For most of us, the New Year is a time to reflect on the happenings of the year just gone and to outline the goals we want to achieve to kick-start new habits that will turn resolutions into accomplishments. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since starting my business, finder.com.au, it’s that you need high expectations for both yourself and for your business, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.
Setting a vision is crucial. Pick achievable, yet challenging goals for your business. If your expectations are too low, it’s likely you’ll stop challenging yourself and your staff, and this could mean the difference between having an average year where things just plot along, and having your best (and most profitable) year yet. Setting goals makes you accountable and sets up a benchmark for the year that lies ahead.
Here are some areas to focus on in 2017 to help your business push boundaries and expectations, so it can achieve the unimaginable.
Honour your people
Believe in you ‘crew’ and nurture their professional development to achieve beyond what you both thought was possible. In 2016, we sent over 20 staff members to MozCon which is an innovative SEO conference in Seattle to sharpen their SEO knowledge and skills.
In our offices around the globe, we continually invest in people’s learning and development by providing regular program/software training sessions, ongoing support for up and coming managers, media training for company spokespeople, and much more.
If you want staff to be passionate about your business, you need to provide them with the tools and drive required to think critically and to innovate. Workplace culture is also critical to achieving business success. Reward staff and recognise achievement, it’s as simple as that.
The workforce is dynamic and increasingly things are done online, so consider what functions in your business could be made virtual. I have a virtual personal assistant and she helps me get through a tremendous amount of work, no matter where I’m based.
I’ve spent a lot of time in New York in 2016 establishing finder.com and I’ve found having a virtual assistant has revolutionised my time. We’re growing our business at a fast pace and we’re looking to continually increase our remote staff so we have all global bases covered.
Invest in SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is dominating all forms of web marketing, and if you’re not investing in SEO then you’re missing out on a valuable marketing avenue and traffic source.
SEO has changed the marketing landscape for all businesses, not just online businesses. So if you are not competent in SEO or haven’t already begun to invest in SEO, hire someone who is. This is one of the top skill sets you need in a successful team and content creation is one of the most important ways to boost your SEO in 2017.
Whether it’s Google Analytics or keyword optimisation software, take time to understand how users engage with your website so you can enhance the user experience and increase your conversion rate, and your brand equity. Ultimately, you want people to enjoy visiting your website and finding whatever it is they’re looking for.
Analyse market trends
Having the wisdom to predict future trends is a talent of a great CEO. You need to know where the future lies to be able to direct your company accordingly. If you have accurate information about upcoming industry trends, you give your business the best chance to capitalise on opportunities before they arise.
Conduct your own online market research to identify gaps in the market and seek out networking opportunities to give yourself a competitive advantage.
Regularly monitor progress
Don’t wait a whole year to make new resolutions, but instead get into a habit of regular reporting so you can frequently review your business to see how it’s tracking. At finder.com.au we set ‘resolutions’ every 60 days and work in 60 day cycles as this ensures that any paint points or bottlenecks are identified and resolved quickly. It also gives us an opportunity to celebrate big company wins.
Setting 60-day goals for each vertical or department of the business allows you to make teams accountable and it keeps the crew on track as they move towards a tangible goal with deliverable outcomes. Our success is the culmination of many 60-day goals, pushing us further towards our core company vision.
As we gear up for 2017, focus on the most valuable areas of your business that require attention and come up with actionable ways to improve. As you finalise your business roadmap for the new year, don’t forget to cherish the accomplishments, challenges, and learning curves of 2016.