We’re headed into another new year that promises to be very interesting, at the very least. Below, you will find 16 New Year’s resolutions that are perfect for entrepreneurs, from cleaning out the office, to updating your company website. Start the year off right, and take one of these resolutions, to improve your quality of life and bring your business to the next level.
1. Start setting reasonable deadlines, and meet them consistently.
One of the most common mistakes business owners make is giving customers and colleagues unrealistic completion dates that just don’t allow for enough time to finish the project. Most people will be happy to wait a little longer for something to be finished, if you consistently deliver by the time you promised, rather than giving them an earlier deadline that you end up blowing past.
2. Meet with your accountant.
First of all, if you don’t have one, then hiring a good accountant should be your resolution. If you do already have one, then start the year properly and set a meeting with them. Discussing the previous fiscal year, as well as the one to come, will give you the information you need to formulate a realistic financial plan for the future that will keep your business in the black.
3. Finally open that IRA.
If you’re like most people, you have probably had the intention of pulling together a real savings account, but you just haven’t gotten around to it. There’s no use in kicking yourself for putting it off until now because crying over spilt milk is honestly just not productive. Take action now, and talk to your accountant or a financial planner, who can help you figure out how to start saving today.
4. Revive projects you abandoned.
We all have unfinished outlines, folders with plans for a potential new business, and ideas scribbled on post-it notes stored in a box somewhere. It may be time to take another look at those ideas, if for nothing else but to see if any of them show promise. Chances are, one of them is a viable project that you can execute.
5. Update your company website.
How long has it been since you updated your website? This is one of those things that most businesses tend to “set it, and forget it”. For a number of reasons, it can be problematic if your company website looks exactly the same as it did in 2005. So if this sounds like your site, it’s a good idea to go through your site, get in touch with your designer, if necessary, and update all of your web pages.
6. Stop working yourself to death.
Business owners are typically workaholics who don’t know when to stop working, and understandably so because there is always something that demands their attention. The key to preventing exhaustion and extra stress is to set boundaries for yourself.
Naturally, sometimes there will be fires to put out, but it’s important to set a daily cutoff time, after which you don’t take work calls (unless it’s an emergency) or answer emails, etc.
7. Commit at least one hour per day for family.
This assumes that you are a family man or woman with a spouse and/or kids at home, so it may not apply to you bachelors and bachelorettes. Even if you’re single (which is not a bad lifestyle, I might add) you should still set aside some time in your day for those who are close to you.
8. Start being proactive to increase your proficiency.
This is your year, a brand new year that you can use to identify your weaknesses and to overcome them. Do you feel out of touch with your market? Take a look at what your competitors are doing and see if they are reaching a section of the market that you haven’t considered. Are your advertising campaigns failing? You can always take a class to become a more proficient advertiser.
9. Improve one aspect of your health.
In an article published by U.S. News & World Report, its author explains that 80 percent of the well-intentioned people who make New Year’s resolutions to get healthy, fail. The problem, apparently, is one of self-sabotage, and the reason that most of resolutions fail is because those who make them are setting out to change their actions, without increasing their capacity for self-discipline, which takes a good amount of time to develop.
So making a new resolution to improve your health is a step in the right direction, but you will need to train your brain before you can expect to stick with it.
10. Revisit customer data.
The beginning of the year is a good time to take a look at who your customers are and how they have changed over the previous year. Periodically examining customer data is essential to identifying trends in your market, so that you can adjust your business model accordingly.
Some helpful things to look at things are customer purchasing choices, spending amounts, and website analytics such as click-through rates and conversion rates.
11. Clean out the office.
This is one of the easiest projects that you can take on for the new year, and it’s one that you are more likely to follow through on because it can be done in a relatively short time. You may be surprised how good it is for your mental and emotional state to have a clean space in which to work, not to mention the fact that you can tangibly see an improvement when you’re finished.
12. Touch base with old business contacts.
As we all know, relationships die when not maintained. Your resolution this year might be to restore contact with colleagues, partners, or mentors whom you haven’t heard from in a while. Your network of professional contacts is one of the greatest assets to your business, as you never know when you might need their help.
Here is an extra post about maintaining your contacts:
13. Start taking better care of existing customers.
You may want to take this opportunity to concentrate your efforts on the customers you already have, instead of focusing on reaching new customers. Studies show that CAC is far higher to gain a new customer, than it is to keep an existing one.
Of course you always want to be growing your business and attracting new customers, but it may be a good idea to take some time to make sure your current, loyal customers are happy.
14. Face your fears.
As we already mentioned in the resolution to bring back abandoned projects, there is probably something that you know will be good for your business, but are just afraid to try it.
For example, you may have been aware, for some time, of the need for an additional employee to fill a position that is necessary for your growth, but are afraid to make the investment. Why not take another look at that position, and take the leap?
15. Trim the fat.
Has it been a while since you’ve analyzed the company budget? There’s no time like the present. You could potentially save your business a great deal of money by simply examining all of your expenses, large and small, and cutting costs where you can. Once again, this is the perfect topic of discussion to bring up with your accountant.
16. Start embracing technology.
There is something absolutely necessary for your business to thrive, and that is staying abreast of technology. Even long before the advent of the Digital Age, entrepreneurs have understood that they would be left behind, if they did not implement the use of the latest technology for their business. Make a point of learning to use current technology to your advantage because your competitors will be, too.
Finally, make a New Year’s resolution to subscribe to the free Talkroute blog, and start growing your business today! Twice a week, you will receive helpful articles like these, on a variety of subjects, which are composed with the small to medium-sized business owner in mind. Have a great New Year!
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.