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by on Jan 01, 2017

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your small business and make a detailed plan for success in the months ahead. Here are a few common small business resolutions that can help take your business to the next level this year:

Set Concrete Goals

You might be thinking: “Wait, my goal should be to set goals?” Yes, but don’t just set goals, set better goals. A lot of new year’s goals and resolutions tend to be foggy and vague. For instance, if your goal is to simply make more money this year, you might have trouble accomplishing it, because ‘make more money’ doesn’t necessarily come with any specific guidelines or checkpoints. And since making more money tends to the goal with any business, how do you know when you’ve completed it?

A better idea is to set concrete, realistic and detailed goals for the year ahead. For example: I want to make __ amount of money by __ month, and then reinvest __ amount into marketing, and use the rest to recruit/hire a new employee, or grow my customer base, etc. The more specific you get, the more you set yourself up for real success, because you’ll be in a better position to accurately measure your progress and hold yourself accountable.

Update Your Online Presence

Whether it’s an old website in need of a refresh, or a social media page that’s covered in cobwebs, giving your online identity a facelift can be a great way to start fresh in the new year. A few things to think about:

  • User Experience – Is your website easy to use? Does it look fresh and modern? Take a look around the web and find some sites that you like, and that you think fit the general tone of your business, and try to use them as a guideline for your refresh.
  • Logos – If you have a logo or typeface, take another look at it. If it looks out of date, maybe it’s time for a redesign.
  • Branding – Logos can be an aspect of branding, but you don’t necessarily need a logo to successfully brand your business. Even if you just use your name and a photo to represent your business, it’s important that it’s clean, professional and consistent. That means using a professional (or at least high-quality) photograph, and using the same name and photo across all platforms from web, to facebook, to twitter, etc. This helps create consistency and repetition – two crucial aspects of turning your business into a brand.
  • Mobile – Mobile is king. So if your site is not optimized for mobile users, this should become a top priority.
Book a Vacataion

Don’t just plan on taking a vacation. Take the time now to actually book your vacation. One of the keys to running a successful small business is creating work/life balance. Sometimes the best thing for a business owner is to step away for a short time, unplug (meaning no work calls or email) and come back with a fresh outlook.

It can be tough for business owners to find the time to travel and enjoy life. That’s why actually booking the vacation is important. If you just say “I want to take a vacation this summer,” it probably won’t happen. So just book it. If you feel like your business isn’t ready to keep running while you’re away. Use your vacation as a deadline to implement the appropriate systems, automation and procedures to keep it going without you. Not only will this give you the chance to take a vacation, but you’ll also come back to a smoother, more self-sufficient business.

Check Your Safety Net

If the worst were to happen, would you be ok? From floods and fires, to auto accidents, work injuries and illnesses, there are countless unforeseen obstacles that can seriously derail, and in some cases completely destroy, a small business. Take the time now to check up on your insurance coverage. If you don’t have robust life, home, disability and business insurance, or if your old policy has not kept up with your growth, it’s time to look into your options. The last thing you want is for some freak accident to pull your business out from under you.

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