To be more successful , business owners often look back at all they accomplished in the past year. What did they do well? What strategies and changes did they make that resulted in growth? And what should they consider doing differently in the coming year to reap even bigger rewards?
We asked small business owners what resolutions they’re making in order to build on their past successes, and this is what they told us.
1. Identify goals that affect your bottom line.
Looking back on 2018, Francis Rusnak of Windy City Solutions discovered it’s possible to set goals for external purposes that don’t necessarily move the business forward. He calls these kind of goals, “vanity goals.” These are designed primarily to look good on paper and impress others; however, he says, vanity goals aren’t nearly as important as “production goals,” which have a direct impact on the business’s bottom line.
For 2019, Rusnak resolved to maintain a 20% ROI on each house his company flips, rather than focusing as much on the total number of homes he flips.
2. Create year-long action plans for company goals.
As a business owner, it can be tempting to focus on short-term wins instead of focusing on big-picture goals throughout the year. Paul Davis, CEO of creative agency Paul Davis Solutions, LLC recommends putting consistent effort towards his firm’s annual goals. The key to achieving them he says is developing specific, measurable action plans for how to achieve them. If your goal is generating $1 million in sales, for example, it’s critical that you then determine what you need to do to attract that amount of business. That might mean making 10,000 sales calls over the next 12 months, or 40 sales calls each work day, he says.
In 2019, he resolved to make those big goals a reality by breaking them down into daily action-oriented tasks and tracking them.
3. Base business decisions on data and analytics, not gut-feel.
Many business owners develop a sixth sense about opportunities that may help guide their business. Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of RIZKNOWS, which operates several internet properties, realized, “Sometimes I act ‘impulsively,’ just because I want to move on to the next thing.”
Though money does love speed, Ross has resolved to rely more on data and past performance metrics in order to aid business decisions.
4. Document standard operating procedures.
To be able to hand off tasks to others, it may be helpful to stop and document how certain tasks should be completed. Dustyn Ferguson of coupon and rebate site Dime Will Tellsays that until now, he didn’t feel his company needed to build standard operating procedures (SOPs) in order to get things done.
To grow beyond its current size, Ferguson now sees how documented systems and SOPs will be necessary for the company. “Our New Year’s resolution was to start creating standard operating procedures for the main areas of our business … which should lead to more growth, better organization, and overall better business processes.”
5. Reduce workplace interruptions.
The worst enemy of productivity is interruptions, says Cristian Rennella, CEO of el Mejor Trato. Throughout 2019, he intends to do something about reducing workplace interruptions in the form of needless internal meetings by banning them.
“The objective is to eliminate interruptions at work as much as possible,” he says, explaining that a 30-minute meeting takes up much more than just 30 minutes — there’s the prep time and the time needed to refocus post-meeting, says Rennella.
6. Create efficiencies by delegating.
Jason Lavis of UK-based Out of the Box Innovations Ltd. recognized last year that he was trying to do too much himself. “It’s impossible for my company to grow unless I start to delegate.”
For 2019 Lavis resolved, “To look at every aspect of the business and see if it can be taken care of by someone else. Doing this will free up time for me to win new contracts and plan for growth.”
We’re so far into the new year that yet. As a business owner, you still have time to shift your focus to accomplish your business goals and to help ensure you end 2019 on solid footing. Take some time to set resolutions for your business that inspire you, and then take time to think through your approach on how to make them a reality.