10 New Year's Resolutions for Small Business Owners

New Year’s Resolutions to Make This the Best Year Yet!

It’s a new year… YEAH! So what are you going to do different this year to get you closer to your goals? Making some new year’s resolutions will get you on the right track.  Commitment to a well thought out plan, and the flexibility to make changes and corrections when needed will greatly contribute to your personal and business success.

2018 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Businesses

Make 2018 the best year yet by committing to these Small Business Owner New Year’s Resolutions. Grow your business and find your zen with these 2018 resolutions, quotes, and recommendations for great resources and low-cost deals for your Small Business or home office.

1. Analyze the last year. 

Find what is broken – and fix it or get rid of it. Find out what worked great – and duplicate it or multiply it. Through success and failure, we find out what works. This is true in business and in life and applies to the physical and mental aspects of both.

Did your lax policy of employee cell phone use increase customer satisfaction and profit? No? Then fix it. Does that clearance rack desk printer that keeps breaking save you money or time? No? Then don’t buy cheap equipment that cost you in the long run. Does getting up an hour earlier on Mondays get twice as much work done? Yes? Then do it Monday through Friday. Did the bowling alley next door close and a big box gym move in? Yes? Figure out what you can sell to the new demographic of foot traffic.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw

2. Let go.

There are more things to do than hours in the day for the small business owner. And guess what? You are not superhuman. So your resolution this year is to do all that is humanly possible and then find a way to get the rest done. That means delegating and putting some trust in other people to do what they know how to do (at home and at work).

You can also outsource the things you don’t have time for or just aren’t good at. If an hour of your time as a business owner is worth say $60, and you spend 8 hours a month doing the payroll that’s $480.  If you suck at it, why not pay a payroll service who can do it in twenty minutes for $50 a month.  You will save time and money.

 You can do ANYTHING.  But not EVERYTHING.  – David Allen

3. Replace the word “perfect” in your vocabulary with the word “spectacular”. 

Chasing perfection is eating up time you just don’t have to spare. Don’t spend four hours on the PERFECT flyer or proposal. Instead, spend 30 minutes on a SPECTACULAR flyer or proposal that is pretty darn close to the perfect one you spent half the day on. This year, a new resolution is to realize that perfection is a myth and pledge to do your amazing best. Customers and clients want your spectacular products and services! And your best is spectacular, or you are in the wrong business.

 If PLAN A didn’t work.  DON’T STRESS OUT.  The alphabet has 25 more letters.

4. Calendar Everything.

You know you need to do it, so why are you putting it off? No more! Pull out that unopened 2015 planner, look at the entire month January. There are 31 days. Pick one day and block two hours for “Marketing Plan”. Pick another day and block two hours for “Organizing Computer Files”. Pick another day and block two hours for “Business Plan”. Pick two days a month to schedule two hours for “Accounting/Payroll”. Take your Must Do list and make them appointments on your calendar. Mid-January, schedule time to do February’s calendaring.

You know what you NEED to get done.  These business requirements should not be handled in a “fly by the seat of your pants” manner. Lock yourself away.  Keep these appointments like you would an appointment with a doctor or a lawyer. You wouldn’t just not show up, it would be rude! And the funny thing is you pay THEM when you show up. But missing these appointments to handle your own business will end up costing you much more.

  Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

5. Market your business every day. 

There are hundreds of ways to market and promote your business, so there isn’t a day that goes by that you should not be doing something. You have (or better be working on right now) your marketing plan.  A resolution you can stick to is to make one section of that plan a list of twenty or so impactful marketing activities (less than 10 minutes each) that you can execute every day.

Understand that this is on top of your large scale advertising activities and promotions. Post a tweet, write a thank you letter, or call an old client.  Send coupons to your best customers or respond with appreciation to glowing online reviews.  Maybe even go to a Q&A forum in your industry to use your expertise to answer someone’s question. Just make sure you are doing something each day. Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget.

The grass is greener where you water it. -Neil Barringham

6. Mean what you say and say what you mean. 

Are you reliable? Consistent? Honest? Be realistic about what you can do. Keep your promises to your customers, your staff, and most importantly to yourself. To provide transparency and build trust, make sure that your communications are clear and honest.

Forget “under promise and over deliver.” Keep it simple and authentic. Remember why you are doing what you do, and make surround yourself with people who understand your purpose.

 A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. –Nelson Mandela

7. Continue your education.

I know, I know. You don’t have time to go back to school. I’m not suggesting you get another degree. Take a look at your business skill set to see what is lacking.  Find free or low-cost courses, workshops or books that help you develop important skills.  Be a better business owner, a better manager, a better marketer, a better salesman. Either online or in person, promise yourself two or three hours a week spent on making you the best you that you can be.

Don’t know where to look? Go old school.  Ask at your local library, community centers, and adult learning centers. Also try Open CultureUdemySmall Business Administration,  and Alison for FREE online learning.

To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.  – J. Paul Getty

8. Get out more.

Meet your business neighbors and make them your business partners. Join industry groups and go to meetings, and sign up with your local chamber of commerce. Even if you work from home. Networking and making connections with like-minded people provides a resource that supports your success on many different levels. Discuss best practices, learn from others’ horror stories. Or maybe mentor a new business owner who is where you were five years ago. These relationships enrich your life, build your reputation and can lead to referrals.

 If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go with others.  – African Proverb

9. Schedule ME time.

Where are you going to find ME time? I don’t know, but it is there. Maybe it’s behind that wall of unfiled expense receipts. Or it’s that 8 hours you freed up by outsourcing your payroll. Where ever it is, pick it up and put it down on your calendar. My one-page weekly planner has a small (very small) “What About Me?” box that I made to write something in each week.  Otherwise, it’s not even a thought in my business or home planning. Whether your ME time is two hours at a matinee by yourself, the batting cage, a pedicure, or spin class – make it one of your 10 priorities each week. You can’t enjoy the success of your business from an insane asylum (or jail). So remember to take time out for you before you are forced to take a timeout.

Sometimes you need to take a break from everyone and spend time alone, to experience, appreciate, and love yourself.  – Robert Tew

10. Be gracious.

In short show kindness and be generous.  Show gratitude, share joy, say please and thank you, and treat people how you would like to be treated. You could skip this one but I have it on good authority that there is some truth to this karma thing.

No act of kindness is ever wasted.  – Aesop

It’s out with the old, and in with the new! If 2015 was great, make sure that 2016 is amazing. Make a commitment to yourself by sticking to your Small Business New Year’s Resolutions. 

This post originally appeared on the SAY MORE! Services Blog.

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