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Start-Ups

7 Must-Keep Business Goals for the New Year

By Townes Haas   |    February 25, 2015   |    10:05 AM

Identifying Attainable Small Business Resolutions for 2015

The New Year is upon us, and it's time to start thinking seriously about new business goals to improve business productivity and prosperity. Here are seven New Year's resolutions for the small business owner.

1. Enjoy some sunshine: Most people spend too much time locked away in an office from 8 to 5 – or longer. But getting away from those four walls can actually improve productivity and morale, and reduce stress. Take time each month to leave the office and do something fun with the staff, i.e. a picnic and even a movie.

2. Pay attention to company data: It's easy to fall into the pattern of only reviewing data on a quarterly basis. Companies, however, often fail to catch issues early if they are. Make a habit of reviewing key metrics on a weekly and/or monthly basis, and capture as much data as possible. Company goals and milestones should be agreed upon early in the year. Data can help determine if these major benchmarks are being met.

3. Invest in marketing: Typically, marketing is the last item on the agenda and the first need to get cut when budgets are tight. If a business is to grow, then it needs to invest in marketing. Make it a resolution to find unique and cost-effective ways to market the business - and stick with it.

4. Do more networking: Networking can be exhausting: finding groups, attending events, practicing an elevator pitch, and keeping the game face on even when worn out. Yet, the motto of β€œit's not what you know, it's who you know" can actually help a business find new customers. Identify, join and participate in groups that would most benefit the business.

5. Decrease fire drills: Emergencies do occur. For example, if power goes out in the meeting room, someone may have to scramble to find another venue. Fire drills, however, should be few and far between. If they are happening often, this signals a lack of pre-planning. Become better at having a plan of action and a schedule, and decrease the last-minute rushes to get things done.

6. Say no and delegate: The hardest thing for anyone in business is saying no. Many people fear that it might mean a loss of opportunity or even a customer. Declining to do something, however, is actually a great to skill to have. It keeps someone from being over-committed and stressed out. If a particular task needs to be done, delegate it to someone else who has more time to get it completed.

7. Improve work-life balance: Many small business owners associate their personal life with their work life. The two should be highly distinct from each other. When the work day is done, go home, go out, read a book, etc. People shouldn't make work their whole life. Go on vacation, and shut down the computer and phone. Don't check emails, voicemails or texts unless there is absolute emergency. And if number 6 was followed, then there shouldn't be any of those either.

This year, don't worry about losing a few pounds or eating healthier – unless it's really necessary. Instead, make the resolutions about being a better business owner.