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Home | 5 New Year’s Resolutions to Make Your Business Great (or Great Again)

The dawn of a new year is traditionally a time for self-reflection on what we need to do to improve our lives.  Many of us focus on goals to make ourselves better physically, mentally, spiritually, and yes – even financially.  For those of you who own a small business, it’s also a great time to apply some mental capital to figuring out ways to improve that business.  In that vein, here are five ideas for New Year’s resolutions that will help you make your small business great (or great again):
1) Get Started! – This resolution has lots of possible applications.  If you don’t have a small business yet, but believe you have the concept, the determination, and the skills to make it on your own – then don’t procrastinate any longer!  Make 2017 the year you at least get on the path to making those dreams a reality.  If you already own a small business, make 2017 the year you take things to the next level.  Develop that idea you have into a profitable product or service.  Find your niche.  Your business will never get off the ground or take that next big leap if you don’t get started doing something you weren’t doing before.
2) Develop a Strategic Plan – My colleague and friend, Mark Kohler wrote about this last week.  In a nutshell, your Strategic Plan is your roadmap for how to get from where you are now to where you want to be.  It’s hard to make just about anything work without a plan.  Read Mark’s article from last week, listen to the podcast, and take the time to establish and adapt your Strategic Plan throughout the year and beyond.  If you do, I can promise you will find that taking your business to the next level will be a much smoother and shorter trip than it would be without it.
3) Get Serious about Limiting Your Liability – You may not be aware of this, but sometimes small businesses and/or their owners get sued!  Maybe it’s a disgruntled ex-employee, or a former partner, or a vendor or a client who thinks you breached a contract.  Regardless of the source of the lawsuit, there are steps you can take to limit both your personal liability and the liability of the business itself.  Speaking generally, these steps may include:
1)   Incorporating your business.
2)   Making sure your business has the correct underlying documents and state filings to maintain the protection you already think you have.
3)   Looking into additional insurance.
4)   Making sure all contracts related to the business are in writing, and that the language accurately reflects the nature of the contractual relationship.
4) Learn Something New – Without a doubt, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running your business, but you should also set aside time to learn new skills or strategies that could make your business an even bigger success.  It may be as simple as learning QuickBooks so you can get your financial house in order. Or maybe it’s learning a new industry skill, such as becoming a licensed realtor, so you can take commissions on some of those real estate deals you come across.  While there are plenty of resources on the internet, you can also attend seminars, workshops or industry training events to pick up your new skill (depending what you learn, you may even be able to get a certification).  When you invest in yourself in this way, you are also investing in your business.
5) Make the Difficult Decisions – Making these decisions is hard, and putting them off may make things easier in the short term.  But, at the end of the day, putting off difficult decisions just makes them harder/ for your business. Is there an employee that’s just not working out? It’s usually best to let them go before the situation gets worse.  Is a new product just not generating the revenue you expected?  It may be the time to revamp it or get rid of it.  A huge part of being a successful business owner or entrepreneur is facing these types of trials as they come and making honest, informed decisions for the long-term health of your business.
Making (and keeping) these resolutions will go a long way to making your business great in 2017!

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