Now that we’ve rung in the new year, it’s time to get serious about making 2016 the best year yet for your small business. These 7 New Year’s resolutions will help you take your business to the next level and make sure that you’re addressing the things you need to thrive, not only a business owner, but as a person, as well.
1. Take more time off.
Yes, you read that correctly. Many, if not most, small business owners have a tendency to place their businesses before themselves. And while this might result in a successful business in the short term, it can have some bad long-term consequences.
Extreme levels of stress, illness, getting disconnected from friends and family, and feeling burnt out are all common among small business owners; take a few more days off this year to help you be the best person you can be, and to live a more well-rounded life. Your business will be much better for it.
2. Take advantage of technology.
Payment, accounting, storage, collaboration, and other important parts of your business can be helped a lot by using the right sorts of technology. Taking credit and debit card payments from your phone, keeping important documents in the cloud, and working more efficiently with your colleagues should all be among your goals this year.
Not sure where to start? Check out our blog posts on what the cloud actually is and how to get your small business into the cloud. That should be enough to get you started, and you can move on from there!
3. Delegate more.
Delegating and sharing responsibility aren’t easy, but they’re crucial for running an efficient business. Even though you know more about your business than anyone else, that doesn’t mean that you’re the best person to tackle every problem and deal with every issue.
Make it a goal this year to ask for help and delegate responsibility more often. In many cases, you can easily have someone else take care of a task that’s taking up a lot of time, freeing you to do more important things that will help keep your business on track in the new year.
4. Address more of your customers’ needs.
A lot of small businesses focus on a single issue—plumbing, or hairstyling, or pet grooming, or any number of other diverse areas. And for many businesses, that works very well. But what else can you do for your customers? What other needs to they have that you might be able to help them out with?
Try to think outside the box and offer another product or service this year that you haven’t in the past. It might succeed, and it might not . . . but getting to know your customers needs and desires will certainly help you in the long run.
5. Get more organized.
This should be a resolution for everyone, regardless of whether they own a small business or not. Get a document scanner, scan all of your receipts and invoices, and organize your computer so you can find everything when you need it. It’ll make taxes easier, help you spend less time searching your computer, and reduce stress when you need to find something.
While you’re at it, start backing up your computer, too. Sign up for CrashPlan or Backblaze and make sure that all of your important documents are backed up in the cloud so you don’t lose them, even if your computer dies.
6. Spend more time promoting your business online.
Advertising and marketing are crucial components for recruiting your clients and expanding your business, but they can feel like a chore that doesn’t get you anywhere. Make it a goal this year to spend more time learning about how to promote your business, and then doing it.
Start by reading up on ways to promote your business online, and be sure to take social media into account; lots of businesses have had great success on Facebook and Twitter, and they’re too important to ignore.
7. Network more.
“Networking” is an intimidating word, and it makes a lot of people nervous. But it doesn’t have to, and once you get over the idea that you can make connections without schmoozing at a convention, you might even come to enjoy it.
Find a networking or industry group near you, and go to their monthly meetings. Introduce yourself to a couple people and exchange email addresses in case you have anything interesting to share in the future. That’s all there is to it!
Make 2016 a Great Year for Your Business
No matter how great 2015 was, 2016 can be even better. Take the time to set some goals for yourself this year and come up with a strategy to follow through and meet them. Even if you don’t use the resolutions outlined here, it’s important to have some plans for expanding and improving your business this year.
If you’ve set any goals, share them in the comments below so we can all be inspired!