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Enrol in coding classes, kick your latte habit and learn to paraglide: With January comes an inevitable slew of New Year’s Resolutions. We all know they can be hard to keep and that they occasionally focus on areas of our lives that should have been addressed many moons ago (or is that just us?), but we’re all for setting a personal goal and trying something new as another year rolls around. There’s a business-savvy side to the age-old method of defining aims and working towards them in a set timeframe, too. 

Goal-setting is a tried-and-tested way to deliver results and research shows that laying out aims in a business sense can be wise. It’s linked to higher achievement, self-confidence, motivation and autonomy and is partly down to the concept of ownership, also known as the endowment effect. In a nutshell, if we own something, even an aim or an idea, we’re more committed to it. 

What’s more, set a goal and write it down and you’re in an even better position to stick to your guns: a 2015 study found that those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write them down.

With that in mind, a start to a fresh year strikes us as a good time to lay down some of your business goals. We asked a handful of small businesses what they have in store for the year ahead...

Katie Smee, co-director of George & Smee creative events company in Sydney, NSW, says 2020 is about pushing her creative boundaries:

The goal is always to work on lots of bigger scale events and to be more creative. The thing we love the most is being creative and imaginative and doing something different for all of them. I get genuinely really excited when we get a brief from a client where we can do something really different and fun.”

For Mark Newman, director of Newmark Constructions in Sydney, NSW, the year ahead might hold a jump to a league above.

“We’re looking to increase our average project size, keep pushing it up and work towards taking on more of the bigger projects,” says Mark. “Next year, we’d like to get a single bigger project where we can take it another step up and into the next league.”

At the home of beehive invention, Flow Hive, in Byron Bay, NSW, aims are global in scope. 

“The goals are twofold. One is to keep on developing positive impact through education and through inspiring more people to look after our bees. In order to do that we need to make sure we’re continuing to reach our market and grow our company,” co-inventor and CEO Cedar Anderson says. “We now like to do projects where we raise funds for habitat protection for bees, we like to have our business working for positive impact and that’s what keeps us going.”

Tanya Evans of Nirvana Hair Studio in Springwood, NSW, has new digs in her sights - plus a bagful of ideas, she tells us.

“Over the next 12 months, I want to come up with a way to get more space for the salon. I’ve got a beautiful team, I have got two new juniors and I want to boost them. I have 10 employees, I could do with another four but I don’t have the room! I’m always putting seeds out there, I can never rest. I’ll come up with 20 new business ideas, maybe nine-and-a-half will fail, but I might get half a good one!”

Annie Mollison of Sew this Pattern in Melbourne, VIC, has a new retail line and careful, sustainable growth in mind. 

“Next year I’d like to work on the business more and to grow it but just gradually, I don’t want the business to get too big, I already feel a bit overwhelmed! I’m thinking of bringing in my own fabrics and supplies so I can sell them directly to customers. And I’d like to look at another space to possibly expand.”

The owners of Geelong, VIC, favourite, Cafe Go, focus on expanding their catering offerings and possibly even a Cafe Go mark 2.

“We’ve just launched a new online catering service so my ambition is to increase our catering sales and that’s driven by good quality staff and produce,” Felicia Bell, co-owner and manager of the perennially busy cafe, tells us. “Other ambitions are to retain and grow the current customer numbers we have and to launch into more functions - we’re nearly at capacity for daytime trade but can always be busier. We want to just keep it fresh. There’s always something to do, whether it’s getting new furniture, or changing the art over. Maybe in the year ahead, we’ll open Cafe Go number two, but we’re just very conscious of where it will be.”

And, finally, Yoko Nakazawa, owner of Cooking with Koji in Melbourne, VIC, says she is planning to get writing. “I keep saying that I want to write a book but running a business by myself means so much to do,” she tells us. “I couldn't allocate time to focus on writing for the last two years, so my aim in 2020 is to change my production and business structure so that I can make time to write my book!”