With the New Year upon us, countless resolutions are being made. While most resolutions this time of year revolve around hitting the gym more often and cutting down on the fried foods, they can also be made for improving your business.
Establishing a few New Year’s business resolutions may be just the ticket to jumpstarting your success in 2018. Why not take a few minutes to write down some goals that you want to achieve this coming year? Need some help? Here are some that are definitely worth considering that can help you kick off the year in a positive and productive way.
RESOLUTION #1: I WILL PLAN MY WORK AND WORK MY PLAN.
Business owners often are running on top speed so much of the time, that there is very little focus on developing and implementing an actual plan of action. If this sounds like you, don’t beat yourself up about it. It just means that probably need to carve out a little bit of time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go. Yes, this means a business plan.
If you created one when you started your business but have it tucked away in a drawer, now is a good time to pull it out and review it. Remember: A business plan should be a dynamic document that you continue to update and not a one-time exercise when you launched your business.
If you haven’t taken the time to develop a business plan, it’s ok. Now is as good a time as any! The Small Business Administration has some excellent resources for helping you. And, the non-profit organization SCORE can even provide you with a mentor who can help in the process of writing your plan.
Having an updated business plan in hand and reviewing it on a regular basis is akin to having a roadmap to guide you to where you want to go. Without one, you’re far more likely to be taken down a windy or even dangerous road that may or may not get you to your desired destination.
RESOLUTION #2: I WILL TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.
Have you been accused of burning the candle at both ends? This is certainly not uncommon for entrepreneurs who typically wear many hats when it comes to growing their businesses. Although it’s commendable and necessary to be busy, you also need to balance this with time away from work.
This should include time for meals, exercise, family, friends, community activities and, most importantly, rest. You will be more productive and happier if you have time for yourself. No one can go full throttle for months and years without experiencing negative effects. So, consider your business a marathon in 2018 instead of a sprint, and pace yourself with plenty of time to enjoy time away from work.
RESOLUTION #3: I WILL RID MY BUSINESS OF PSYCHIC VAMPIRES.
If you’ve had your business for a while, you know what a psychic vampire is. These are the customers who suck up time and project negativity. Not surprisingly, they’re often the same individuals who pay late or expect “extras” to keep them happy.
One of the best perks of being a business owner is that you can pick and choose who you work with. If someone is taking up an inordinate amount of your time and it’s not beneficial for you and your business, it might be time to part ways.
RESOLUTION #4 – I WILL NOT BE AFRAID TO OUTSOURCE.
You probably went into business because you have a marketable skill or have the ability to sell products that you have a genuine interest in. You’re an expert in your field. But, you may not be an expert in bookkeeping, taxes, benefits, graphic design, and programming. No one is good at everything, and no one expects you to be!
Your business success is contingent on doing what you do best. This means that the other necessities of your business are better off being outsourced to others. It’s a common misperception of business owners that they can’t afford to hire an accountant or someone to help them build a website. Rather, these individuals can help support your business so that you can stay focused on what brings in money.
Relinquishing some of the required duties of your business is often difficult when you feel you need to be taking care of everything yourself. But, it’s an absolute must if you plan to grow your business. The larger you grow, the more help you’ll need.
Not sure where to find good, quality contractors to help you? Ask fellow business owners who they use. Most often, they’ll gladly give you referrals. Interview a few before you decide upon any one person, and don’t hesitate to negotiate pricing or even ask if they’d be open to a barter relationship. What’s more, there are plenty of free business services that can help you save time and money. So look to maximize the impact of your time by leveraging and outsourcing.
RESOLUTION #5: I WILL TALK TO A NEW PROSPECT EACH DAY.
It’s great to have a handful of wonderful customers who pay on time. But, putting all your eggs in one basket can be risky even under the best of circumstances. Healthy businesses with long-term growth potential continuously add new customers.
The reality is that even good, reliable customers can experience money problems or other challenges that can dramatically impact your business. The best way to minimize this impact is to keep growing your customer base. If one drops off, you still have the others to keep the revenue flowing in.
One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to make a promise to yourself to reach out at least once a day to a potential new customer. This means that over the course of the year, you will have made contact with hundreds of prospects. Some may not become customers. But, others will, and a few may even refer you to others who will want what you’re selling. This means exponential growth over time, and that’s when your growth potential can begin to skyrocket.
What would 50, 100 or 1,000 new customers mean for your business? It’s a definite possibility if you can plan to consistently market your business.
RESOLUTION #6: I WILL GIVE BACK.
Helping others can help you both in your business and in your life. Starting off the year by committing to giving back can be incredibly positive and rewarding. Consider opportunities where you can offer your business’s services or products.
Not only will you feel good about helping out, it may expose your business to new audiences and enable you to meet others, who like you, are dedicated to doing good.
Donating your “time, talent, or treasures” also just feels good. It can lift you up and put a positive spin on your business that will be reflected in everything you do.
Are you ready to make 2018 your best year ever? Great! With a few resolutions in place and excitement for what the year will bring, you’ll be well-positioned to achieve great things this coming year.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.