2016 Planning? How to Align Your Team Around Next Year's Goals

The new year is upon us. And you’ll want to go into it with a clear plan for how you’re going to move your business forward. Here’s a framework to keep in mind as you solidify your 2016 plan:

Define your top goals.

Every team within the company should come up with three to five top goals or OKRs (objectives and key results). These are high-level milestones they hope to accomplish by the end of the year. Team OKRs then bubble up to inform the company’s top three to five priorities for 2016. Each OKR should be both quantifiable and realistic, so make sure there are numbers to back them up. For example, just saying you hope to increase sales by 50 percent next year with no historical data to benchmark it isn’t helpful. You can find a wealth of information in your Square Dashboard to help inform your 2016 goals — things like sales reports, customer engagement information, and data based off Square’s email marketing services.

Meet with key teams.

As you define your top-level goals, you’ll be able to quickly identify which teams are crucial to getting you there. If growing your e-commerce presence is a focus, for example, meet with your marketing team to make sure you’re all aligned. This is also a good time to solicit ideas from team members that can help you achieve your 2016 goals. They’re the ones on the front lines and oftentimes have day-to-day knowledge that can help focus your strategy. If staffing is thin in an important area of the business, now’s the time to think about a plan (and budget) for hiring.

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Make sure your POS is up to date (and tokenized).

If you’re only accepting magstripe cards, it’s time to update your POS System. For one, the liability shift (which went into effect in October 2015) could make you liable for certain types of credit card fraud if you aren’t set up to accept chip cards. But more importantly, your business should start making moves to accept the latest, most secure forms of payment, which are EMV and NFC (contactless). The Square contactless and chip reader (which is just $49) accepts both EMV and contactless payments like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. It’s secure (the entire transaction is tokenized), fast (contactless payments happen in just seconds), and convenient (you can take it anywhere). To make sure you don’t miss any sales from customers with chip cards or who want to pay with contactless, it’s a good idea to order new readers for 2016.

Centralize your operations.

Employees can work smarter when things are streamlined. So as the new year kicks off, centralize as many operations as you can into one system. This is easy if you take payments with Square. We have all the tools you need to run every aspect of your business — payments, inventory, employee management, payroll, appointments, marketing, accounting, e-commerce, and more. You can also connect the software you’re already using (like QuickBooks, Bigcommerce, and Fresh KDS) to Square so that everything’s in one place. Check out the 21 business apps you can connect to your Square account.

Set your employees up to succeed.

People are your most valuable asset. But to keep your best ones around, you need to set them up to succeed. As the new year kicks off, meet with your key employees to make sure you’re on the same page goals-wise. And if they have any concerns, come up with a plan to address them. Also be sure to set a regular cadence for one-to-one meetings (that you stick to) to make sure you’re checking in regularly on how things are going. Read more on how to keep your employees motivated.

Here’s to your most successful year yet.