The year 2020 really did a number on individuals, businesses, and the world in general. Looking at the toll that a worldwide pandemic took on companies, the Washington Post states that over 100,000 small businesses have closed their doors forever as a direct result of the virus and the effect it had on the economy. And even for those companies that have managed to weather the storm, there are challenging times ahead.
Smart Business Objectives Entrepreneurs Should Focus on Now
Each year, entrepreneurs form their business strategy for the months ahead, basing actions and developments on the end game. What do they want to see at the close of the year, and how they can align this year with their long-term goals?
With the pandemic still going on and the world constantly changing, what business objectives should entrepreneurs focus on now?
Let’s look at five smart business objectives and how they can impact your company’s growth:
- Brand for the new normal
- Move to an at-home office
- Boost customer loyalty
- Increase social media marketing and interaction
- Increase website traffic
Objective 1: Brand for the New Normal
With that shift to online-only and online-preferred marketing and services, we see corporations touting their ability to provide services that are tailored for the new normal. Promoting free shipping/returns, curbside pickup, offering incentives and new digital customers, etc. are the new norms.
To make this as organic as possible and prevent it from looking like a bandwagon-jumping gimmick, it’s important to promote these as part of your branding strategy.
Yes, you want your efforts to be noticed and appreciated, but you don’t want them to be haphazard, out of tune with your current branding, off-message, or generic.
What to Do: Now is the time to set aside part of your marketing budget to ensure that you’re applying good brand identity design principles across the board, and thinking in the long-term, not just the present.
Some ideas that you might consider include:
- Brand with digital media
- Create a personal brand for yourself
- Volunteer locally to create brand awareness
- Give products or services for free to spread the word
Objective 2: Create a Productive At-Home Office
Working from home has often been cited as a perk for both employees and business owners. But these days it’s a little more than that — it’s just good business sense.
If you made the shift from office space to an at-home office at the beginning of the pandemic, you likely saw how sustainable it is. It cuts down on your required budget, makes use of your resources in a more effective manner, and even eliminates your commute. This gives you more time to focus on what really matters in your business.
However, many who made the shift did so in a rather slapdash manner. For many, that means that they’re still working out of a corner of the living room, without a dedicated workspace, which cuts down on productivity.
What to Do: If working from home is a beneficial step for you — as it has been for many — and you like to keep your budget low, it’s wiser to invest in productivity tools and a good working environment in your home office. Setting it up now will cut down stress levels, boost productivity, and enable you to keep your focus where it needs to be: growing your brand.
Objective 3: Boost Customer Loyalty Through Customer Service
Customer service is a recurring concern for many entrepreneurs. This is because it heavily impacts word of mouth, which is one of the most effective ways of marketing yourself, with the lowest budget.
Now more than ever, customer service deserves your attention. Your customers have been through a difficult time over the last year — or even longer. Your understanding, compassion, and willingness to work with customers now, in times of need, will do more than you can imagine to build up their loyalty.
What to Do: Set aside time and budget to create customer service initiatives that reward your customers for coming back to you and sticking with you. Again, look to the long-term. All indications point to this rough patch in the economy. So set up incentives and rewards programs that lasts.
Objective 4: Engage with Social Media Marketing
A business objective that is worth your time is building your social media marketing. Not just increasing the amount of content you post, or the number of followers, but focusing on quality over quantity.
This is the time for digital transformation to ensure that your customers — and potential customers — understand their continued importance to your business. By giving extra attention to your fans and followers, you convert them right from the word, “Hello”.
Engaging with your social media audience also lets you know exactly what your customers or prospects are looking for. It’s time to reach out to them, rather than play the dormant role of letting them come to you.
What to Do: Set up a CMS to orchestrate regular posts, curate content to provide value and interest, make everything easily shareable — but above all, take the time to interact with your customers as individuals. Respond to complaints, questions, comments, and remember that each public interaction with your brand can bring in new customers.
Objective 5: Increase Website Traffic
Your business website is the home base for your company. It’s the most dedicated advertising space you can have. It’s the hub for customer interactions, and it’s the ideal branding opportunity. How you handle your site can position you as an authority in your field. It can also turn visitors into consumers, and effectively tell your story, bringing in new customers and retaining existing ones.
But your site won’t have the chance to do any of that if no one is visiting it.
Just two months into the pandemic, back in April 2020, statistics showed a 129% increase over the previous year in e-commerce sales, and the numbers only continued to skyrocket through the year. The year 2020 showed us a definite shift towards online services and shopping. This shift doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.
This is both good news and bad.
Internet traffic will continue to grow organically, as your potential customers seek out your site, prioritize online services over visiting in-person locations.
However, your competition will also benefit from this trend, so the playing field is fairly level.
What to Do: This illustrates the importance of not only riding trends but capitalizing on them. This is the time to increase the flow of traffic to your website by:
- Boosting your SEO
- Proving your value to your visitors
- Make sure that you’re marketing effectively through PPC
Don’t wait for users to come to you — get out there and direct traffic to your website. And if possible optimize your website for UI and UX to appeal to search engines. After all, that’s one top priority of a good website.
The year 2021 may seem like it’s time to focus on recovery, not on big goals, for fear of overreaching ourselves. You may not have to aim for overly ambitious goals, but these objectives will help you get on with the setback.