Improving your small business is an ongoing process. It requires you to allocate your resources to the areas that need the most attention. Even as a smaller company, consistent growth is essential. If you’re not moving forward, it means you’re not moving at all (or worse – you’re moving backwards).

As you look to another year of growth and opportunity, here are a few ways to help your small business reach excellence.

Set Realistic, Reachable Goals

Goals help your small business stay on the right track. However, having too many big goals can be overwhelming and make it difficult to focus on the right things. The best approach is to choose two or three main goals and break them down into smaller goals. This will help you focus your efforts on the right areas and celebrate your successes.

Let’s say that your main goal is to grow your customer base by 10 percent. When do you plan to accomplish this? How many customers do you need to acquire each month to meet this goal? As you reach your smaller goals, be sure to cross them off and enjoy the milestones. They will keep you motivated!

Aim for High-Impact Marketing

Advertising isn’t cheap, so aim for quality over quantity. Effective marketing tactics may reach a smaller audience, but this audience will be engaged. It’s helpful to work with a digital marketing agency that can help you choose the best strategies for your business (SEO, PPC, content, social media). A marketing firm will take into consideration your business objectives, budget, and audience, plus track and measure your campaigns to see what is performing well.

Keep Track of Your Numbers

Many small businesses fail to keep track of their financial numbers, but this information is crucial. In fact, by staying on top of the numbers, you can actually improve your cash flow. It’s amazing how many things can fall through the cracks, so be sure that you are invoicing properly, collecting payments on time, and paying your suppliers’ on time – not early.

Keep an Eye on the Trends

Industries evolve, and you don’t want yours to fall behind. Watch for the trends so that you can keep tabs on your audience while discovering ways to distinguish your brand. In addition to the industry trends, also pay attention to local events going on in your community. These happenings may present you with additional opportunities to grow your business, such as setting up a booth at a festival or running a sidewalk sale.

Motivate Your Staff

Your business will thrive when you have the right people working for you. Take time to find the best candidates for your business and use incentives to keep them motivated. Even small incentives such as a gift card for dinner or a free Friday lunch are effective at showing employees that you value their hard work. This appreciation can also make up for the less competitive benefits you may be able to offer.

There is enough success to go around for everyone. By setting goals, keeping tabs on your industry, and developing strong relationships with your employees, you can align your business for success.