New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners

It’s a new year! A perfect time for small business owners to take advantage of the time-honored tradition long-practiced by individuals far and wide—the new making (and hopefully, keeping) of new year’s resolutions.

Of course, a major part of the new year’s resolution process is not only forward-thinking, but evaluative as well.

Key to creating new year’s resolutions that are not only “feel-good” but that also have a fair chance of being transformative to your business, is understanding what created or led your business to your current state.

Recently, there was an article published in Entrepreneur.com covering nine new year’s resolutions for small businesses. Below, I’m going to cover these concepts but personalize them with my own advice in each area. Hopefully, these tips can help you have a productive and successful 2018 in your small business.

Let’s get started…

  1. I will begin to delegate some of my duties to others so that I have more balance in my life.

Small business owners have a very full plate. There are so many things to be done, but one person can only do so much. And especially, do so while having a life – filled with family, friends, and fun – of your own. In looking back on the previous year, you may realize that trying to check off everything on your to-do list can leave you exhausted, stressed, and with no free time.

This is exactly why it is important to learn to delegate some of your tasks to others. However, delegation only works correctly if the candidate is properly trained and there is communication between you and those to whom you delegate. Once they have been trained, they can take over some of your tasks and you can be assured they are performing their role correctly and effectively.

  1. Effective Cash-flow management will become a major priority.

 It’s no secret that managing cash flow properly is critical to the success of a small business. You’ve likely learned this lesson the hard way at times. Unfortunately, many small business failures are most often due to the lack of proper cash flow management. According to The Balance, “This is a great resolution for small business owners who have drastic ebbs and flows in their cash flow, have been unable to create enough capital to invest back into the business, or those who don’t really understand the day-to-day finances of the business.”

  1. This will be the year I maximize my digital presence.

 You undoubtedly realize that your digital presence is important to marketing. Did your digital presence help you strengthen your business in the past year or did it do little to drive business and consequently, revenue?

In 2018, make a commitment to your business to make your online presence more effective. Examples include ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, that your social presence is visible and growing, and that you build or strengthen your online reputation and authority.

Furthermore, make it a point to update your website more frequently, create and utilize an email marketing list, and generally, look for ways to increase your digital footprint. If you wanted to take it to the next level, you could consider using a mobile-first approach to your digital presence. The mobile-first approach consists of forming your site to fit smaller screens then adding other material to fit larger screens later. It is also known as “progressive enhancement”.

  1. I will make sure I charge what I am worth.

 Have you ever had times where you have thought or think, “This [whatever] is not worth what I’m making?” If so, it’s time to make sure that stops happening. If your service/product is undervalued, consider raising your prices to correspond with the value you bring to the table. The risk of this is losing customers, but as Entrepreneur.com says that “Your target market will pay what the marketplace has proved it will pay.” You can start by moving to a “packaged value” approach, where you provide tiered packages so potential customers can have options. Then, they can focus on the value of the offer.

  1. Commit to learning something new.

 One key to the growth of your business, is your growth. Only by expanding your own skillset, can you bring new value – value that is beneficial – to your business.

Make a promise to yourself – and your business – that you will expand your skillset by learning something new this year. It can be directly related to your business or unrelated. Even non-business growth can have positive impacts on your business as well. An unrelated skill can add dimension to your life and provide the work-life balance all people need and crave. On the other hand, adding to your business-related skills can certainly impact and improve your business directly.

  1. I will make business strategy a weekly priority.

 Undoubtedly, running a small business can be chaotic, leading you to worry about day-to-day events. You may have heard that the secret to proper execution is proper planning. Well, there is much truth to that statement.

Business strategizing creates a space for you to analyze and evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the past. This paves the way for identifying what needs to be done differently in the present and future. Once these decisions have been considered and/or made, then you can set new goals and leave the old goals behind. Set aside a time once a week to have a secure grip on your business.

  1. Promoting my business regularly and consistently will be a chief focus of 2018.

 Sometimes we get so busy “running” or working “in” our business, we forget to work “on” our business. A big part of working on our business is promoting it –either to get new business or to get additional sales from existing customers.

Remind your current customers why they like doing – or want to do – business with you. Show them what additional value you can provide. For potential customers, remind them of that small business experience. You want to deliver this experience to as much of the outside world as possible.

To draw in new customers, you have to promote your business. Create a marketing plan or hire a marketing expert to guide you.

  1. My technology footprint will be increased and enhanced.

 Outdated and slow technology is not only a hassle for employees, but also for customers. Lag time takes away from valuable time in which you can make your business extraordinary and be sure this message gets out to the world—or at least to potential customers.

Start by taking inventory on all your business’ devices to decipher what needs to be updated and what must be replaced. Also consider how you could possibly use technology more effectively or efficiently to enhance your business. Such as, possibly taking orders online? Or, maybe even just integrating or improving systems that can enhance record-keeping, accounting, or office management functions with new or more advanced technology.

With the above tips, you have the potential to make 2018 the best year ever for your small business. However, as with everything, the key is to taking action. Without action, plans are just maps to potential treasure. Add the action, and you are on your way to finding that pot of gold, once and for all.