This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Don’t wait until January to get the new year’s wheels in motion. Instead, give yourself a couple months runway to get up to speed for a powerful takeoff. If you haven’t started prepping for 2020 yet, don’t fret — it’s not too late to begin today. Here are three ways you can start next year strong.
To see business growth, you need to invest in the professional growth of your team. High-quality training will help accomplish this. It allows your team to keep up with technology, regulatory requirements, changes in products or services and branding. In order to reap those rewards, you have to allot the right budget.
Every business’s situation is different, so it’s important to assess your needs accurately. Medium-to-large organizations often allot 2 percent to 5 percent of salary budgets, according to eFront. If you’re a cash-strapped startup, that figure may be out of reach, but you should still calculate what training budget you can afford. Consider group-training options, which can be cheaper due to volume discounts.
Don’t be like the New Year’s Eve resolution maker who pledges a vague promise to “get in shape this year.” To drive revenue and growth, you need to establish concrete goals, ones to which you and your team can be held accountable. The best way to do that is to make your goals “SMART.” This popular acronym, borrowed from the self-improvement world, stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. This means each of your realistic goals needs to state in detailed language exactly what’s to be achieved, by what time point, using which methods — and how you can prove you’ve achieved it.
Say you’re in a niche pet-foods market. You might set a SMART goal to increase sales of your high-protein dog brownies by 2 percent by the end of the first quarter. You would also plan to achieve that through a 12-week online advertising blitz. “Once you are all set with your goal, split it into smaller milestones with their own deadlines,” advises Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and founder of Flock, a collaboration platform vendor.
Today’s business world runs on data, so it’s critical to make sure yours is correct and well-managed. “Data must be accurate and clearly structured before you can analyze it effectively. Bad data renders your machine-learning tools and personnel investments useless, and it can ultimately lead to errors that harm your business,” explains Vince Dawkins, president and CEO of Enertia Software, to Innovation Enterprise.
Start off 2020 with an eye toward data quality — you’ll thank yourself later. Insist your team follow best practices for data management. This includes measuring your data quality regularly, cleaning databases and taking a hard look at the flow of data through your operations.
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