Every January we set ambitious resolutions to eat healthier food, hit the gym or spend more time with our family. But what about your business? Like your personal life, making one small tweak to your business habits in 2017 could deliver tremendous results and set you on course for your most successful year yet.
It’s important to review key metrics from last year and set bold new goals and targets for the next 12 months. But how are you going to change? What can you do differently on a daily basis to drive you towards smashing the goals you woke up hungry to achieve on the first day of January?
Not everything in business goes according to plan, but we are always in charge of one thing: our habits. And focusing your time on the right ones is the real engine that drives your numbers higher.
Here are five new year’s (business) resolutions to help start your 2017 with a bang.
1. Learn to say ‘no’
As a small business owner, you’re often thinking about how to grow your client base, make new partnerships and take every opportunity for revenue that comes your way. But while saying ‘yes’ most often seems like the logical right answer, it’s not necessarily best for your business. When you say yes to a new product or venture, you say no to building your existing ones further. When you say yes to working overtime, you say no to your relationships. It’s a simple pivot, but taking an extra moment to be selective with your decisions can keep you heading towards your long term goals.
2. Trust your instincts with new clients
How often have you looked back on a difficult client or business partnership and thought ‘I had a feeling when I met them’? Although some opportunities check out on paper, there are a range of other cues the numbers don’t show. Trusting your instincts is an age-old advice for a reason – they’re usually right. Your gut feeling is a collection of heuristic shortcuts that draw on your entire experience collectively of being in business. If your gut feels wrong, it’s usually for a good reason. When was the last time you said to yourself ‘I regret going with my gut feeling?’
3. Balance work with health & fitness
Countless studies prove increases in general health and fitness levels have a direct impact on your memory, critical thinking, focus and endurance. Although they’re not business-related, they can dramatically boost your effectiveness and output at work. Consider changing a health or fitness habit with the purpose of driving better results. Start small and see the difference it makes in your business – get to the gym one extra time each week, go for a walk during lunch hours, or hire a trainer to help you plan out a healthier lifestyle.
4. Delegate and outsource
There are so many things to do when you’re running a small business, and it’s far too easy to convince ourselves we have to do all of them. Focus this year on doing what you enjoy and what comes naturally to you, and delegate or outsource the rest, particularly the small stuff. Although it may raise costs on paper, it will stop you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out as much, and free up time to focus on higher-level tasks like new partnerships and long-term planning.
5. Get to know your staff, colleagues and clients
The bottom line is vital for any business to stay profitable, but growth is about much more than that – it’s about culture, relationships and having fun. Business runs on people. Seeking to ask questions and understand everyone within your working world on a more personal level never goes unnoticed, and can often be the 1% that seals the deal that creates that new partnership, attracts that star employee or lands the client that takes your revenue up a notch.
January is a fresh start for your professional as well as your personal life, and a new years business resolution could be the catalyst you need for significant growth in 2017. Studies show that habits stick after 30 days, so choose a resolution above that works for you and keep at it for a month. The results might surprise you.
Clive Barrett is the Executive Chairman of First Class Financial Group, Australia’s largest financial support services franchise providing bookkeeping, finance and tax services.
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