Most people take a moment at the end of the year to reflect on how the year went for them – was I really more organised? Did I see my friends more often? How many times did I actually go to yoga? Ask yourself this though: did I take any steps towards bettering my business?
It’s just as important to take as deep a look into your business achievements as it is for your personal ones. What things went well and what things didn’t go so well? Did I become the leader I set out to be when this year began? Are my staff truly happy?
The great news is whether you had a bumper year or a dismal year – it’s over! But now it’s time for some business resolutions to make 2017 a much better year for you in business. Here are some of my tips for making business New Year’s resolutions worth keeping.
Take time to review – measure and evaluate what’s worked and what hasn’t
This is like a health check for your business. What marketing worked, what marketing didn’t? Consider reviewing a whole range of areas of your business including suppliers (are they our best bet?), cashflow (was it higher than the year before? Lower?), workflow (are we getting things done?), staff (are they happy in their role?), equipment (does that snail-slow laptop need an upgrade?) and which investments in your business paid off which ones didn’t. It’s a good idea to capture the information so you know for next time. Any mistakes you’ve made you’ll be less likely to make again and any success you’ve enjoyed, you can start working towards repeating it.
Set some (realistic) targets
What do you want to achieve this year? Without goals, it’s hard to get ahead. Spend a little bit of time thinking and dreaming about what you want to achieve both in and out of business in the next 12 months. Keep it simple: it might be writing down your sales goals and how you think you are going to get there. It doesn’t have to take long nor do you have to write it down in a complex document. A piece of paper with what you are wanting to achieve stuck onto your office wall is a good starting place. If you look at it every day – you will be well on your way to achieving those goals.
Try something new
With so many new technologies available and options for things like marketing why not try something different in your business this year? It might be a new way of marketing, a new logo or something fresh that invigorates your office. These new additions may give you a great return on investment (in everything from more sales to better productivity) but you have to give them a go to find out. I always suggest having a marketing experiment budget for just this purpose (why not try a budget for safe risk taking?). It’s always good to try your hand at some new and move the business with the times.
Attend some business training
There is always something to learn when running your own business. Learning from experts can provide you with motivation, inspiration and some new ideas. No need to go overboard even one workshop, seminar or webinar can make a difference. Try BRiN, the AI powered business advisor, for some stockpiled business know-how, have a trawl through some start-up success stories or finally get yourself that mentor.
Find out what your customers really think
A good New Year’s resolution is to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. You can get great information such as whether customers are likely to do business with you again and if you are pricing too high or low. It can be scary getting the feedback but it’s invaluable for moving forward in your business.
Enter a business award
There are some great benefits to be made from entering business awards. Just in the application process, you gain focus and learn a lot about what the core of your business truly is. Then if you are successful enough to be a finalist or even win, of course then there are plentiful marketing bonuses for your business. Who knows, maybe 2017 will be your lucky year.
Review your website
At the start of the year, business is often pretty quiet. As such, it’s the perfect time to read through your website and correct outdated information or update any details. It doesn’t seem so daunting if it’s only once a year – you can do it! You’ll feel so much better and your customers will be pretty pleased at not having out-of-date information.
Book a holiday
Too many business owners work themselves into the ground. If you love being in business and have been in business full-time for more than three years, then you need to make it sustainable or else you can work yourself to death. Your business, your customers and your family will all benefit from you being more rested and relaxed (this leading entrepreneur agrees). So if you are on holidays at the end of the year, now is the time to book your next holiday. I know as business owners, it’s hard to take time off but your business (and your sanity) depends on it, so just do it. Start with a day off here, a long weekend there, then work up to a week off. Why be in business if you can’t have the life you want?
Ailsa Page is a small business marketing specialist and author of The Shoe String Marketing Kit for Small Business and The Year I owned a Wine Shop.
And don’t forget your New Year resolutions! Here is your 2017 bucket list: 10 ideas for a more adventurous, conscious and stress-free life.