Ten tips to reaching your business goals in 2012

2011 was a tough year for Aussie small business despite much passionate hard work, long hours and persistence.  With local economic obstacles and an unpredictable global economy, it was no surprise the latest MYOB Business Monitor Report found only 19% of business owners increased their revenue (compared with 35% in 2010).  MYOB CEO, Tim Reed commented on this issue late last year, outlining why he thinks we should see optimism, confidence and conditions improve in 2012.

And the good news is that many of you agree with him!  In the latest unveiling of MYOB Business Monitor Report results, we’ve revealed that when it comes to clients and revenue 49% of Aussie SMEs are aiming for growth in 2012.

The report also uncovered the top ten strategic increases to business areas that our group of over 1000 SMEs surveyed indicated they would be including in their business plans.  So to get you on the right path, here are our tips to help you reach them.

  1. 39% plan to increase their focus on customer retention strategies
    Believe it or not; good old fashioned customer service is a key element to retaining customers.  Keeping your customers engaged and delighted will help you avoid the dreaded ‘leaky bucket’ syndrome, while these top tips will set you up for customer loyalty success.
  2. 34% plan to apply a heavier focus to customer acquisition strategies
    Looking to reach out to new customers?  Social media is a great place to start!  Our resident web dude, Daylan Pearce outlines seven easy ways to use Facebook to generate more business and these eleven tips will help you locate customers in any market
  3. 33% plan to grow business activity in new markets
    A new market usually means new customers, and a whole new set of rules.  Just as you created a business plan when you started your business, you need to create a plan to start in a new market.  Use these great tips from MYOB’s Julian Smith to help you plan effectively.
  4. 29% plan to increase number or variety of products or services offered by the business
    Don’t add lots of new products, expecting an immediate boost in sales.  Make sure inclusions to your products and services are adding benefit by undertaking market research before you launch.
  5. 24% plan to boost staff wages
    It’s estimated that it costs businesses six months’ salary to recruit and train new staff members.  Ensuring that you’re paying staff what they’re worth is a key way to boost retention.  Download a free copy of the 2011 Hays Salary Guide to ensure you’re in line with market rates – it’s even available as an iPhone app!
  6. 24% plan to start selling their products or services online
    Don’t have a website?  You can launch one and be selling online in as little as 15 minutes with MYOB Atlas.  And if this isn’t one of your business goals, this post will tell you exactly how being online can boost your business success.
  7. 23% plan to increase the amount of products or services they sell offline
    Sales guru, Neil Rackham says that successful sales people have some common key traits – watch this video to make sure you do too!  And these six strategies will get you on the way to sales success.
  8. 22% plan to conduct more sales promotions during the year
    The NSW Government has put together a handy tool kit to sales promotions, which includes a printable marketing plan template.  Don’t forget to check your state’s legislation, there can be rules and regulations that you must adhere to.
  9. 21% plan to add more part time or casual staff to their business
    Looking to boost your staff numbers?  Firstly, you should check out these top tips from Paul Hassing on writing the perfect job ad.  And don’t forget to consider some of the newer options – like outsourcing admin tasks to a virtual assistant – which can sometimes be more cost effective than hiring new staff members.
  10. 21% plan to spend more money on marketing and advertising their business online
    There are literally a thousand ways you can promote and advertise your business online.  We’ve outlined six of the best in this post and there’s some fantastic comments and advice from our readers here about how to embark in a Google Adwords campaign.