The New Year is right around the corner, and most people are considering their resolutions. With the start of a new year, opportunity seems endless, and having helpful resolutions in place can assist small business owners reach their aspirations. To support with your resolution brainstorming, we’ve rounded up the top six New Year’s resolutions small and micro business owners should contemplate for 2017.
Take time to celebrate every success, big or small
For small business owners, it’s easy to feel like you’re always treading water. Running a business is a full-time job, and honoring a milestone or success of any size can be overlooked. However, it’s important to recognize and celebrate your achievements.
In 2017, make a resolution to stop and smell the roses. What’s the point of working non-stop if you can’t take a moment to pat yourself on the back and give your business the recognition it deserves? Identify goals and milestones for every month or quarter, and monitor your progress toward them. When you’ve reached a goal, revel in your success! Take your employees out for coffee, bring in balloons and cupcakes, whatever feels celebratory, do it. These small acts bolster spirits and make it easier to continue moving toward larger and more challenging goals.
Face the facts: Get real with your finances
There are few people who love getting their hands dirty and dealing with finances. Yet, for small business owners, it’s imperative that you understand the ins and outs of business for long-term success. This year, make a point of meeting more regularly with your accountant, brush up on new tax codes and regulations for small businesses, and truly take accountability and control for your entire financial portfolio.
Map out where you are, what expenses are upcoming in the next six, twelve, eighteen and twenty-four months. Are you looking to expand? Perhaps hire your first employee? Integrate healthcare into your benefits package? Create a comprehensive plan that outlines your business’s financial goals and expenses to prepare for the future.
Prioritize your health
Small business owners put their hearts and souls into their companies, and often put themselves as the last priority. In 2017, it’s time to put yourself at the top of your list, starting with your health. If you’re not well, both mentally and physically, how can you be expected to run a successful business?
Schedule regular time to exercise, relax, eat well, and spend time on other passions instead of working nonstop. Giving yourself a break will benefit your business as time away from work brings clarity and can yield more efficiency and productivity over time.
Plan for the good and the bad
Growth is a natural focus for businesses of any size, but many businesses fail to properly prepare for rapid or slow growth, and even business breakdown. To tackle 2017 with gusto, write or expand on your business plan, and map out different routes for growth in one, five, and ten-year increments.
Conversely, be honest with yourself and write down the business’s greatest obstacles. Once those are identified, create a plan for failure. Failure is part of the path to success, and it needs to be accounted for. Would you try to sell the business? Do you have backup funding to call upon in case of emergency? Delineate how you would pay debts, your employees, communicate a closure, and anything else associated with closing a business. Of course, no business aims to fail, but by planning ahead, you are more in tune with business vulnerabilities and can sidestep any avoidable challenges.
Listening is such an important life skill, and bringing your listening skills to business can be incredibly beneficial. Listen to everyone you interact with: employees, partners, customers, vendors, friends, and colleagues. Process their feedback and integrate it into your business model. Their input is invaluable and every conversation you have can result in some sort of marketing research output. Embrace the free advice that comes from listening to others. Take time to listen more than you speak, and analyze your learnings to benefit your business. It’s a simple task, but takes conscious effort to be an active listener.
Abandon what’s not working
This may be the most challenging resolution to implement. Small business owners are busy, and with a business that is functioning and turning a profit, it can feel difficult to stop and assess what’s working, but also what is not working. Just because certain processes are in place, doesn’t mean they must be there forever.
Do a business audit, from operations to culture, and identify the components that are not serving your business. Trim the fat, as they say. Rid your business of inefficient or useless processes or iterate and improve a system that doesn’t quite fit. This will give you and your business more time to focus on constructive efforts, and reduce stress, conflict, and budget-drain.
2017 promises to be a great year for small business. Get a jumpstart on what you want to achieve, and use these resolutions to help you reach those goals. Write down your resolutions and make sure you review them daily or weekly. Constantly seeing them will keep you track and ensure your business reaches its fullest potential this year.
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