10 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners
The beginning of the new year is widely known as a time to make personal resolutions, but for business owners, personal goals often coincide with professional goals. As you enter 2017, consider these resolutions. They might not all apply to everyone, but hopefully you can use a few to take your business to greater heights!
1. Re-evaluate Your Mission Statement and Goals
Business landscapes change over time, so even if you’ve been successful over the years, it’s important to analyze the marketplace every year to see if your initial mission and goals are still as relevant as they should be. Has customer behavior changed the way people interact with your business and the type of business you conduct? Has the focus of your business shifted to different areas? Has it widened or narrowed?
Pull out the business plan you first put together when you were looking for financing, and see how your long-term goals stack up against your experience. Update your mission statement if necessary and set new short- and long-term goals.
2. Make a Roadmap
Once you’ve set your goals, create a realistic roadmap for how you’ll achieve them. Breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable chunks will help make achieving them seem less overwhelming and, more importantly, will make success more likely.
3. Do More with Social Media
As a small business owner, you probably have social media accounts but lack the time or resources to utilize them effectively. Make it easier on yourself with a social media management dashboard like Hootsuite Pro. Designed specifically for small- and medium-sized businesses, Hootsuite Pro is packed with features that make it simple to manage, engage and measure your social media activity without taking too much time.
4. Ask for (and Listen to) Feedback
Feedback can rub you the wrong way if you receive it at the wrong time, in the wrong manner or from the wrong person. However, if you take the initiative to ask, you can receive quality constructive feedback.
Tailor your questions to each person you ask. Your employees are uniquely qualified to help you forecast client growth, as well as troubleshoot problem areas such as competition or stagnant product offerings. Your board members and advisors (if you have them) can bring an outside perspective that can be invaluable. This outsider view of your business can help you see areas of improvement that you might otherwise overlook.
5. Maintain Your Prices
Sometimes, businesses will lower prices in place of having an actual marketing strategy or campaign. Have enough confidence in what your company sells not to lower your price in an effort to win business. Of course, if the price changes are in response to industry-wide trends or your direct competition, lowering prices can be a necessity. But this year, resolve to focus on prospects that value the way your company solves issues for them and don’t mind paying for it.
6. Learn Something New
Learning new things will help to keep your wits sharp and provide you something to focus on besides work. Additionally, if you can spend time interacting with your peers in a classroom or workshop environment, you will not only make connections with other like-minded individuals, you will expand your mind to take in other viewpoints and perspectives. These aspects can have an indirect benefit on the success of your business.
7. Achieve a Better Balance
While this may seem to work against some of the other resolutions offered on this list, a better work-life balance is possible and can help prevent burnout. You can start by committing to a set of working hours and hold firm to those hours. Make sure that your employees, clients and family members understand when you’re working and when you’re not. You can, of course, make exceptions to be available outside of these hours, but making too many exceptions can create a slippery slope. If you don’t set the boundaries, no one else will.
8. Take Care of Your Mind and Body
I know, I know … we said at the beginning not all of these resolutions would apply for everyone — but this one should! Taking time for yourself and taking care of your mental and physical wellness is important and should not be overlooked. If you believe your business needs you, then you need to be there for your business by ensuring your own health in the years to come. However you choose to do it is irrelevant; it’s just important that you do.
9. Focus on the Follow-up
Don’t let your leads slip through the cracks. Set aside time and work on new initiatives to get back in contact with customers and get them re-engaged with your business. If you can create new and effective ways to follow up with your customers, you’ll discover that you can sell much more to them. In addition, they will act as advocates for your business.
10. Give Back
There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Find a cause that matters to you and give what you can. Is there an organization for which you can serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer or make regular donations? Getting involved in your community can help bring back advocates and goodwill for you and your business.