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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 11, 2021 • Issue 21:01:01

Nine New Year's resolutions for small business success

By Chad Otar
Lending Valley

A new year can breathe new life into your business—if you plan for it. Here are nine resolutions to get you started:

  1. I will outsource whenever I can. While it can cost money to outsource tasks, many small business owners fall into the trap of thinking that if they do everything themselves, they will save money. This is not true. Your time is best spent doing what you are the expert at, which is usually the crux of your business. Stay in your lane. Do what you do best; outsource anything else you can.
  2. I will dedicate daily undistracted time. When you are your own boss it's easy to waste hours doing tasks that don't make money or progress your business. Even worse, some distractions aren't even business-related. Set clear boundaries for periods of focused action—no distractions.
  3. I will drop whatever isn't working. Just because you put time and effort into something doesn't mean you have to trudge along with if it's clearly not working. Don't be afraid to drop what isn't working. Be ruthless, but ensure you aren't giving up too early on a good idea.
  4. I will hold weekly progress meetings. Even if you are the only one in the meeting, this is vital—actually, especially if it is only you or a very small team. Don't waste meeting time. Go over the numbers and goals. Use them to motivate you for the following week. It's too easy to lose track of how you're really doing if you never set time to look into it.
  5. I will not be a victim. Yes, 2020 was a difficult time for almost everyone. But don't fall into victim mode, because this will doom your business. You'll have moments when you need to let out frustration, which is normal. However, let it out and move on. You're a clever small business owner, not a victim. You can adapt to changes and realign your business in fresh ways.
  6. I will remember that comparison steals joy. It's fine to look up to others who have had great success. Yet it's so easy to then become disheartened. Don't become lost in comparison when doing so is totally unfair on you and your unique business path. Promise that in the new year you will release the compulsion to compare your business to others.
  7. I will refinance any debts. When was the last time you looked at the interest rates you are paying? Do you know what they are? If you have business debt (or even personal debt), the new year can be the time you get things in order. Finance rates have improved. You could save thousands of dollars by refinancing. It normally takes only a small amount of research and time; there are no good excuses for not shopping around.
  8. I will make marketing the first priority. Many small business owners unconsciously avoid marketing. Perhaps it feels too "sales-y" to market what they've got, or maybe they have no idea where to start. However, if you want your business to be profitable, your customers need to know you exist. Make a dedicated commitment with set times to take action.
  9. I will upgrade my online systems. Technology changes quickly. Nothing is more off-putting than researching a business only to find their website is outdated and they haven't posted on social media for months. This inattention drives potential customers away. Commit to reviewing content on all your online spaces to make sure it's current and relevant. Also, consider whether the programs you're using are the best fit. Don't be afraid to switch if it creates greater ease for your business long term.

Note: I referred to the following in researching this article: www.forbes.com/sites/rohitarora/2019/12/21/small-business-new-years-resolutions-for-2020/?sh=6e55172f127a ; www.thebalancesmb.com/top-new-year-s-resolutions-for-business-success-2947126 ; and www.lendingvalley.com. To reach Chad, send an email to chad@lendingvalley.com.

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