Goal setting is an important aspect of starting and owning a business—without them you may become lost, and head your business down the wrong direction. Business goals are to help keep you stay focused and get to where you want to go. Whether you have small or big goals; every business owner should set some to improve your overall business success. To help you get started, here are five goals that every small business owner should set this year:

1. Focus on Your Employees

As a business owner, it’s completely necessary to take better care of your employees for the year ahead. Keeping your employees happy not only lowers the rate of turnovers for your company but can help out financially and influences overall office morale. Happy employees mean a positive and productive environment.

Consider taking a survey or poll and ask your employees what you can do to accommodate their desires and goals. Encourage and set up team-building activities so your employees can get to know each other better on a personal better, consider offering more flexible hours or even increase other benefits such as health insurance, 401k plans, etc.

2. Understand Your Customers

Not only should you focus on your employees, but your customers too. It’s important to understand your customer’s needs and wants—as they change consistently overtime. This year, make it a goal to talk to more customers and build one-on-one relationships.

You can do this by interviewing consumers, invite customers to take online surveys or questionnaires, and by doing further research and sharing it on your blog. The more specifics you have, the better you’ll fare in the future.

3. Plan Ahead Financially

You should already be doing this—make sure to take time to sit down and have a plan that includes budget, forecast and goals. Determine where you see your business in three months, six months and one year, and set benchmarks along the way that you need to meet in order to achieve these goals. Once you figure this out, be sure you are tracking your progress actively.

4. Dedicate More Time in Social Media

Social media is a huge part of our everyday lives; and as a business owner it’s absolutely necessary. Social media is a cost-effective way to market your business; whether you like it or not, it’s something all business owners should invest their time in. Here are some helpful steps to take when making sure you reach your goals:

  • Utilize and Select the Right Social Media Platforms. Don’t just sign up for any type of social media platform—you would be just wasting your time. Do your research on what platforms work well with your business and align with your goals. For instance, if you are a jewelry brand, you might want to consider creating an Instagram and Facebook page; Instagram for creating eye-catching content and Facebook for sharing any events or promotions you might be holding at your store.
  • Figure Out Your Niche. Reaching millions of followers on your pages might seem appealing at first, but not when the majority aren’t within your area or demographic. Determine your brand’s niche and who you want to reach—this is important in order to see any actual results.
  • Engage, Engage, Engage. It’s so necessary to have your audience engaged in your content. If you are just posting with no one responding, then you will not see any results on your end. Respond quickly to customer comments, ask open-ended questions, and take time to engage with other like-minded users on other pages.
  • Post Regularly. It’s very important to keep a consistency going on all your social media pages. Set a specific schedule of how many posts, time and days, and stick with it.

5. Always Think Positively

As a business owner being confident in your ability to achieve your goal can play a significant role in your success. You need to believe in yourself and thinking positively is a great way to start. Having a positive attitude and surrounding yourself with encouraging people can help you get through tough challenges and unexpected changes.