My New Year’s resolutions as a new small business owner

New biz, new year, new goals

This time of year entails a lot of reflecting – on life, on love, on relationships and on your business’s success. And with taxes just around the corner, your business’s progress over the past year is something you’re forced to scrutinize. I know it can be a daunting time – exciting for some and overwhelming for others – but think of it as an opportunity to improve what you’re doing to make your business even more profitable in the coming year!

I’ve never been too keen on New Year’s resolutions.

In fact, I normally set myself up for failure with goals like “I’m going to work out everyday” or “I’m going to quit drinking Diet Coke.” Let’s just say both bombed before February 1. But this year will be different because I’ve chosen to set meaningful resolutions for my new business, with goals I desperately want to achieve.

Here’s a look at some New Year’s resolutions I’ll apply to my own business, with some example tasks or activities that might inspire 2015 resolutions of your own:

I will invest in me by learning something new each month.

Being my business’s only employee, I’m central to its success. If I procrastinate, I stunt my business’s progress. If I let down a customer, my business gets a black mark in their book. If I don’t continue to improve, my business will languish in the land of the average — and that’s not what my dreams are made of!

As entrepreneurs, our skills are our businesses’ core assets.

We need to invest time and, sometimes, money to develop them in order to move our enterprises forward. In 2015, I’m committed to taking time to hone my abilities (business and personal) to help magnify my company’s growth potential.

Take a writing course to help improve your professionalism and grammar.

Read a book each month with topics that correspond with your biggest struggles or weaknesses (i.e. management, leadership, sales, etc.)

Watch YouTube tutorials on social media and email marketing for ways to improve your marketing methods.

I will track and understand my business’s finances.

For the past few months, I’ve put my business’s financial statements on the back burner. The accounting and bookkeeping side of things is something I really don’t understand, and I’ve been so busy starting my business that I haven’t carved out time to learn. But this year I’m making a commitment to learn the accounting basics, balance my checkbook each week, and create cash flow statements each month.

Purchase a bookkeeping program so you can free up your time and make accounting simple.

Track the amount of hours you work each day and on each project to make sure you’re charging enough for your time.

Give your customers easy online and in-person payment options to make tracking your sales easier.

I will create a healthy work-life balance.

I never thought this would be an issue for me. I’ve always been one to close my computer or take an afternoon off when I needed it, but since dedicating my life to getting my business off the ground, I’ve sacrificed time for family and fun!  In 2015  I plan to make more time for my family and me, and I challenge you to do the same. Do it for your sanity and your business!

Set aside your lunch break for “me time” to whip out a book or sit and enjoy the beauty of doing nothing.

Create strict work hours – like 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. –  and make sure your customers are aware of them.

Plan to take a week-long vacation, free of technology and work.

I will be more productive.

Most days, I get caught up in stupid time-consuming distractions (like Facebook or Instagram) or put off dreaded tasks until they become overwhelming. Productivity is a challenge. If you’re anything like me, odds are most days you feel like you didn’t get much accomplished or you wish you had more time. It’s the combination of smart planning and determined focus that create a balanced workday, but it’s so easy to let our habits and amusements get in the way of a constructive day. That’s going to change this year.

Reward yourself in little ways for being productive – by watching a TV show during your lunch break, or by giving yourself a 10-minute Facebook break – to motivate yourself to accomplish set tasks.

Create a list each morning of things you need to do, and prioritize them by importance.

Get to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

Use a productivity tool to keep your emails, calendar and files all in one place and secure in the cloud, protected from viruses or computer problems.

I will delegate more of my work.

By delegating more of my work, I think I’ll make big moves toward realizing two other resolutions: better work-life balance and increased productivity.

A friend suggested that I learn to delegate after doing so dramatically improved her business’s growth. She’s a lot like me and has a hard time offloading work to someone else (gotta love having a type A personality), but needed help with the tedious day-to-day tasks. She found someone on Elance to help build an Instagram and Facebook audience for just $5 an hour. SCORE!

Consider hiring an intern. Call your local college’s student services department and find out what steps you need to take to get started.

Use Elance or another online freelance marketplace to find contractors who can help you with your social media, blogging, mobile and other tedious online needs.

Hire a part-time employee or ask one of your current employees to help with the busy work so you can focus your time on the more important stuff.

That pretty much covers my New Year’s resolutions. What about yours?

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