I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
We all set goals for the new year to be a better version of ourselves, and this includes New Year Resolutions for small business owners.
I have been self-employed for over 30 years, and during that time I’ve set a lot of different goals for my businesses in the coming year. However, below are the five business New Year’s Resolutions that had the biggest impact on my business’ success.
The Top New Years Business Resolutions for 2023
#1 – Gratitude For Customers
You’re going to hear about making gratitude a New Years’ Resolution a number of times in this article because when I when have made gratitude a priority, my life has always got better. I believe with all my heart that living with gratitude front and center in your life changes every relationship and interaction for the better.
Without your customers you have no business, but do they know how grateful you are for their trust, friendship, and ultimately, their business? If they don’t, you are missing an opportunity to deepen those relationships with your existing customers and perhaps earn more business.
Your first goal for the coming year should be that every interaction with a customer includes a clear and sincere expression of gratitude for them and their choice to trust you and your business as part of their lives.
Your second goal for the coming year should be to not let 2023 end without a physical expression of gratitude for your best customers. This expression of gratitude can be as simple as a Christmas card with a message of gratitude.
Better yet, it can be a right-sized gift, and the size is dependent on how much money they have spent with you in the previous year. Maybe it’s just a box of homemade holiday cookies.
#2 – Gratitude For Employees
Now before you dismiss this idea just because you are one of the 80% of American small businesses that have no employees, I want you to stop and rethink.
Even those of us with no employees have a support network and for the purpose of this list of New Year’s business goals, we should consider everyone in that network to be employees. If a person makes running your business easier, they are an employee in this exercise.
For example, could you do this without your family’s support? Do you have a mentor whose wisdom has guided your success? A handful of freelancers who take tedious tasks off your plate so you can focus on the big stuff?
If you do, then you have employees and one of your goals for the upcoming year should be to not only express your gratitude to each and every one of them but to internalize that gratitude so treating each and every one of these valuable people with respect and kindness becomes not just a part of who you are but a part of your business’ culture.
Of course, if you have actual employees, the same should ring true.
It’s often said that we should avoid cliches, but I personally believe that while we should avoid cliches in our words, we should carefully examine them in our thoughts. Most cliches are born out of the fact that they are often true.
It’s a cliche because it’s often true.
Recognize your employee’s value to your success. Express your gratitude in words and deeds so the decision to take a ‘better’ job is never easy.
#3 – Manage Your Margins
I’ve seen many ‘successful’ businesses fail because as cash flow grew controlling expenses was no longer a priority.
Let’s consider another cliche.
It’s a cliche because it’s often true.
One of your small business goals for the New Year should be to make managing your margins a priority.
Now, please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not suggesting that you arm yourself with a hatchet and go looking for employees or even business tools to do away with.
What I am suggesting is that when you look at your profit and loss statement at the end of each month (you are doing that right?), you don’t just look at the profit, but at the margin. If you find that your margin is shrinking even while your profit is growing, then you know that your business is becoming lazy and is wasting money that should be profit.
Finally, I am suggesting that you set a business goal for the next year to revisit all reoccurring expenses with three things in mind:
- Is this expense still necessary?
- Can the cost be renegotiated based on increased volume or just the length of the relationship?
- Is there a better option either in quality or cost?
#4 – Prioritize Health
One of the primary goals of most people’s business efforts is to take care of those we love.
To put it bluntly: If you die early, you have failed in that goal of taking care of those you love.
Like most people, my gym time went away when I had a family. It just wasn’t a priority anymore because my priority had become my family.
But then I came to a realization.
I prioritize my health not for me, but for my family.
If you work for your family, then I beg you to also work out (and eat better) for your family.
If you don’t know where to start, then I suggest you look into the Fit Father Project or Fit Mother Project. Both are communities of busy men and women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who are making health a priority.
Besides, in your heart, you know that your business would do better if you had more energy and if you were healthier you would have more energy.
#5 – Set A Goal To Keep Learning
Once you find a little business success, it’s easy to go on cruise control and just keep doing what you’ve found to work. However, that’s not how you grow a business.
Even if your goal isn’t to grow your business, making improvements to your business can make it easier to run, increase your profit, or perhaps reduce your workload.
Fortunately, we live in a world where continued learning for business owners is easy.
On the free side of things, YouTube is an endless and searchable library of learning resources and there are high-quality podcasts covering every conceivable business topic.
Even some of the best universities in the world offer free courses. Here are just a few:
Or if you want to invest in more formalized business education those resources are available at your kitchen table too.
- Harvard Business School – Strategic 6-Week Course
- Cornell Business Strategy Course
- Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
- An Entire MBA in 1 Course: Award-Winning Business School Professor
- Business Model Innovation: Differentiate & Grow Your Company
Regardless of how formalized your business continued education is, make a New Years’ resolution to make that education a priority in the coming year.
Use your time when driving, working out, walking, or even in the morning shower to learn.
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