1 Year Goal Checklist For Small Businesses

Rebecca Spaulding
July 14, 2021
1 Year Goal Checklist For Small Businesses

Getting your Startup off the ground and running is hard work and it keeps you occupied looking after each aspect of your business. One of the more essential points that should not be overlooked in all the hassle is- your progress check. What did you set out to accomplish? Are you making progress? What would you define ‘progress’ in the first year of your business?

We often assume once we make our initial business plan, we are done and we can now barrel ahead. That isn’t true; however, we need to keep revisiting our plan, see where do we stand now and perhaps even make some adjustments.  If the past year has taught us anything, it is that flexibility is vital to any business.

The best way to ensure you’re making progress is by creating a one-year goal checklist for your business. We have consulted professionals from the business world to help us with that. Their ideas on what to put on your checklist can definitely get you on track to progress.

Identifying Your Ideal Niche

“By the end of your first business year, you'll need to be able to identify your ideal customer profile so that your business's resources can be used to convert those prospects into loyal customers. You'll also need to decide whether you're a B2B (Business to Business) or a B2C (Business To Consumer) organization so that you're better able to optimally market your products. Create a realistic budget: You should be able to create a sustainable financial budget by using various costing accounting methods. 

“The first year in business is often expensive so entrepreneurs will need to conduct frequent financial analyses to better be prepared for the coming years. They can do so by analyzing their cashflow forecasts, calculating gearing ratios, interest coverage ratios, and debt to asset ratios to assess whether they're holding too much or too little debt.”

Kevin Mercier, Founder - Travel Blog Kevmrc.com

Ensure You Have Progressed Since a Year Ago, Made Some Sales

“One of the things that should be in a startup's checklist is to ensure that they are not in the same place as they were a year ago. They should've already made sales, even though they haven't had an ROI yet. Starting out a business is not as easy as you might think and that is okay. But at least set goals and formulate strategies that won't make you be in the same place as you were. Because if you still are, then there's something wrong with what you're doing.”

Sherry Morgan, the Founder of Petsolino

Develop Your Professional Network, Find a Mentor

“Your first year in business is when you start to establish yourself as a fixture in your industry and in your community. It's also a good time to focus on your current customers and listen to what they have to say. Develop your professional network to create opportunities for collaboration and co-branding. Look for a mentor, advisor, or consultant. Finally, communicate with your customers and incorporate their suggestions into your plans and strategy.”

Martin Boonzaayer, CEO of The Trusted Home Buyer

Improved Marketing Strategies

“Every startup's one-year goal should include improving marketing strategies. By the end of the year, they need to have established a name and be visible in the market they aim to penetrate. There are continuous marketing-related advancements; therefore, startups must be aware of them to be competent and trusted.”

Jaya Aiyar, Founder & CEO at Créatif and Créatif Franchise

 New Customer Service Process

“A one year goal of small businesses should be to create a new customer service process. You have grown your business for a whole year, so check in on how you communicate with your customers. How does your business handle complaints and what can you do to to make it an even better experience. Figuring this out will help your business to continue flourishing.”

David DiLorenzo, the President of Valentino Beauty Pure

Revenue Goals, Employee Goals, Customer Reviews

“Some things that should be on your 1 year goal checklist are revenue goal, employee turnover goal, employee count goal, employee satisfaction goal, customer NPS high, and positive customer reviews. All of these things are important to measuring the success of the business. If you are falling short on any of these benchmarks it is time to evaluate how you are running your business and pivot in a different direction.”

Lauren Picasso, the CEO of Cure Hydration

“Starting a business can be very rewarding, but it’s a lot of hard work. The goals you set in your first year are critical to your long-term success. Here are some goals to set for your first year in business:

  • Research your ideal client and what they need
  • Increase your productivity
  • Keep your business expenses low
  • Create your first product that solves your client or customer's problems
  • Create systems, templates, and workflows (this makes hiring your first employee easier)
  • Hire your first employee or contractor
  • Master SEO or hire someone to help you with it to increase traffic to your website
  • Create a social media strategy (organic and paid)

 Amira Irfan, Business Lawyer, seven-figure Blogger, and Coach at aselfguru.com, an online company that helps entrepreneurs make money online and legally protect their Businesses

Finance Goals

“Small businesses need to stretch their budget as much as possible and should always look for ways to reduce or restructure their budgets. Decide what expenses are necessary for running your business and eliminate all  other spending. Consider insurance protection in case of unfortunate circumstances and have enough savings to keep your business afloat for several months.”

Chris Vaughn, CEO of Pacific Consolidated Holdings (PCH). PCH’s signature platforms include Emjay

Improve Your Product and Service Offerings

“As a founder, for a 1-year goal checklist for a start-up, it will be great to have a better understanding of the market. Set a goal to improve your product and service offerings, as well as your marketing plan, by incorporating client feedback. Refine your product, as well as your marketing and sales strategies. Setting a goal to improve your own and your team's productivity is also a good idea.”

Jonathan Saeidian, Founder/CEO of 3 startups: Brenton Way, INITIATE.AI, and Take Sessions.

Close to Breaking Even

“The first-year checklist should always include how close you are to breaking even. It's completely normal to be unprofitable on the first year the company is founded. Therefore, it's important to keep a checklist of quarterly financial targets and objectives on the path to breaking even. If you get lucky, you can already turn a profit within a few months, but in most cases, you need to work your way towards first breaking even. So it's helpful to strategize  and set tangible goals that you can work towards in the first year of business.”

Tom Winter, CRO & Co-Founder of DevSkiller

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