New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners
As we change the calendar and welcome 2018, it’s the perfect time for self-reflection and goal-setting. And it doesn’t have to be all about exercising more often or giving up that bad habit. Beyond personal changes, the start of another new year is an excellent opportunity for professional growth, too. Eager to boost your business with some New Year’s resolutions but don’t know where to begin? Here are some suggestions to put you on the path to a more successful year.
Make Time for Face Time
Phone calls and emails can keep help you connected with clients and customers, but they’re still no substitute for sitting down for a face-to-face chat. The enduring relationships that will maintain and build your business in the years ahead deserve better than solely telephone chats, direct mail and electronic messages. While technology has broadened the ways we can interact, personal attention remains a high compliment. Try to find the time for more face-to-face meetings this year. When you aren’t meeting in person, add a personal touch to your communication by sending more hand-written notes.
Engage Your Employees
Just as your customers deserve to see you in person more often, so do your employees. Resolve not to insulate yourself inside your office and communicate with them only through email. Spend time walking around the office, and they’ll be more likely to open up to you about their ideas and aggravations, each of which could help improve the overall attitude of your team. Solicit your staff for their own office-related resolutions, and then share them with one another. It’s a great team-building exercise, and fosters an environment where people push one other to achieve professional goals.
Clear the Cobwebs from Your Website
Potential customers increasingly evaluate any business, large or small, on the strength of its online appearance, so make sure your website and social media profiles are up to date and error-free. Try to examine your online offerings with a fresh set of eyes by imagining yourself as a potential client checking out the site for the first time. Is it engaging, dynamic and accurate? Are you making use of appropriate search terms so people can find you? When was the last time new content was added? Is there a popular new social media tool you aren’t using yet? Time spent keeping your website and social media profiles in order will pay dividends down the road.
Trim the Fat
This one isn’t about hitting the gym to work off those extra helpings of holiday sweets. Rather, it’s a resolution to examine areas of your business, be it staffing or spending, where you can afford to make cuts. Are you paying too much for insurance or utilities? Could you save cash by switching suppliers on certain items? Is there a problem employee who deserves to be shown the door? Take a close look at your budget, from top to bottom, and see if there’s anything that needs attention.
Take Time to Unwind
If you haven’t taken a holiday in a while, or are starting to suffer a serious case of the winter blues, maybe you’d benefit from a bit of a break. Taking vacation time isn’t always easy for small business owners, but in an earlier blog we talked about different ways to make it work. And, as we explained before, the opportunity to recharge your batteries can deliver positive results at the office, giving you a renewed sense of energy and desire when it comes to getting after your goals.
Even if you’re not a huge corporation like Sony, you could still be targeted by hackers and criminals. Examine your business for threats, risks and vulnerabilities, and come up with solutions on how to stay safe. If you’re not familiar with cyber security or don’t have the staff to handle the job, it might be worth bringing in an outside expert to carry out an audit and fix any flaws before they become fatal. Remember that security threats are always evolving as technology advances, meaning this is a resolution you’ll want to visit annually, if not more often.
Don’t Set Yourself Up to Fail
When making business-related resolutions, it can be tempting to set targets. For example you might resolve to add five new clients each month or boost overall revenue by a set dollar figure. Unfortunately, it can quickly become demoralizing if you don’t reach those goals, dimming your enthusiasm for other worthy resolutions. Try to focus on reasonable, achievable changes that bring positivity to your professional life. You might just find your business fortunes improving more than expected.