It's that time of year when small business owners are looking back at the financial year that was and setting their sights on the financial year to come. This year, though, there's one major perspective change, and that's how the global pandemic has switched the vision for many Aussie businesses.
At Waddle, we love seeing small businesses thrive, which is why we've written the below guide to help spur your business growth by setting business goals for the year ahead.
COVID's shift in small business goals
The recent release of the 2022 Small Business Bravery Report by BizCover positively outlined Australian small business owners' ability to adapt in the face of challenges. COVID-19 caused a loss of customers, lost work and lost revenue for almost half of Aussie small businesses in 2021, according to the report. Which is why this coming financial year, small business owners are re-evaluating their priorities.
More concerned now with personal, family and professional well-being, each small business owner is taking a step in a slightly different direction when it comes to setting business goals for the 2022-23 financial year.
Here are some of our top tips to consider when setting small business goals this year:
Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis
Conducting a SWOT analysis is one of the best business tools you can arm yourself with, particularly when it comes to prioritising areas of business growth that will help achieve the business goals.
Set SMART business goals
You've likely heard this acronym before but it's been a big couple of years, so let us reintroduce you to the five elements of the SMART Framework. Using this can turn your washy goals into actionable plans.
Specific - make sure that your goals are focused and well-defined. You need to have a specific intention before knowing where to aim your business. A specific business goal helps achieve success as it provides a clear point of direction for your company and helps build a business plan for long term success.
Measurable - setting measurable goals means that you can measure the outcome of your progress and stay focused. Every small business goal should be able to be measured at intervals, which gives a good indication of how you're tracking towards your long term goals.
Attainable - it's understandable that this year would be the year you want to flourish, but setting yourself or your business unrealistic expectations is far from a smart goal. If you're not sure what's realistic, you can check in with your industry's association to gain perspective on what realistic growth in your industry looks like.
Relevant - in the wake of the pandemic, it's important to set goals that are based on the existing reality of your business climate. For many businesses, this may not necessarily be to immediately increase revenue, or increase profitability — but be more centred around reinvigorating your staff and increasing employee satisfaction. Your staff and culture is a crucial component in remaining resilient and adaptable to an uncertain year ahead.
Time-Based - time-bound goals are what keep your business on track, instead of seemingly going on and on forever. Smart goals are about achievability — so set a time frame that is realistic for your own business.
Relevant goals for small businesses this coming financial year
Find and keep the right staff
This may sound far more straightforward than the reality your business has experienced over the past few years, and you aren't alone; staff shortages are seriously impacting businesses all across Australia. This is why your small business goals should start with attracting the right employees and retaining them.
Creating a team culture of unity, not just a collection of employees, is what can help drive your business growth as you navigate uncertainty in the year ahead.
Manage supply chain challenges
Crucial to every industry is an efficient and well-running supply chain. Unfortunately, there are currently some major interruptions to global supply chains. For every small business, putting a plan in place on how to manage supply chain disruptions should be at the top of their 2022 business goals.
Digital transformations have been accelerated by the pandemic and social distancing measures. Understandably, some businesses are resistant to digital change, thinking that their product range or services aren't easily converted to online sales or e-commerce. Technology in your business doesn't need to only be about an online presence or your business website. Digital innovation can present a major opportunity to revisit your marketing plan.
If some of your goals for the oncoming financial year are around increased sales or building your personal brand in a new market, then consider conducting a marketing audit to see whether social media marketing (for example) may increase your market share and get your business in front of new customers.
Other digital marketing options such as content marketing can help drive more customers, which is why setting a goal to embrace technology could be a game-changer this year. Technology can also provide enormous benefits to the inner workings of your business. For example, setting up accounting software can breathe new life into your company by helping increase productivity.
Focus on workspace wellbeing
When goal-setting, it's easy to get caught up with numbers and statistical data and ultimately forget that some of your most valuable business resources are your human resources! In the wake of such stressful and turbulent COVID days, many employers are looking at re-building their business model to include supporting the emotional well-being of their team (and themselves)!
Your staff satisfaction can ultimately lead to customer satisfaction, which for any customer-centric business, is the number one priority to help drive revenue. A small business with emotionally supported employees can not only improve productivity on a daily basis but is likely to suffer less staff loss and build business resilience in tough times.
Plan for uncertainty and build resilience
Building goals around resilience is going to be common practice in Australia's small business community this year. Some of the ways small businesses can work to build resilience and plan for uncertainty while increasing profitability are:
- Focus on your existing customers and improving customer service. Your customer loyalty is paramount in ensuring that your business continues even through tough times.
- Know what support options your business has, particularly the financial assistance put in place by the government.
- Stay on top of your business expenses and carefully watch your cash flow.
One of the ways that Waddle supports small businesses to achieve their goals is by helping to provide consistent cash flow through invoice financing. Unlocking the money stuck in unpaid invoices can give you the financial freedom and flexibility to take advantage of opportunities when they arise, support your employees, better service your current customers and even help attract new ones.
To find out how Waddle's innovative invoice financing solution can help underpin your business goals, contact the team today.