New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs fall into the intersection of business and personal growth. The commitment isn’t the same as developing Q1 initiatives, and it isn’t quite like that shiny new gym membership, either.
For an entrepreneur, a solid New Year’s resolution should merge business growth and personal development. When you take fate into your own hands through a life-fulfilling venture, mental and spiritual wellness are just as important as the black ink on your graphs and spreadsheets.
“Live the present intensely and fully, do not let the past be a burden, and let the future be an incentive. Each person forges his or her own destiny.”
—Carlos Slim Helú, Amrica Móvil
Let’s get your 2023 off to a great start. We tapped our community for ideas on New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs and got back some tremendous insights.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to set realistic resolutions and goals.
- Lists of New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs.
- How to ensure you achieve your resolutions.
- Alternatives to New Year’s resolutions.
- Closing thoughts on New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs.
Ready to lay the groundwork for an excellent year to come? Let’s get started!
How to set realistic resolutions and goals
The first step in creating a solid resolution for your business is to document all those thoughts that start with “I should really…” It’s a good way to get things going, but keep in mind that maintaining a passive approach won’t get you too far. Prepare yourself to step up that effort.
“Coming up with an idea is the least important part of creating something great. It has to be the right idea and have good taste, but the execution and delivery are what’s key.”
—Sergey Brin, Google
Consider which of your potential resolutions will make the most significant impact on your business and open you up to accomplish more of your goals. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential business resolutions, here’s how to put them into action:
- Pick just one — Narrowing your choices down to one resolution requires prioritization and assessing the impact of the resolution.
- Align resolutions with business goals — Your resolutions and goals don’t have to line up on a one-to-one basis. You’ll undoubtedly have goals that don’t support your resolution (especially if you only pick one resolution). You might need to add new goals to support your resolution.
- Be specific — Be as specific as possible about the desired outcome. You might have a single result or a combination of results that add up to the final desired outcome.
- Make a plan — Make sure you have the resources available when you need them. And when you’re planning, also plan for problems that might come up while you’re working toward your resolution.
- Keep it small — Small, incremental changes are easier to maintain and keep than broad, sweeping changes. It’s best to think of strengthening your “willpower muscle” through high reps and low weight, compared to just a couple of power lifts.
- Make it real — One of the best ways to make your resolution real is to phrase it as if it has already happened. If you journal or are a planner, you might also choose to write this statement each day to keep your resolution at the top of your mind.
- Build rewards — You can change your behaviors by planning rewards when you reach certain milestones. For example, you could take yourself out for ice cream after completing an online course in Excel to improve your professional development.
- Communicate your resolutions — A public commitment to your resolution helps set it in stone. Don’t just keep your resolution to yourself. Let your team know about your resolution, and, if possible, get them on board.
- Check in regularly — Schedule regular resolution check-ins, either every couple of weeks or at least once a month, to ensure you’re staying on track to accomplish your goal.
Most Americans fall off the resolution wagon pretty quickly — whether it’s a mere 15 minutes into the new year or 15 days. But picking the right resolutions, developing a plan, adding rewards, and sharing the enthusiasm with the team can all help you and your business grow.
Lists of New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs
When it comes to picking a resolution, it can help to choose something specific to your venture. However, don’t get too focused on guaranteed results. It’s about the ride, after all.
“In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
—Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
As you check out these lists of New Year’s resolutions, try looking through some that aren’t specific to what you’re doing. After all, you can find inspiration in places you least expect.
General marketing resolutions
Solid marketing is essential for the success of any entrepreneurial endeavor, but it’s easy to let your strategies go stale. For the coming year, here are five resolutions that can breathe new life into your marketing efforts.
- Trust the data — In the new year, resolve to review and act on the in-depth data available from your marketing systems, such as website traffic, referral traffic, email marketing impact and social media engagement.
- Align your content — With your new content marketing plans, make sure you’re identifying each piece of content, which persona it speaks to, and where they are in the customer sales funnel. There are three stages in the sales funnel: awareness, consideration or purchasing.
- Try something new — Whether it’s checking out a new platform (e.g. social media, email marketing or CMS), broadening your horizons to include video or podcasting, or even changing how you offer your products or services, the new year is a great time to try something new.
- Manage your planning — To maximize your efficiency in the new year, you need to find the right balance of planning and agility for your business. Unless you have a long lead time on delivering products, you can probably plan quarterly increments and implement them in six-week sprints.
- Reduce, reuse, repurpose — Different ways of presenting your content and ideas will capture the attention of readers and prospects. Reduce content by looking at your analytics to identify how often you need to publish to continue to reach your audience. You can easily reuse your existing content by sharing and re-sharing with different highlights. You don’t need to just share your existing content as-is. Give your existing ideas new life by repurposing them in different ways, such as ebooks, infographics or podcasts.
Just because you’re one person doesn’t mean you can’t do it all…without stress. Make these five resolutions to create changes for the better throughout the year.
- Firm up processes and procedures — Dedicate time each week in the next month to write down exactly how you do each of your regular activities. Those might include writing content for your blog, fulfilling an order, or scheduling social media updates.
- Find people to make work easier — There are plenty of tasks you’re probably not stellar at, like design, marketing or accounting. These are the easiest to outsource to a freelancer or agency, and it’s probably cheaper to do so than you think.
- Take business more seriously — It might mean it’s time to incorporate or form an LLC. Or that you’ll shift from acting as a freelancer to running a business. Sometimes we feel like this is temporary, and that eventually we’ll have to get a job. But if you invest in yourself and take yourself seriously, you’ll find your business starts thriving.
- Invest in the tools you need — If the tools you’re using are limiting you from doing more, see what paid options are available. There are many tools geared toward small business needs and budgets.
- Realize you are not your business — You can’t tie yourself so tightly to the business that you can never leave it. You have to be able to step away from your company for a little space. A long weekend or even afternoon off at the very least can be enough to give you the distance you need to put your business in perspective.
Here are seven New Year’s resolutions ecommerce brands should make to grow their market share, increase their sales, and continue to thrive in the new year and beyond.
- Collect more email addresses — Growing (or starting to build) your email list is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your online business in the new year. At a bare minimum, make sure signup forms showcasing your incentive are prominently featured around your website, and consider using a pop-up to grow your list even faster.
- Send emails every day — Automations are the key to sending emails every day, and there are a few key automations we recommend setting up for your store: cart abandonment, thank you to first time customers, post-purchase follow-up to repeat customers, replenishment reminders, and win-back emails. Once you have those automations running, you should be able to hit the goal of sending emails every day.
- Simplify your checkout process — Your number-one goal is to get people who visit your site to buy your products. Why make that process any more difficult than it needs to be? Reduce the friction in your order process: allow guest checkout, reduce the number of pages, audit the information you require and remove anything that’s not absolutely necessary, don’t ask for the same info twice, use clear calls-to-action, and consider adding faster payment options like PayPal or Amazon Pay.
- Nurture repeat buyers — Focus on turning one-time customers into repeat customers, and turning repeat customers into loyal brand advocates. Some of the strategies you can use include VIP and loyalty programs, exclusives and early access, advisory councils, referral incentives, and gamification of your shopping process.
- Understand who your customer really is — Everything changes when you really get a handle on your customer and form a clear picture of your buyer personas. Your marketing angles, on-site and email verbiage, advertising, product development and social proof all come together once you can picture exactly who you’re selling to.
- Improve your product pages — Refresh your product pages this upcoming year to make sure they’re giving your products the showcase they deserve. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Does your product page take a customer down the sales funnel? How are your photos? How are your product descriptions? Do you have social proof? Do you upsell and cross-sell? Do you make it easy to add the product to your cart, to see how much everything will cost (including shipping, taxes, fees, and discounts), and to pay?
- Never stop learning — No matter how advanced you are, there’s always more out there to learn. And even if you’re sure you know everything, remember the industry is always changing and evolving. Just a few years ago, who would’ve thought click-and-collect would be an ecommerce gold rush? Going back a little further, there wasn’t even such a thing as WooCommerce. Now it powers a considerable share of ecommerce stores in the world.
Local business resolutions
Get motivated to succeed with your website, social media and email marketing with our top five local business resolutions for the new year.
- Optimize social media pages — Start spiffing up your presence on social media and review sites. Get started with new and improved profile and cover photos. Next, make sure all of your information is accurate and write a catchy new description of your business. You should also refresh the photos on your review sites. Finally, respond to reviews and Facebook recommendations.
- Create a content calendar — Think about what you can post that will prompt your followers to pay your business a visit and start to put a working document together. Think about holidays and important dates for your business. Remember that purposeful, engaging content is the kind that draws customers in, then gives them the two-way conversations they’re looking for.
- Reconnect through email marketing — Make it a goal to start collecting email addresses this year so you can maximize brand awareness and stay at the top of your customers’ minds (and inboxes). You can collect emails by adding a widget to your website, posting prompts on social media, or even setting up a clipboard next to your cash register.
- Rejuvenate your website — Make sure you have a responsive website that allows your customers to view your products, book your services, or easily get in contact with you. Your customers will be excited to see your enhancements and will spend a little extra time clicking around your website and checking out your new products and services for the new year.
- Collaborate with your neighbors — Whether you choose to connect with an owner across the street or across town, there are tons of ways to boost your business by collaborating with other small businesses. You can combine budgets, offers and promotional efforts around one common event or goal. Even swapping business cards with a neighboring establishment to display at your register is a great way to maximize this marketing opportunity.
Web designer and developer resolutions
If you are having a hard time coming up with New Year’s resolutions for web designers and developers, here’s a list of seven goals every WD&D business owner should strive to achieve.
- Pay yourself a salary — Designating a salary for yourself on a set schedule can result in higher revenue. By making a salary one of your New Year’s resolutions as a web designer or developer, you shift your mindset by setting a specific number and goal to hit every month.
- Hire help — As the business owner, you are the one most passionate about your business and the key ingredient for creative solutions, sales and networking. By moving tasks you shouldn’t be doing off your plate, it frees you up to grow the business and increase revenue.
- Don’t work on vacation — Plan to have a vacation this year where you don’t bring your work with you. Hiring help and optimizing your business processes will allow this to happen. It can also happen by just setting boundaries that allow you to walk away.
- Don’t work on the weekends — Clients and customers will understand and respect this. If your business is unique and requires weekend attention, then hire or make concessions to have someone covering clients on the weekends.
- Stick to processes — Processes in business help it run efficiently. More important than having processes is sticking to them. Too often, we make exceptions when we are desperate for project work, revenue or too busy. These exceptions end up costing us in one way or another.
- Refer away wrong leads — Build a network you can work to refer leads to. By letting your network know your ideal client, they will refer leads as well. This will save you both from working on the wrong projects and further niche your business to be known for specific work.
- Be profitable — The only way your business will survive is if it’s profitable. That’s all on you and the decisions you make this year. You just have to make the right decisions now to shift your business into high-gear. Part of it is mindset, the other part is simply planning.
As we close the door on this year and look to the next, look to these five resolutions you can adopt to improve the performance of your organization overall.
- Update your site more frequently — In some cases, that means publishing more blog posts. In others, it means keeping your visitors informed with the latest news. In still others, it means making new announcements and posting new media, like photos or video.
- Get more visitors’ perspectives — Your latest press release or site redesign might look extraordinary. But to the average visitor, it might seem pretentious or detached. This year, spend more time getting the perspectives of real visitors, whether you conduct more user surveys and demographic research, or use tracking software to learn how your users interact with your site.
- Experiment to get more donations — Donations aren’t going to come to you on their own. Instead, you’ll need to resolve to conduct more experiments to see which factors increase or decrease the likelihood of conversion. A/B testing is the best practical framework for this, but there’s no limit to how many factors you can evaluate.
- Use more visual storytelling — Invest more resources in your visual storytelling, especially when it comes to illustrating your organization’s impact on the community. Video interviews and documented improvements can be powerful, but even photos of the people you’ve helped can make a substantial difference.
- Offer more opportunities for engagement — Try to provide more contact points throughout your site, such as an instant chat feature, or more opportunities for social interaction. Brand engagement is almost always a good thing.
Law firm resolutions
Here are four resolutions that will bring your law firm more clients in the coming year. Start at the top and work your way down.
- Embrace content marketing — Content marketing means publishing information online that your clients are likely searching for now. The information might be presented in the form of a video, blog or series of social media posts. Many law firms have started blogging and, to some extent at least, engaging with followers on social media.
- Personalize your messaging — Think of the last “Dear subscriber” email you got. Did you read it or delete it? Of course you want to avoid violating any attorney-client privilege or privacy laws when using data, but you can use the information people provide you when they sign up for your email newsletter or blog to personalize the messages they receive.
- Be consistently social — Have a consistent presence on social media, even if on only one or two networks. Very often, business-to-business marketers (law firm marketing pros included) don’t see the value of social media. But if your audience is there, you should be, too.
- Publish videos — Pay attention to audio and video quality, as poorly produced videos can actually undermine your audience’s perception of your firm. A good microphone and a basic lighting kit will help with a do-it-yourself approach, at least in the beginning. You can use a video camera or a smartphone, but either way, a tripod will help keep the camera steady while you record.
How to ensure you achieve your resolutions
As we all reflect on the year gone by, thoughts naturally turn to making the next 12 months better across the board. While it’s one thing mustering up the gumption to honestly assess your performance and make business resolutions for the coming year, it’s another thing to actually keep them.
As our friend Adriana Huffington advises, it’s not worth it to simply go through the motions when you’re trying to reach a goal.
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of the time we put in at work, instead of the quality of the time we put in.”
—Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post
Get the process right by breaking down common-sense ways of setting goals for the new year (ones you’ll actually be able to stick to). Let’s start by identifying some obvious targets.
Identify your biggest win
In the vast majority of cases, there’s probably one screamingly obvious change you could make that would deliver outsize benefits across the board. Kick things off by thinking about what it might be in isolation, and you give yourself one clear target to aim at before getting bogged down in any further detail.
Identify your easiest win
As a counterpoint to our first suggestion, also determine the easiest possible improvement you could make. Run this by your team while you’re doing it. If everyone instantly agrees on one item in particular, you’ve got an obvious and achievable business resolution on your hands. If a whole host of potentially simple and positive changes occur, even better!
Take it one quarter at a time
The temptation when speccing out things that should happen next year is to start identifying entire theoretical sequences of events. However, you’ll need to be a little careful about chaining items together too far into the future. While there’s a lot to be said for quarterly planning in general, it’s often best to limit yourself to a one- or two-quarter horizon unless you’ve been in operation for quite some time.
Both you and your team need very clear guidelines around what actually constitutes success or failure. Vaguely aspirational mutterings such as “boost sales” are simply not going to cut it — you want real-world numbers in play to make things crystal clear for all concerned. Committing to this across your team is a simple way of enforcing good habits. Even if you do happen to stumble along the way, you’ll at least know exactly how short you were of achieving your goal.
Alternatives to New Year’s resolutions
For plenty of people, resolutions just aren’t their thing. Maybe those New Year’s promises are too inflexible or time-bound, or they just get in the way of ordinary life. Hey, as the late, great Steve Jobs once said, it’s all about ditching the dogma and following your heart.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
—Steve Jobs, Apple
For those who prefer to avoid new year’s resolutions, don’t sweat it. Let’s look at some alternatives to formal commitments that can still get your new year off to a great start.
Write a dear-future-me letter
Every January 1, I take an hour or two to flex your dream muscle and imagine how the year ahead will go — and then describe it to your future self in a letter. This year, address it “Dear Future Me,” and fill the pages with what’s happened this year.
Choose a word of the year
Think about how you want to feel in the year to come. Write down the words that pop into your head, and then go to thesaurus.com, really nailing down the meanings and seeing what resonates most.
- What do you want your overall intention to be?
- What do you want the year to contain?
- What do you need to be attuned to?
- What do you want in abundance?
Once you’ve pinpointed your word, put it on your desktop and calendar so you see it often. When it comes down to making a decision or sketching out what you want this year to look like, it’ll guide you. It’s nowhere near as demanding as some new year’s resolutions.
Pick one thing (and break it down)
It’s hard to prioritize all of the things that you want to do in the coming year, and picking just one can feel tough. If that’s the case, do a brain dump and get out everything you think you want to work on next year, and go with the one that seems to be pulling at you.
What’ll give you the most growth, or impact, in your business? What best reflects your Word of the Year? Don’t let your head talk your heart/gut out of what you really wanna do.
And don’t forget: picking only one thing for now doesn’t mean you won’t do the other things — it just means you’re not going to work on them now. Big difference.
Closing thoughts on New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs
There you have it, sound advice for dreaming up, clarifying and executing New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs. If you’re having doubts at this point, take a deep breath and conquer this one step at a time.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
—Sean (Diddy) Combs, Bad Boy Records
It might help to bookmark this post in case you need a reminder or inspiration in the months to come. Just remember it’s your own drive and capability that got you to this point as an entrepreneur. Who knows how far it’ll take you?
You got this. See you next year!
This article contains content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Nellie Akalp, Caroline Barker, Karry Gorgone, Sam Greenspan, Brandi Johnson, Jayson DeMers, Amanda Larson, Tom Rankin, Kristina Romero, Genevieve Tuenge, and Michelle Ward.