The top eight business goals you need to set in 2018

Want to make 2018 the year your business finally takes off? Discover the top eight business goals you need to set. 

A new year is the perfect opportunity to take stock of where we are now, and work out what we need to change to get to where we’d like to be.

So where do you want to be at the end of 2018? If part of your vision is running a profitable business you enjoy, then you need to set yourself some business goals to get there.

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The top eight business goals you need to set in 2018

To help you grow an existing business over the year ahead, or get a fledgling business off the ground, here are eight business goals you might want to set for yourself in 2018.

1) Buy new technology or office equipment

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that holding onto old technology or equipment will save them money. But often it’s a false economy.

Old workplace furniture, for example, can lead to lower productivity and even time off work if it causes back and other pain from bad posture. (Read eight ways you can improve your productivity just by sitting more comfortably.)

And a printer that constantly needs fixing, or requires expensive ink will cost your business time and money. Don’t forget software too – can your business work smarter and save money with new or updated software solutions?

So resolve to start 2018 with a clean slate at work, and do a quick audit on your technology and equipment. And if you need to invest in new products to work smarter, do.

2) Focus on new target audiences

Your business has (hopefully) been ticking along quite nicely with your current target audience. But could there be an opportunity to grow beyond this in 2018?

If you feel you have carved out a comfortable and secure niche with your current target audience, who could you expand it to include? Are there any other groups of people or business who need what you offer? Who may benefit from your products or services?

Without neglecting your current customers, consider whether there are opportunities to appeal to new ones and grow your business organically in the year ahead.

3) Hire top talent

Do you already hire employees in your business? Or are you reaching that point yet? If so, make sure that you only hire the best talent in 2018.

Here are a few tips to find employees to help you achieve your 2018 goals:

  • If you already have staff, ask them if they know anyone with the skills you need.
  • Expand your potential talent pool by offering flexible roles.
  • Consider the job interview questions you plan to ask carefully.
  • Use social media, including LinkedIn, as a recruiting tool.

4)  Write a five-year business plan

As mammoth a task as this may appear at first, there’s immense value in writing a five-year plan for your business. With a long term goal to aim for, it’s much easier to work out your plans for 2018.

How? Easy, by chunking back from your five-year goal you can work out what you need to do each year to get there. You can then look at each year (in this case 2018) in isolation and work out monthly goals to move your forward.

This can help inform other strategies, like marketing, social media, PR and recruitment. And help you devise a year-long plan that will genuinely grow your business in the right direction.

5) Improve your business finances

It’s all too easy to ignore the money side of the business – as long as there’s enough in the bank to keep going, we can stick our head in the sand and not worry about it.

But that’s a short sighted and expensive strategy.

With a clear overview of your finances (done regularly) you’ll know exactly what money is coming in, and from where, and if and where you’re leaking profit. You’ll be able to review your expenses and eliminate or reduce any that you need to.

You’ll also be able to see how much you can pay yourself (read Profit First to find out why this is so important!).

Here is a quick list of steps to help you keep a keen eye on your finances:

  • Start tracking all your business expenses.
  • Keep your business and personal bank accounts separate.
  • Review your expenses over the last three months and establish a budget.
  • Compare your budget to your actual expenses.
  • Make sure you put enough by for tax.

6) Get a coach

If there’s one thing that’s made the biggest difference to our own business, it’s coaching.

Having someone outside your business to guide you through a roadmap, hold you accountable, give you a subjective opinion, and validate your strategy and pricing is invaluable.

Without a coach it’s easy to meander. To waste time pursuing activities you enjoy, but don’t necessarily grow your business. To work in your business rather than on it. And to avoid the painful tasks that you really hate, but are essential to move forward.

With a coach there’s nowhere to hide. You HAVE to face up to all areas of your business, and work on it holistically. And, with a great coach behind you, you will make faster progress.

So if you don’t have a coach or mentor yet, make 2018 the year you get one. (Find out how we created an online course that coaches you through your first year in business.)

7) Get investment

Sometimes there’s one thing that you need to move your business up a level: money. And if you don’t have the funds in your business to pay, then it’s worth looking into investment.

If you’re in the US, the government has a list of local and state forms of financial assistance that includes grants. You can search by county, city or state on the USA.gov website. There are STEP grants the Small Business Administration offer to improve your sales and marketing efforts.

If you’re in the UK, there are a number of organisations like Virgin Startup who offer small business loans up to £25,000 (plus business mentoring).

Of course there are other financing and investment options too. But whatever choice you make, do ensure you investigate it carefully before committing.

8) Look after YOU

There’s one business asset pretty much every entrepreneur overlooks: themselves! Your business cannot run without you, so you need to ensure you are well maintained and working at maximum efficiency.

This means taking care of your own mental and physical wellbeing, including:

  • Eating well.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Keeping active.
  • Having friends and interests outside your business.
  • Banishing guilt.
  • Having heathy boundaries in place.

You also need to nurture your entrepreneurial mindset, and eliminate any bad habits that may be holding your business back (like comparisonitis).

So when you’re making your business plans for 2018, add yourself to the list, and make sure you’re fit and ready to lead your business to success over the year ahead.

Make 2018 YOUR business year

Are you ready to make 2018 the year your startup business shines? If so, take a look here to find out how we can help you get it off the ground, by guiding you through our business roadmap with mentoring and support (including live online classes every two weeks), and videos, workbooks and exercises to ensure you’re building your business with confidence every month.

Find out how Kickstart will help you launch and grow your business in 2018.