Walk 10,000 steps each day. Read a new book each month. Learn how to play the flugelhorn.
The sky’s the limit when creating your list of New Year's resolutions.
But while you ponder the merits of your next personal goal, there’s another area of your life that could benefit from a little introspection at the year’s end: your business.
As a small business owner, you invest a lot of time and effort into running and growing your business. That means the idea of adding one more thing to your list of year-end to-do’s or strategic planning could seem daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a list of small, achievable goals you can resolve to accomplish in the new year to improve your business ‒ and your well-being as a business owner.
7 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners
1. Keep Better Track of Expenses
How closely did you manage your cash flow in the last year? Keeping a sharper eye on your expenses will not only help you know how much money is going out ‒ it will help you reach your financial goals. It also can provide some extra deductions come tax time. (For specific advice about your individual tax situation, always consult a tax professional.) To kick-start your efforts, check out 6 Tips to Track Your Small Business Expenses.
2. Seek Out Networking Opportunities
Any introvert reading this probably just cringed. But experienced professionals know the value of networking. Look online to see what events may already be scheduled in your area. Some organizations even sponsor virtual events if travel or scheduling are a challenge. Use networking as an opportunity to find a business mentor. This person can share their wisdom and experience to help you make better decisions as you navigate the ups and downs of being a small business owner.
Related: 5 Books Every Business Owner Needs to Read
3. Make Time for Self-Care
As a business owner, it may feel like you don’t have a minute of extra time to take care of yourself because you’re so busy taking care of others. Make it a goal to shift that mindset in the new year.
The Harvard Business Review article “Serious” Leaders Need Self-Care, Too recommends that leaders practice the following when it comes to self-care:
- Individualize your approach. Self-care is not one size fits all. What works for one person may not work for you. Find out what activities recharge you.
- Make it “micro.” Self-care doesn’t need to be an hours-long endeavor. It can be five meaningful minutes spent doing something like meditating, journaling or taking a walk.
- Add it to your calendar. When you include self-care in your daily agenda, it helps to put your plan into action.
- Test it out. Nothing is set in stone with your approach to self-care. Once you’ve practiced your routine for a bit, you can make tweaks (or overhaul it entirely) to get into a rhythm.
- Set an example and share it with your team. Your employees look up to you as a leader. Let them know that self-care is important, and set the tone for it at your business.
4. Be a Better Manager of Your Time
As a small business owner, you’re pulled in a million different directions. But if your to-do’s seem to continually fall by the wayside, make a resolution to find new ways to manage your time in the new year.
Amazon Business recommends that small business owners try the following:
- Find a new prioritization method ‒ and start using it. Learn more about time management practices like the ABC Method, the Pareto Principle (you also may know it as 80/20 rule) and the POESC Method. They’re all ways of structuring and prioritizing where you spend your time. Test a few out and find a method that fits you.
- Delegate. Even if you consider yourself a jack-of-all-trades, you can’t physically do everything. Delegate those things that could easily be handed off to someone else, like administrative tasks or marketing.
- Reduce distractions to be more productive. Dividing your calendar into blocks of time, also known as time blocking, can help you downplay distractions and interruptions like email pop-ups, social media notifications and more. Consider scheduling three separate time blocks ‒ one in the morning, one around lunchtime and one in the afternoon ‒ to read and respond to emails or other messages. You also can set aside small chunks of time for breaks.
5. Get an Insurance Checkup
Think of it like your business’ annual physical. A lot can change in a year. If you don’t have adequate protection from a business insurance policy, an accident of any kind could be detrimental to the health and well-being of the business you’ve worked so hard to build. So schedule a meeting with your agent to review your policy. Together, you can make sure you have the proper coverage that fits your company’s needs and covers any risks associated with your operations. Find out more about Why You Shouldn’t Cut Corners on Business Insurance.
6. Start Thinking About Succession Planning
Sure, it may not seem like one of the most exciting topics. But a well-crafted succession plan helps ensure you have the right talent, people and roles in your organization. So, when the time comes for the next generation of leaders to step in, the transition will be as seamless as possible. That’s peace of mind that any business owner could use! Get started with 8 Things to Consider When Building Your Business Succession Plan.
7. Try Something New
Resolve to try something that isn’t “business as usual” for the new year. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try a customer loyalty program. Or, if your business has grown, why not explore what it would take to expand and open a second location? Take a look at your business plan for the year, along with your budget, and see what’s in the realm of possibility. Get your team involved, and get creative!
A Better Year Starts Here
Your business is your life’s work. At Erie Insurance, we’re here to safeguard your business with personalized advice, superb coverage and unrivaled service. In turn, you gain insurance that reflects your business priorities ‒ and your budget. Talk to your local ERIE agent today to learn more and get your free quote.