New Year’s Resolutions Worth Keeping

I used to hate New Year’s resolutions.  Everybody’s talking about them, but no one is really going to follow through on them.

It’s the only time of year when society is not only allowed but encouraged to tell lies to themselves and others.

But that doesn’t mean that setting goals and plans is wrong.  It simply means that we have  to get better at making resolutions we actually intend to keep.  And if we’re going to set resolutions we mean to keep, they have to be achievable, measurable, and important to us. 

With those three criteria in mind, here are 5 resolutions we suggest every business owner think about this time of year.

1. Set aside time to review your business plan monthly, if not weekly.

This resolution is easy as pie.  You’ve got this!  Put times and dates on the calendar when you will read your business plan.

Don’t mistake the importance of this ritual because it’s easy to do.  Reviewing your business plan monthly or weekly is a habit that will bring in HUGE dividends for you and your business.

Why?

Because when you read your plan frequently…

You’ll be less distracted by techniques, tools, and strategies that really have nothing to do with your business.

Every day there’s another ad popping up in your inbox or social media feeds trying to convince you that you’re missing out on that one thing your business needs to succeed.  More often than not, these ads distract you rather than help you.

Do you need the latest social media craze to do well?  Probably not.  Do you need the latest $50,000 SaaS product?  Probably not.

Even if you do need these cool things, your business plan will help you make those decisions strategically… not haphazardly.

You won’t spend valuable time making the same decisions over and over again.

Because you’ve already decided those things and put them  in your plan!

How many meetings have you been in where everyone’s debating a decision that was already made in another (long) meeting months ago?  Should we invest more in inventory?  Should we hire new personnel?  Should we reach out into new markets?

All of these decisions should be chronicled in your business plan.  Review your business plan and remember what you’ve already decided.

You’ll be fired up again about the future.

Plans have a way of getting us excited.  When we see a path to success—even if it’s not guaranteed—we immediately feel a sense of enthusiasm for the future.

Your business plan will reintroduce you from month to month to the big picture.

All the small details of running your business can begin to fill your mind with worries and stress.  Your business plan, though, will clear out those nagging details so you can see the vision again, so you can handle those issues with clarity and purpose. 

2. Solidify your marketing/promotions plan.

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to put together all the offers and promotions you want to release this year.  Here’s an easy way to get started:

Look at a year calendar and mark off all the holidays that are important to your target audience.  On a piece of paper, begin writing down thoughts for promotions you can put on that correlate to the holidays on the calendar.

Once you get out a few good ideas for offers and promotions around the holidays, put industry events on that same calendar.  When is the busy season?  When are the down times?

Use this information to create promotions at the time when your clients have the most cash available or are feeling the crunch of their immediate needs.

3. Set aside time this year for your personal professional development.

What conventions, conferences, or seminars have you been holding out on because it “just wasn’t the time”? To find conferences that are a good fit for you, try a Google search of [your industry] + [your city] + 2016.”

What business, leadership, or marketing books will you read that would propel you forward in your business goals?

Perhaps there’s a local community college with free or inexpensive classes in entrepreneurship, finances, or marketing you can take.  Find their website or call the college administration office for a class that’s right for you.

Look for business networks in your area that offer meet ups or networking events.  For example, you can meet small business owners just like yourself at Go-CoOpe meet up events throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Visit our meet up site HERE to find a time and location right for you to come and meet other small business owners like yourself, get key insights from industry leaders, and find timely advice for your business challenges.

Make this year the time you invest in your professional development.

4. Get your office organized.

A messy office leads to a messy mind.  Take a morning, or a day, and get your workspace clear of clutter and free your mind.

Purge old files and papers from your drawers, organize important papers by year (such as “Invoices 2015”), and shred the documents you don’t need.  This simple exercise will not only free you to do your best thinking, you’ll also rediscover important items within your office that need to be taken care of.

5. Let go of dead weight.

Over time as you build your business, you take on a few extra pounds that hold you down.  This is the year to do a full inventory of the dead weight hanging on you and get rid of it.

Get rid of strategies that aren’t working for you.

Social media, direct mail, phone calls, network events—which of these strategies have worked for you in the last year?  Which haven’t?  Choose to let go of the strategies that aren’t producing results and lean into the ones that have produced.

Get rid of techniques that are unnatural for you.

As you invest in your development, you’ll pick up techniques and methods from mentors and authors that are good for them, but may not be a good fit for you and your personality.

For example, there are many entrepreneurs out there who swear by Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done method to productivity.  Others say it’s the dumbest idea ever.  How will you know?

By trying it out for a time.  Keep it if it works with your personality, and let it go if it doesn’t.  Of course, you’ll probably discover, like me, that there will be parts of each methodology that you’ll keep and others that you’ll let go.

Get rid of relationships that are dragging you down.

Or simply quit spending time on them.  This could be a client, a vendor, a prospect, or a social acquaintance.

Instead, focus on building relationships that will enrich your life and your business.

These 5 business resolutions are goals that all of us can keep, they don’t take much time, and they have measurable results.

Now, go grow your business!

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