The New Year is right around the corner, which means that in addition to stocking up on champagne for that midnight toast, you’re probably starting to think about how you can better your life and your business in the upcoming 12 months. That’s right, we’re talking about your New Year’s resolutions.
For entrepreneurs, New Years is a great opportunity to take stock of where you are, figure out where you’d like to be and put a plan in motion to help get you there.
But what resolutions should you make if you want to grow your business and hit it out of the park in the new year?
We have some ideas! Here are the top 7 resolutions every entrepreneur should make in 2018:
1. Hire the right help
As an entrepreneur, chances are strong that you’re wearing about 15,000 hats in any given moment. You’re the CEO, lead designer, HR rep, software engineer, marketer, restocker of snacks, unclogger of toilets—you pretty much do anything that needs to get done—a.k.a. #allthethings.
But we have some news for all you entrepreneurial multi taskers out there: trying to do everything means you’re probably not doing anything particularly well. It’s that “jack of all trades, master of none” thing. When you spread yourself too thin over too many areas of your business, none of the areas get the attention or expertise they require to thrive and take your company to the next level.
If you want to succeed in a major way in 2018, your #1 resolution must be to retire your Superman/Superwoman cape and get some help already.
Start by assessing what it is that you do best. Are you an incredible marketer? Brilliant team manager? Or are you bursting at the seams with new product ideas? This sweet pot is your area of genius, and this is the area you want to focus on. If your area of genius is marketing but you’re spending all of your time trying to design your logo or manage customer service, your business just isn’t going to grow. And you might think you’re saving money by going the DIY route, but the truth is, it’s going to cost you more in the long run if you don’t do things right from the get-go. But if you hire other people to manage those areas of your business—people who thrive in those areas—you’ll be free to focus on what you’re great at (and your team can do the same).
Doing everything yourself isn’t something you should wear as a badge of honor. This year, make it a resolution to hire the people you need so you can focus on what you do best. Your business will thank you.
2. Sit less, move more
Being an entrepreneur is a lot of work. And typically, a lot of that work is done sitting at a desk. Before you know it, you might find you’re spending 18 hours a day with your butt glued to the chair (and the other eight horizontal in bed). And guess what? All that sitting is really, really bad for you.
Health experts are calling sitting the new smoking. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to everything from an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, muscular issues, depression, even early death—seriously, it’s bad news.
But you’ve got work to do! You need to sit! Don’t you?
Well, the answer is yes … and no. Do you need to sit during the day? Of course. But do you need to sit as often as you’re sitting? Probably not. So resolution #2 for the New Year? Get creative about ways to get your butt out of the chair.
Instead of meeting with your team in your office, have a walking meeting. Take your team outside, enjoy the fresh air and go over your meeting points during a brisk 20-minute walk. Not only will you benefit from the exercise, but walking has actually been shown to increase creativity, so your meeting will probably be more productive than it would have been if you were all sitting around the conference table.
You can also decrease your sitting time by outfitting your office with a standing desk. Having a standing workstation can keep the negative effects of sitting at bay.
And for the times you do have to sit? Just make sure you’re getting regular movement. Set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes. When it goes off, get up, stretch and walk around for five minutes before you sit back down.
3. Give your branding a boost
Another key resolution that should be on the New Year’s list of every entrepreneur is to revisit your branding.
Times change. Trends change. And if your branding doesn’t feel in line with the times and the trends, it’s going to fall flat with your target audience.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying your branding should change every five minutes and try to incorporate every flash-in-the-pan branding trend that’s splashed across the interwebs. But if you’re still clinging to a logo and brand identity that feels more 1988 than 2018, it’s time to reevaluate.
Look at your logo and other design elements. Are they a representation of who you are today—or who you were when you originally designed them? If your business has evolved, your branding needs to evolve with it.
If you find your branding is stale and in need of an update, do a little research on logo trends, what’s new in the world of branding, and come up with designs that feel true to who you are—and fresh and relevant for the current times. Do you have a major competitor or someone in your industry who’s knocking it out of the park? See what they’re doing, how their design connects with your ideal audience and how you can use that as inspiration to update your own design.
4. Simplify and systematize
One of the keys to running a successful business is being as efficient as possible. And the best way to increase your efficiency and your success is to systematize as much of your business as humanly possible.
Systems can save you an insane amount of time, energy and manpower, so in 2018 make it a resolution to simplify and systematize as many areas of your business as you can.
So, for example, let’s say you’ve been responding to every customer inquiry individually. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Instead, develop a system where you use stock responses to respond to the most common inquiries and tag the ones that need an individualized response. Does it take your team hours to track down the right person to help with their tech support request? Set up a system that allows them to fill out a tech support form that gets automatically routed to the right person.
You can create systems for training, team development, tech requests, customer orders—if it’s a repetitive task in your business, you can likely create a system for it and save yourself a ton of time in the process.
5. Learn something totally new
If you want to be an effective entrepreneur and leader, you need to be able to think outside of the box. And the best way to do that is by expanding your perspective.
When you’re running a business, it’s easy to become stagnant. You’re working on your business, in your industry and not much else. Stepping outside of your normal day-to-day and trying something completely new can help change the way you think and give you new and surprising insights into how to better manage your business.
So step outside of your comfort zone and learn something that has zero to do with your business. Run a copywriting agency? Sign up for violin lessons. Have an apparel company? Learn how to tap dance. Launching a new software? Give cross-stitching a shot. Doing something completely different from the day-to-day of your business will force your brain to think in new and different ways, which could have some major benefits for your business. Studies show that learning something new actually creates new connections in the brain, which can improve cognitive functioning!
6. Read every day
If you look at the habits of the world’s most uber-successful people, from Warren Buffett to Elon Musk to Mark Cuban to Bill Gates, they all have one thing in common: they read. Every. Single. Day.
If you want what the uber-successful have, you need to do what they do—you must become an avid reader.
Carving out time to read every day is one of the best ways to fast track yourself—and your business—to success. Reading books by the world’s best and brightest will flood you with new ideas, new insights and new ways of thinking that you can carry into your business.
If you haven’t been a regular reader since you frequented the Scholastic book fair in elementary school, no worries! Start slow. Even a few minutes a day is better than nothing. You can also use audiobooks if you find it hard to concentrate on the page. The point is, just get reading. Make it a habit. And watch your business transform.
If you need inspiration to get started, check out our article on the top 10 must-read books for entrepreneurs.
7. Your life is more than your business
The last resolution every entrepreneur needs to make in the upcoming year—and arguably the most important—is this: live your life, not just your business.
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get swept away in all the to-do’s of running a business often at the expense of other areas of your life. But, as the old saying goes, “don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
Make time for your family, your friends and your hobbies and passions outside of work. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise and take care of your body. The better care you take care of your life, the more present and involved you can be in your business.
Now, here’s the thing: when you’re busy running a business, time for enjoying life isn’t going to just happen. You’ve got to make it happen. Put family time into your calendar just like you would an important business meeting. Set a time every day where you shut off all electronics and officially disconnect from work. Think about the hobbies you were passionate about pre-business and find a class, group or MeetUp to help you start exploring them again. Pursuing your hobbies will actually make you better and more efficient at your job!
With the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about resolutions. And if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s time to make a commitment to the resolutions on this list.
Happy New Year!