. In your plan, answer how you will market to this new target market, what products will best suit them, and how you will convince them that your business is what they need.

Plan out your goals for the entire year. While this may not end up being followed exactly, or you may find that you add to it as the year goes along, it creates a framework for you to follow and can serve as inspiration to keep you on track throughout the year.
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