It’s that time of year again; a time to look forward to the new year and reflect on the changes we want or need to make in order to grow, be happier, and enjoy greater success, both as individuals and as a business. There are no steadfast rules for resolving well, but much like with personal resolutions, the general idea is to strive for betterment. Just about everyone has some advice on what your business resolutions for the new year should be, so here are a few of our faves.
Pick a few and make up your own. Just remember not to get discouraged. The new year is a new chapter, a blank slate and a chance to start anew. If you don’t meet all of your resolutions, it’s not the end of the world.
Start by just making, and keeping one simple resolution before moving on to the next. It will make you feel better to have achieved the first goal. Baby steps are always good.
Make Business Planning a Weekly Event
The thoughtful self-evaluation that you go through when you make new year’s resolutions should actually happen on a lesser level each week. Think about the things that are working, and expound upon them. Think about the things that aren’t working, and stem that before problems arise. This will help you stay more focused and at the same time, relaxed.
Devote Time to Marketing
You might be lucky enough to maintain your business on word-of-mouth referrals, but business won’t always come to you. In this volatile economy, it’s more important than ever to be out there marketing your company. Who else will do it for you? If cost was always the issue, remember that there are low cost ways of marketing your business so it doesn’t always mean going out and spending a fortune. Allocate the resources to it, educate yourself about the marketplace, be creative and have fun with it.
For some people, this may come a bit less naturally than for others, but the reality is that if you’re running a business, you’d better be out there socializing, meeting people, and being as visible as you can be. In this day and age of social media, the good news is that you can be super social without ever leaving the confines of your home office. For example, a very introverted friend told me that while he used to hate going to events and meeting with people in person, Twitter has opened up a whole new world of virtual networking for him. Whether it’s events, professional groups, or the twitterverse, the point is that you’d better get out there in 2010.
There is indeed such a thing as karma. Last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, three-quarters of small business owners said they donated a percentage of their profits to charity, with 5% of small firms donating more than 10%. If business is slower and profits lower, donate time instead. Not only does it feel good on a personal level, but doing good is just smart business practice.
Strike a Balance
More easily said than done, try to strike that delicate balance this year of between work obligations and healthy home life. For many small businesses, the two are so deeply intertwined that it’s hard to separate them. Just remember to make time for yourself and your family. This might mean delegating more to your employees. It might mean making the decision to take on fewer clients in order to better service the ones you have. It could mean purchasing software and equipment to make your life easier. The point is, just don’t forget that you work to live and not the other way around. So don’t forget to live!