Now that we’ve wrapped up 2015, we’re excited about the new chapter 2016 will bring. We think most resolutions have the best of intentions, but tend to go too far. Instead of wild, shoot-for-the-moon goals, we think it’s far more practical to start with little evolutionary changes in 2016. Don’t have time to craft your own resolutions? We’ve got you covered.

Many major shifts in consumer behavior have reached a fever pitch and can’t be avoided. That’s why It’s time to take action. After speaking with hundreds of small business owners, we know there are a few key resolutions that can make all the difference in 2016.

Don’t do what you’ve always done. Commit to (at least) these four resolutions for your business in 2016!

Resolution 1: I will make more customer relationships personal.

Sujan Patel believes that the number one thing small businesses should do in 2016 is focus on relationship marketing. Relationship marketing is all about long-term customer relationships and loyalty. Don’t just focus on the sale, but the entire experience with a customer. Simply using a first name in email auto-responders isn’t fooling anyone, either. You need to actually tailor your marketing to their needs and interests.

There are so many great tools for small business owners that help you create personal experiences at scale. Marketing automation is one way to create personal relationships with leads and customers based on their specific interests and actions. Live chat software is another way to manage individual conversations with customers. As the line between marketing and customer service continues to blend, remember that at the end of the day, relationships with your customers are what matter most.

Resolution 2: I will optimize my business for mobile buyers.

We’ve been talking about mobile for a long time. We’ve all seen it coming and now it’s officially here. As a small business owner you need to optimize for mobile. In fact, Google announced that mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in ten countries in 2015. In addition, Gene Marks recently shared that Google is accelerating their plans for mobile web.

What does it mean to optimize for mobile? Start with your website. When was the last time you checked your own website on your mobile phone? Does it look professional and polished? If not, it may be time to invest in a new website or move to a website platform like Space Craft or Weebly that make mobile-optimized websites easy.  Are your emails and newsletters optimized for mobile? There are many email providers in the market today (like our partner Emma) that can make you email presence beautiful and easy to consume on mobile.

Resolution 3: I will improve my local brand with geo-specific marketing.

We covered this topic several times in 2015 and the need for geo-specific marketing will be even more important in 2016. Instead of implementing a buckshot approach with social media or Twitter ads to a wide audience, try getting hyper-focused. Build a base of loyal, vocal fans locally.

We’ve made it easy to improve your local brand with the Definitive Guide to Online Optimization for Local Business. Some of the easiest ways to implement geo-specific marketing is with Google My Business. Are there Linkedin Groups or hashtags dedicated to your local community? Consider contributing your expertise to gain wider exposure for your brand. Are you running the same marketing message across different cities, states or countries? Change it up! Tailor your message to specific regions and test it.

Resolution 4: I will test more ideas.

Too often our efforts fall into extreme categories. We expect immediate results and we don’t see them we abandon the initiative. Or, we follow a one-and-done approach. We launch a product or marketing strategy and never go back and change it. Instead of throwing spaghetti on the wall, start testing. Entrepreneurs and small business owners inherently like to try new things, but not in a structured and data-driven way. Consider setting up more parameters for your ideas. Take a few extra minutes to document your hypotheses, variables and timeframe. Great tools like Optimizely or UsabilityHub exist to help you quickly and inexpensively test ideas. If you catalog your experiments you’ll learn faster and hopefully not make the same mistakes down the road.

What are your small business new year’s resolutions for 2016? What are your big goals for 2016? We want to hear from you in the comments below.

small business resolutions 2016

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