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Laying out your goals for the year ahead and how you’ll achieve them is essential to take your business to new heights. You can simplify the process by honing in on the following strategic areas:

1. Recruiting employees

A small business needs a solid team to support its continued growth. As a first step, look at which roles need to be filled in the short and long term. Then take action to recruit top talent:

  • Consider whether it makes more sense to hire freelancers or bring on salaried employees. There are pros and cons to both. It all comes down to the right fit for your business.
  • Work with a HR consultant to develop a job description that meets your current needs but also can support future business development.
  • Know your budget but stay competitive with your salary package.
  • Advertise job opportunities on your website and social media channels, including LinkedIn. Ask industry colleagues for referrals.

2. Financing growth

You may dream of opening a second location, investing in new technology, or expanding to new markets. You’ll likely need funding to scale your business – and a current business plan to convince a lender to lend you money.

Start by talking with your financial institution about your plans. Have a conversation with your banker about your intentions and how best to support your business with available financial resources.

Taking on an investor is another option for small businesses with plans for rapid expansion. In 2014, Canadian angels invested on average $1.2 million per deal. Visit the National Angel Capital Organization website and check out their entrepreneur resources, including an angel member directory and funding portal.

3. Staying competitive

As you review your business plan, take a look at how you can fine tune your strategies for long-term profitability:

  • How does your pricing compare with your competitors? Often that one distinguishing feature, whether it’s better customer service or a unique loyalty reward, will attract and retain buyers even if they have to pay a little more.
  • Consider your ideal customer. Is your business gravitating toward a new niche or a different market? A business plan review is the perfect time to look at how well your branding is working and whether a re-brand, or a new business entity, is warranted.
  • What are your strengths? Ask your customers why they buy from you. Tune in to what people are saying about your business online. Customer feedback will guide you toward positive changes that can increase customer satisfaction and help grow your business.

Follow these tips to keep your business plan up to date and enjoy a successful year of growth. Refer to it often so you stay on track with your plans. It’s the best approach to take your business exactly where you want to go.