Many people see the end of the year as a chance to reflect on their progress and set goals for the next year. While it's great to make commitments to improve your personal life, a new year resolution doesn’t have to involve a gym membership or a fad diet.
This is a good time to celebrate your business wins, evaluate your missteps and create a few new year goals.
Here are 20 new year resolutions that can help you improve your business and set yourself up for success in the new year.
Find your New Year resolutions here
Just as individuals make resolutions at the start of a brand new year, so do small business owners. Scan our list for one or two you’d like to try this year.
- Learn a new skill.
- Put yourself out there.
- Beef up your security.
- Revisit your pricing.
- Join a community.
- Prioritize self care.
- Find an accountability buddy.
- Pay it forward.
- Work smarter, not harder.
- Delegate more.
- Refresh your online presence.
- Streamline your business processes.
- Invest in yourself.
- Set some SMART goals.
- Upgrade your toolkit.
- Make time for face time.
- Engage with your online community.
- Establish daily routines.
- Set better boundaries.
- Get to know your customers.
Once you’ve chosen a few for yourself, list the steps required for each. Then block off time on your calendar for each step, perhaps focussing on just one resolution per quarter.
1. Learn a new skill
No. 1 on our list of new year goals is learning. Whether it’s a skill related to your business or a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try, there are so many positive benefits to learning something new.
Not only is it good for your brain, it’s also a great way to meet people with common interests. Who knows? That guy who sits beside you at your coding class could become a new client.
2. Put yourself out there
Do you get cold sweats when you have to present in front of a group? Find that your voice shakes when you make a sales call?
A good resolution might be to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do more public speaking.
For example, you could sign up for a public speaking workshop or commit to doing an Instagram Live video every month. Ask anyone who’s good at public speaking — the more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets.
3. Beef up your security
Anyone that owns a website right now should be thinking about security. If your website is your business, you need to treat it as a priority.
Now that Google labels websites with SSL security “Not secure” it actually hurts your SEO ranking if you don’t have it. Not to mention the fact that not having an SSL drives away tech-savvy customers who might otherwise buy from you.
Make sure you’re taking the right precautions to protect your business and your customers’ information. Security threats are always evolving as technology advances, so this is a resolution you’ll want to visit annually, if not more often. Read more here.
4. Revisit your pricing
Every so often, you should revisit what you’re charging and consider if you should raise or lower your prices.
If your brand has gotten stronger in the last year and your sales have increased steadily, you may be able to easily bump your prices up without losing sales. Be sure to see what your competitors are charging before making any change.
If you own an eCommerce business, you could always try raising prices on a small segment of customers to see if it hurts or helps your sales.
Raising your pricing always involves a little risk, but if you determine it’s the right choice after testing and careful consideration, it could mean incrementally higher profits in the year to come.
5. Join a community
Running a business can get a little lonely sometimes and a new year is a prime time to join a local:
- Business organization
- Coworking space
- Networking group
There’s nothing quite like talking to other entrepreneurs to spark new ideas, refine old ones and make valuable contacts that could help your business grow.
6. Prioritize self-care
Have you left your 9-to-5 only to find yourself working 24-7? It might be time you made more time for you.
Taking the time to recharge looks different for everybody.
For some people it’s exercise. For others, it’s spending time with friends and family. Some entrepreneurs swear by meditation.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re carving out time in your schedule to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries.
7. Find an accountability buddy
Even the most self-motivated person needs a little push sometimes. Research shows that people are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person.
Their chances of success increase to 95% when they meet with their partners regularly to check in on their progress.
So write down your goals and find an accountability buddy to help keep you on track.
8. Pay it forward
Chances are, you had somebody when you were just starting who supported you and gave you advice that helped you get to where you are today.
Could you be that person for somebody else? Make an effort in the new year to reach out to someone in your industry who’s new to entrepreneurship and could use mentoring or a sounding board for advice.
Remember: those who give, get.
9. Work smarter, not harder
Do you feel like you never have enough time to get things done? A good new year resolution for you could be to find more ways to boost your productivity and efficiency.
Are there any repetitive tasks you do every day that you could automate or eliminate?
Or can you try limiting any meetings to 30 minutes or less? If you truly want to work smarter, you need to take a good, hard look at your daily tasks and learn to prioritize them or pass them off to someone else when necessary. Speaking of which…
10. Delegate more
Business owners are used to ‘doing it all’ and wearing a lot of different hats. While this attitude can be handy in the early stage, it’s pretty hard to grow a business without help.
Delegating (or outsourcing) tasks you dread or find overwhelming (accounting, setting up meetings, etc.) can give you more time and mental capacity to focus on what you love and do best.
11. Refresh your online presence
Your website and social media are your business’ digital storefronts. If they’re looking a little shabby, you could be missing out on potential customers. This could include:
- Updating your branding (colors, photos, videos, etc.)
- Improving your website’s SEO
- Starting a blog
These are all great ways to freshen up your online presence and make sure it’s working for you the way it should.
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12. Streamline your business processes
From responding to routine customer queries to posting on social media, the number of tasks that business owners need to do every day can easily get overwhelming. That is unless you have the right systems in place.
For example, do you spend a lot of time thinking about what to write and say to prospective clients? Spending a few minutes creating template responses could save you hours in the long run. Write it once; use it over and over.
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13. Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself can make a huge difference in your life, your well-being and your ability to perform to the best of your ability.
Whether you invest in education or coaching or finally book that bucket-list trip, the effort you put into yourself plays a large role in determining the quality of your life — both now and in the future.
14. Set some SMART goals
When making business-related resolutions, it can be tempting to set targets like adding five new clients each month or boosting your overall revenue by a set dollar figure. However, while it’s important to dream big, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.
Instead, make sure that you’re setting SMART goals. These are:
Goals that meet all five of these criteria can help you turn those hazy ideas into actionable plans that actually get done.
15. Upgrade your toolkit
Many entrepreneurs try to keep their business operations lean by making do with what they have. Over time, they get so used to using free or cut-rate equipment that they stop noticing how annoying it is.
Ask yourself if using an old piece of hardware or the free version of a useful app is worth the pain or frustration.
If there’s a tool in your kit that’s interfering with your success, it may be time to level up.
16. Make time for face time
Phone calls and emails can keep you in touch with clients and customers, but they’re still no substitute for sitting down for a face-to-face chat. Try to find more time to meet with the 20% of your clients who generate most of your revenue this year.
For example, you could:
- Treat them to lunch to wrap up a big project
- Make an effort to go to their product launches or company events
Meeting with your clients in-person is a great way to strengthen your relationship with them and show that you’re committed to their success.
17. Engage with your online community
If you’re not active online, you are missing out on good opportunities to raise awareness for your company and interact with potential customers.
No time to dedicate to social media marketing yourself? You might want to consider hiring some help — it’s well worth the money and can provide a great return on investment.
18. Establish daily routines
What do some of the most successful entrepreneurs have in common? They have routines that they commit to day in and day out, that help them be their best selves.
- Some CEOs swear by waking up early
- Others set daily goals
- Some make it a priority to plan out their days the night before
Routines can help you get more done and waste less time in-between tasks or activities.
19. Set better boundaries
Business owners are often afraid of saying no to customers or potential customers out of fear.
Who wants to say no to paid work?
However, this mentality can lead you to take on unfulfilling projects or work with clients who don’t respect your time or expertise.
If this resonates with you, a good new year resolution could be to say ‘no’ more often. Remember, saying no to clients or customers who aren’t a fit opens you up for more opportunities that are more in-line with your core values.
20. Get to know your customers
For any business that hopes to grow, it’s important that you work to understand:
- Who your customers are
- Why they buy from you
- What their experience with your business is
To do that, you have to listen to them. Send out customer surveys to get their input. Encourage feedback after every purchase and customer service interaction. Then make sure you follow through on reviewing all comments you receive, responding to any that require it.
Set a few new year goals now
To make the most out of the year to come for your business, commit some time now to incorporate some of these resolutions into your day-to-day routines. Building a sustainable and efficient business takes work, but it’s worth it.
Here’s to your best year yet!