The end of the year is just days away, and our belief is that every year should be better than the last. To help you think about what you can focus on improving for your business in 2016, we asked business leaders to share their thoughts on the most important resolutions companies should be making for the coming year.

And remember — in business as in life — every day is a chance to do better. Even if you don't focus on these business resolutions until June, that is still a great time to improve your company.

Now see what these business leaders suggest you focus on in 2016:

Build a road map

“Businesses should identify specific opportunities for growth (rolling out a new product, exploring new markets, or making acquisitions) and build a road map to make it happen.
—Aleks Peterson, Technology Analyst, TechnologyAdvice

Mobile accessibility

“Mobile vs. Desktop disparity and smartphone penetration has deepened in 2015 at a pace that is showing overnight impact in a lot of industries. Companies need to speed up work to accommodate shifting dynamics in consumer trends, and accordingly bring about change in their business processes & people training.”
—Annkur P Agarwal, CEO, Pricebaba

“Make sure mobile is a big focus. We see a large share of our visits coming from mobile devices. On top of that, Google's search ranking algorithm now penalizes sites for not being mobile optimized. For us, this largely means optimizing our website. For others, it may mean the same, or could mean developing an app, advertising on mobile devices, or even offering mobile specific services. It's hard to say exactly how the shift to mobile devices will affect your business, but know that it definitely will. I suggest analyzing how mobile is currently impacting your business, what mobile trends you’re seeing, and developing a strategy to capitalize on it.”
—Will von Bernuth, Co-Founder, Block Island Organics

Know why you do what you do

“Companies need to set clear priorities and make them accessible and understandable, so they can maximize the return on each hour they invest into their business. Focusing on what truly matters to fuel the growth and sustainability of your company is vital for success in 2016.”
—Anthony Pezzotti, Co-Founder, Knowzo.com

“Be strategic and take time to consider why you're doing the things you are and try to make contemplative pause a habit. Making lists and checking off 'to-dos' might make you feel productive, but you should be wary if it starts to feel rote. Deeper and more meaningful course correction might be needed to ensure you're maximizing the return on your invested effort.”
—Chris Ricci, Indigenous Software

Communicate with customers

“Pick a platform and use it to address your consumer's most burning questions. Any platform such as a blog, YouTube channel, advertorials, communities, podcasts, or social media sites will work. If you can educate your customers on your industry, you will earn their trust and their business. This will not only help build brand awareness, but directly impact your bottom line in a positive way."
—Mack Dudayev, CEO, InsureChance, Inc.

“I have found it difficult to stay as close to our end users as I once could. To combat this, I man our customer support chat for 1 hour every day, 7 days a week. This daily first-hand interaction with our users allows me to stay grounded in our customer's logic; it has been instrumental in guiding our product development strategy. I can confidently explain to our engineers why a feature is important, as well as provide data to back it up. I have a mantra: Listen to your customers, or you will have none.
—Bryan Clayton, CEO, Greenpal

Work smarter

“Businesses should focus on improving team collaboration — get everyone plugged into the same assets, working toward a shared set of goals with clear visibility.”
—Aleks Peterson, Technology Analyst, TechnologyAdvice

“80% of your business profits come from a mere 20% of your activity. In other words, most of your regular business activities don’t benefit your bottom line. Here are a few specific tips for working smarter, not harder:
1. Learn to delegate. Focus on the areas of your business you’re the strongest in, and delegate the rest.
2. Remember that time is money. Actually, time is more important than money. You can make more money, but not more time. Stop wasting time on business activities that don’t make you money.
3. Build a tribe. By building a loyal base of customers and raving fans, you can spend less time on shameless self promotion because they’ll do a lot of the work for you.”
—Blair Nastasi, Founder, Media Moguls PR

“Focus on sound growth & autonomy. It's an election year, and the economy and jobs outlook appears solid, and I believe 2016 will be looked back upon as an inflection point. Those that focus on the fundamentals and establishing a strong base to weather future macroeconomic headwinds will be well positioned.”
—Mike Trevino, CEO, Indigenous Software

For customer retention

“Ask the questions around how well your company keeps customers. New sales are great (“Get the check”), but repeat sales (“Keep the check”) are where you make your money. Don’t believe me? Look at your average cost of acquisition and your average profit and see how long it takes to make your money back on a new sale. Profit is not made on the new sale. It happens by keeping customers on the books, paying you. Focus on retention and watch your profits accelerate.”
—Lou Altman, CEO & Lead Trainer, Next Level

“Prioritize how to increase the long-term value of customers. It’s very expensive to acquire a customer, and a lot less expensive to retain them. The success of businesses comes from a combination of great customer service and a focus on how to generate additional revenue from current customers. If companies learn how to do this well, they will create lifetime customers, a good source of referrals, and independent advocates on behalf of the company. If your business is already doing this, focus on ways to improve this process.”
—Deborah Sweeney, CEO, My Corporation

In marketing

“Exercise creativity when it comes to your marketing efforts. As paid search and organic search channels become increasingly competitive and expensive, it’s important that organizations think outside of the box to get in front of quality prospects. Whether it’s understanding how to leverage Reddit to promote content, or understanding how you can use Pinterest to increase lead flow, 2016 is the year companies should focus on taking advantage of the marketing opportunities that their competition haven’t yet quite figured out.”
—Clayton Dean, Co-Founder, Circa Interactive

“In your outreach and marketing for 2016, make a point to connect with your customers and potential customers on a personal level. Look for messaging and share motivations that make your story resonate with fanatics, then turn those fanatics into your own personal sales force.”
—Chris Ricci, Indigenous Software

“Prioritize video content in 2016. It is a great way to give your brand more of a personality. There are also a lot of great ways to promote your content through Google and Facebook that can help bring your business to new heights.”
—Jason Parks, Owner, The Media Captain

In data, tracking and analytics

“Whether it's tracking customer behavior in a store or implementing goal funnels in Google analytics, obtaining and making decisions on clean data has never been more important. Many businesses believe their dataset is clean, but in reality the data needs to be filtered and organized to be a true vehicle for decision making.”
—Orun Bhuiyan, Marketing Technologist, SEOcial

“1. Evaluate how data is used to improve decision making and processes.
2. If data collection is a problem, resolution to put good collection and outreach mechanisms into place.
3. If data processing is a problem, resolution to get the right minds and systems into place.
There is no organization on the face of the planet that could not better harness past experience to produce better future outcomes. Let's make that the goal for 2016.”
—Trevor Ewen, Pear of the Week

In talent acquisition

“Improve your ability to identify and develop highly talented leaders for the future.”
—Larry Sternberg, President, Talent Plus, Inc.

In information security

“In an age when hacking is becoming too commonplace, businesses should invest resources into safeguarding themselves and mitigating the risk of a future disaster. This may range from teaching staff about basic security practices to ensuring a website isn't vulnerable to conventional attacks.”
—Orun Bhuiyan, Marketing Technologist, SEOcial

What will you be focusing on in 2016?

Are you taking up any of these suggested business resolutions for 2016, or has your company already set different priorities for the new year? Share your thoughts on 2016 business resolutions in the comments below!

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