Starting a new business is a daunting task for anyone, and trustworthy advice can be hard to come by online. Although there’s plenty of work involved in starting up, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Breaking up the process into chunks can make things easier to manage. With the help of this article, you’ll learn 7 long-term goals all new businesses should have to succeed.
Long-term business goals are goals that you want to accomplish in the future. The length of time that is considered “long-term” can vary from business to business but is more than 12 months. However, for the purpose of this article, we will set the term as a goal 2 years into the future or longer.
1. To Stay in Business for Over 5 Years
One of the first long-term goals a new business should make is to stay in business. Almost 22% of businesses will fail during their first year of operation. And about 50% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years of opening their doors. There are many reasons why business owners fail to reach their business goals. But this is one goal, entrepreneurs cannot afford to miss.
Business growth happens in stages. One of the early stages is survival. During this stage, your business should focus on keeping its doors open. This means using your resources to drive sales while making sure to control your company’s burn rate (the rate a business spends money).
On average, it takes 5-7 years for businesses to reach the success stage. If you want to truly enjoy the success of your business, focus your energy on the things that will create longevity.
2. Increase Sales Each Year
Earning sales is a critical part of running a business. In the early stages of your enterprise, you may find yourself frustrated with a lack of customer traffic, but remember to be patient. Most small businesses don’t become profitable until the 18-24 month mark, and if you want to challenge those odds, it’ll mean pushing yourself as much as you can.
Since sales are the lifeblood of every business, this is a crucial business goal to set. And since you are running new venture, this is a business goal you want to achieve quickly.
One great way to keep sales flowing is to establish reasons why a customer should keep coming back. Returning customers spend 33% more on each order than first-time shoppers, so it’s a worthwhile investment. Tactics such as email lists and reminders, customer feedback forms, and loyalty rewards can help create a long-term client relationship and increase sales overall.
3. Increase Profit Margins
Your profit margin is a way of keeping track of how profitable your business is overall, and it can be useful in assessing where your business is regarding success. Profit margins are ratios expressed as percentages that let you know how much of every dollar your store pockets. Calculating your profit margin will help you understand how well your business is performing.
Before you start looking to make cost cuts, take a deep breath. Despite common misconceptions, you don’t have to cut corners to improve your business’s profit margins. Here are some actions you can take to ensure that even more of your company’s income hits the bottom line.
- Make sure all your products are clearly visible and marketed to customers, rather than shining the spotlight on just one or a few items/services.
- Increase the perceived value of your goods and services
- Streamline the operations process
- Keep materials affordable without risking quality
- Increase prices
TIP: Keep an eye on your business’s profit margin at all times. Track its fluctuation over time to make the most use of it. Your profit margin is a powerful tool that can let you know if you’re pricing your products correctly and how well your business can be expected to perform in the future.
4. Improve Brand Recognition
If you’re just starting, your brand isn’t particularly memorable – yet. That could change if you take the right steps to ensure you create an impactful brand with a strong identity. Your logo is your ambassador – when people see it, you want them to think of your company, and maybe even feel inspired to shop.
Brand recognition isn’t all in the logo, though – it’s also important to cultivate a brand identity. There are many ways to do this, but arguably the easiest method is social media content. Using social media strategically to create engaging content can help others find your company online. Choose what style of personality your brand has to offer and deliver on it. People respond to authenticity and things they find relatable or interesting.
5. Build a Capable Team
There’s a reason entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone – it requires a lot of hard work, time, patience, and resilience. While it’s possible to make your business a solo endeavor, you might have better luck hiring a team to help. Working in a group has many benefits, such as:
- Receive feedback on products and services
- Advice from professionals in the field with hands-on experience
- Decision-making can be more effective
- Multiple perspectives can create a better understanding of the brand
You don’t want to grab just anyone off the street – make sure you’re taking on qualified, capable, and communicative team members who you can depend on. A business is only as successful as its moving parts, and that includes your crew.
6. Streamline the Sales Process
Too many small businesses struggle with streamlining the sales process, and it hurts businesses in the long run. Customers don’t want to have to navigate through page after page of content just trying to checkout online, and when that checkout process gets too complicated, your customer gets bored and walks away.
Making the sales process as easy and convenient as possible is vital to your sales. Make sure that customers can quickly navigate through your store, find what they need, and checkout. If you run an online store, it may help to do a practice run through your own sales process and see how long it takes you to checkout.
TIP: Collect customer information (such as email addresses) at checkout to save time on filling out forms and spreadsheets.
7. Build an Email List or Customer Database
This step is critical for long-term business success. Building a customer contact list is something you want to start right away. Collecting customer email addresses, phone numbers or other information can be a great way to develop resources for marketing tactics in the future. This is another great way to make sure customers keep coming back again and again.
A customer database or email list will allow you to drive sales without spending more money on customer acquisition. This is particularly useful during economic slowdowns and recessions. During those times, you may cut your marketing budget. A customer list will make it possible to market without additional costs.
8. Develop a Positive Online Reputation
Social media marketing isn’t easy, but it’s a highly effective way to increase brand visibility and get your name out there. Cultivate the ideal social media account using information about your target audience, and show them that your brand is unique and has an interesting personality. 25% of small businesses agree that social media has been their most successful digital marketing tool. Success online is critical in the modern business world.
Some quantifiable ways to judge your online reputation include having more positive reviews and a star rating that about 3.5 or 4. You can also make a goal to have your product, service, or business reviewed by a reputable online publication.
Starting a new business requires patience and hard work, but it’s not impossible to be successful if you use the resources available to you. As a new business owner, it is important to take your goal setting seriously. This means setting annual, monthly and quarterly business goals. Using these strategies, you can ensure your startup will make an impact and reach the right customers. With the right amount of planning and follow-through, your business goals will thrive.