resolutions for small business

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners

It’s the beginning of the new year: a fresh start. What better time to take a look at where your business is, where you’d like it to be and the steps to getting it there.

Top 10 Resolutions for Small Business Owners:

1. I will hire better.

Magic Johnson once said: “When you are a successful business person, you are only as good as your team. No one can do every deal alone”.

But this is not news to you. By now you already know the cost of a bad hire. This year, learn how to hire honest, positive team players. Then let go of any negative people that are costing you so much. Building a successful team is imperative to the success of your business.

If you can’t seem to hire good people and are dealing with constant churn, it may be time to up your game. You can take a small step, such as taking a Human Resources class at a local college. Or, you can take a bigger step, such as finding a staffing agency to help you with the hiring process. Either way, this effort will pay off tremendously over time.

2. I will show appreciation.

Once you have worked so hard to find your ideal employees, it is important to find ways to keep them.

One way is to help them along their careers and show them that their positions are not dead-end jobs. Find out what their goals are and help them get there. Find out what their talents are and what they like to do and nudge them in those directions.

Another way is to show your appreciation through gestures that matter: extra paid time off, extra bonuses, money towards their kids’ college funds. These are smart investments that will keep you surrounded by good people.

3. I will work smarter.

Look at any business advice nowadays and you will run into the 80/20 rule for business. Whether or not the original theory is valid, this type of analysis might show you ways to get better results with less effort. Plus, it doesn’t cost a penny to try.

Here are some exercises to get you started:

1. If you’d like to make more profit, figure out which 20% of your customers represent 80% of your revenue, and focus on getting more of those kinds of customers.

2. To reduce the amount of problem customers, try to figure out which 20% of your customers represent 80% of your problems and complaints. Avoid attracting any more of those kinds of customers.

3. To be more effective, find out which 20% of your time produces 80% of your results. Decide to spend more time on those activities to get better results overall.

4. I will find at least one partner.

Everybody’s doing it. Amazon is offering Showtime. Beyoncé is singing with Drake. Google is partnering up with Yahoo. Why? Because it’s profitable. Both entities benefit from each other’s branding and get introduced to each other’s customers. The customers get more of what they like. It’s a win-win-win situation. It’s ingenious.

What does this look like for a small business? Well, if you’re a local dry cleaner, it might mean partnering up with a local tailor and advertising their services in your entrance while they advertise yours. You could split costs for a joint booth at a local event or print a joint ad.

Don’t worry if the other entity is a big company. If you are offering a service that they don’t currently have, they might be interested in offering it to their customers. In the end, you are trying to find a partnership that pushes you forward and gives both products or services more value.

5. I will learn to delegate.

This is a tough one for most small-business owners. However, if you’re the soldier in the trenches all day, who is in the war room planning the next battle? Nobody is. If you want to grow, you will simply have to learn to delegate or you will not be able to scale.

So what does that look like for a small business? Well, first, take inventory of how you are spending your time. Are you really being the CEO of your company? How do you spend your days? Are there tasks that you could outsource or delegate? Would outsourcing even one of these tasks (such as payroll, for example), free up a few hours for you to focus on business development and strategies for growth? Are you not delegating because of a lack of good employees? If so, you’ll need to work on resolution number 1 even harder.

As your role changes, ask yourself these questions regularly.

6. I will learn to automate.

It might shock you to know that many people avoided the camera when it was first invented. Others were afraid of telephones. Still others preferred things to be hand-copied instead of photo copied. Even today, some people think it’s noble to do things manually, but does this make any sense for your business?

Are you or your staff doing repetitive tasks that you could automate using modern technology? Today there are many ways to create a smart office. You’ll save time, lower overhead costs and reduce human error.

Things to consider automating include:

7. I will try a new tool.

According to Forbes, there are 17 Apps that can “save any CEO $1.8 Million a Year”. Perhaps that number’s a bit high for the small-business owner. However, with 1,000 new apps hitting the Apple App store each day, chances are, there’s an app for that… and you don’t even know about it!

There are apps that handle any number of daily tasks such as budgeting, scheduling, making to-do lists, and coordinating projects with your staff. Adding just one to your arsenal of tools could save you valuable time. Make it a point to try at least one highly-rated app this year.

8. I will fix one broken system.

All offices have several broken systems that doesn’t seem like a big deal. We’ve all experienced the copier that jams, the phone system that drops transfers, the elevator button that doesn’t respond. How about the thermostat that requires constant adjusting, the computer that always hangs, and the cash register that doesn’t open?

Taken individually, these problems don’t seem like a big deal. However, if you add them up in terms of man-hours lost, these broken things are costing you money. Not only that, they can create an unpleasant workplace for your staff. Make it a point to pick at least one broken system this year and just fix it!

9. I will get social.

Whether you’re a local business or a national firm, if you’re not using social media, you are essentially ignoring free marketing. Sure, if you want to put ads on social media, that will cost you. However, if you build a presence on Facebook, you can sit back and watch people share your photos or coupons with friends at no cost to you. So if social is free, why aren’t you doing it?

Make it a point to figure out which social media works best for your industry (where’s your competition? Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter?), and start communicating with the public. If you’re not feeling social, pick an employee who already likes social media and give them the task. You may be surprised at the amount of traction you get.

10. I will pay more attention to my health.

There is one thing that most business owners have in common: they have very little time to pay attention to their own health. Many sit in an office all day. Others bring work home and get too few hours of sleep. Some eat out all the time and can’t control their weight. Some are so stressed that one evening beer has turned into two or three.

Health-related resolutions fail when we tackle too many at a time. Make it a point this year to pick one thing you can do to help your health. Even if it’s just carving out more time for sleep, investing in your health will not only give you more energy to grow your business, it may actually keep you around long enough to reap the rewards.

We’ve hope you enjoyed our resolutions for small business owners. Here’s to your success in the New Year and beyond!

The Team