Sure, the holidays and the New Year have long since come and already passed at this point, but it’s never too late to make resolutions – who says they all have to be made in the New Year, anyway? If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you probably have goals in mind for what you want to accomplish with your business this year. Why not take it one step further and make those goals resolutions to insure you actually get them done?
Any good resolution can be made at any time throughout the year, so as spring and summer quickly approach, take the time to consider these 6 quick and easy resolutions that could change your life in terms of your business.
Don’t Start Your Day with Emails
The sound of it may cause an initial reaction of shock, fear and panic, but don’t worry, not checking your emails first thing in the morning could actually help you be more productive.
Science shows that people are most productive in the first couple of hours that they are at work, so if you’re spending those first precious hours responding to emails from people who need something from you, you could be wasting productivity.
Try getting to the office and tackling your most difficult project of the day first. Once you have that out of the way, then it’s OK to go through your emails. Get the most important task done first, though.
Spend Time Actively Learning
Make it a point every single day to take at least a half hour and learn something new about your industry that can help you formulate ideas for your business. As an entrepreneur, you know that you are responsible for more than 1 aspect of your company, and while you don’t necessarily have to be a master of each division, you should have a general knowledge of everything in your business.
For example, say you have a website for your business and an on-staff designer and marketer. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to know about design and marketing. Take the time to learn! At least get an idea of how each field works and start to acquire a basic skill set in everything.
Lessons are easy to find online, so that could be your learning tool, or simply call someone you know who’s an expert in the field you want to learn about, and set a lunch meeting with them. You’ll be surprised at how much you are capable of learning from friends, business partners and acquaintances.
Sleep More, but Get Up Earlier
Know when to put the work down to take care of yourself. Getting 8 hours of sleep every night without fail can do amazing things for both your physical and mental health. You’ll wake up feeling more alert, focused and (surprise!) awake.
That said, try to get up earlier. Yes, that will likely mean going to bed earlier, but imagine what you could do with an extra half an hour or full hour in the mornings when no one is around to bother you. You could go to the gym, make a good, hearty breakfast or simply relax with a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper.
The mornings will now be devoted to you and only you. Taking the time to focus on yourself will make you a better and happier entrepreneur. Going to bed earlier in order to wake up earlier may become a challenge, but learn how to put the work down and put yourself to bed.
It only takes 2 straight weeks of doing something to make it a habit. Stick to it, and it will become easier over time.
Take Your Time with Hiring
Sure, you may have an empty position in your office that you absolutely must fill, but resist the temptation to hire the first qualified person you meet and instead take your time to thoughtfully consider your hire before making one.
You want to take into consideration things like personality and you feel a person might “mesh” with the rest of your staff. Chemistry can make or break your business with good or bad relationships amongst yourself and your staff, so make sure you’re choosing someone you think will fit in easily with the rest of the crew.
This is especially important for a small business – if there are only 5 of you in your office on a daily basis, you better make sure you all get along!
Also, really consider whether you need the position or not. If you’ve been stressed out trying to fill in the empty role, you probably need someone there. But if you’ve been able to manage without the extra person, save yourself and your business the money and just have everyone pitch in a little bit more to step up and fill in the holes.
Get Into Social Media
Building a social media profile (or a few) for your business can be hugely helpful for you in terms of networking and even sales. So much work is now accomplished via social media that you’ll only be left behind if you don’t have a profile.
Once you’ve created a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account (those are the 3 biggies to look into), make sure you make it useful. The point of a social media account is to let your customers or potential customers get to know who you are. It’s more personal and conversational than typical business websites. Post information that lets people know who you are, what you enjoy and why you are an entrepreneur.
Post things that will get people interested in going to your site – after all, the main goal is to drive more traffic to either your business or your website. Hold contests for people who “Like” your page and give incentives for new “Like” members.
Keep your profiles updated. Old content just shows that you’re a neglectful business owner (to the social media world of potential customers, anyway), so keep it fresh, upbeat and personalized.
Take More Risks
You don’t have to go jumping off buildings or out of airplanes to be considered a risk taker, you might just have to be willing to try and test new ideas and projects for your business.
That’s the point of this resolution. Taking more small risks will get you out of your comfort zone and help you realize ways that you can improve and accelerate your business that you might not have known otherwise.
You may fail more often by taking more risks, but you’ll at least learn what will help or harm your business more so than if you hadn’t taken the risk. After all, it was the great Wayne Gretzky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Don’t be afraid to take a chance – you never know when you’ll score on one.
Picture by Flickr.