#1 Work Smarter - Learn how to Delegate, or delegate more and increase efficiency.
Time is a non-renewable resource and should be invested wisely. If you're doing tasks you're not good at, you don't like doing or you can pay someone else to do for less than you're worth per hour, then you should be delegating these tasks to others. It's easy to outsource or contract specific tasks out if you cannot afford a full-time employee, this leaves you to focus on the tasks that will have the biggest impact on your year ahead!
#2 Review your plan every week
The new year is a popular time to develop a new plan. What good is that plan if you don't review it on a regular basis. Too many plans end up in a top drawer never to be seen again, the power of a plan is to be able to 'check in' on your progress through the year and make corrections as needed. It's also very rewarding and motivating when you're achieving the goals in your plan.
#3 Get more organised
There is a plethora of technology available to help you be more efficient and make sure you're running at maximum efficiency. Your smartphone is equipped with a calendar, a reminder app and usually some sort of voice to text typing ability just to name a few. You can also download apps galore to help you be more efficient, I personally use the Wunderlist and Productive apps to keep me on track and find them to be extremely helpful in managing tasks, and sharing tasks with others.
#4 Learn something NEW
Now is a great time to increase your knowledge and exercise your brain. Jump onto www.Udemy.com and check out the online courses they have available. It doesn't have to be a business-related skill (of course this would be great) Maybe just learn a new hobby or 'level up' your existing hobby, if it challenges you and teaches you something new then it's got to be good for you!
#5 Give Back
This year plan on supporting a charity or organisation that resonates with you. You can tie it into your business transactions and reward your clients by supporting a charity each time they purchase, check out www.B1G1.com, or make it totally personal and support something that means something to you.
#6 Set Business and Personal Goals
Now is a great time to set some goals! It has been proven that people that set and write down their goals achieve more. Set aside a half day and spend some time working out what you would like to achieve this year. It's a great idea to think about your long term goals too, look forward 5 or 10 years and think about what you would like to have achieved in business and personally, this will help you work out what is important for you to achieve this year.
#7 Set time aside for you
Being in business doesn't mean you don't have time for yourself. I have seen way too many business owners sacrifice 'Me Time' for the sake of the business, when really, all they're doing is working hard and burning themselves out when they could be more productive taking time out to recharge. This year, set aside time to exercise, take mini breaks and spend more time with your family or enjoying your hobbies.
#8 Increase your network
Next time you meet with someone, ask the question 'Who do you know who I could benefit by meeting, and, who would benefit by meeting me?' Have a network of like-minded people is one of the keys to building a great business, and to quote the late great Jim Rohn "You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with". Maybe this year you need some new friends.
#9 Stop blaming outside factors
There are certain things in your control, and several out of your control. You cannot control the economy, the government or the petrol prices, but you can control how you respond to the market moving. If you're not getting the results you want from your business, stop blaming outside factors and start working on yourself!
#10 Move on team that are not fitting in
If you have a team member that is dragging the rest down, has a negative attitude or simply cannot do the job, as hard as it can be, the best thing for them, you, the business and the team is to move them on and look for a new team member.
#11 Recognise team members that are doing a great job
This year, make it a priority to recognise team members that are doing a great job. It's easy to fall into the trap of 'oiling the squeaky wheel' and neglecting team members that just quietly get on with their job with little or no fuss. Put a monthly reminder in your diary to 'catch someone doing something right' and give them a pat on the back. Just a simple Thank You can be enough of a reward.
#12 Only sell profitable products/services
Generating sales is exciting, but useless if you're not profitable. Now is a good time to review the last year and work out what products and/or services are not profitable, and what were profitable. Then you can sell of what makes you money and less of what doesn't.
#13 Only deal with clients you want to work with
Dealing with difficult clients is exhausting and demotivating, and in a lot of cases not profitable. Define who your ideal client is, this will help you decide who you want to continue working with. It's a good idea to grade your customers into A,B,C and D grades, you'll keep working with the A and B grade clients, train the C grade to be B grade and get rid of the D Grade!
#14 Learn how to understand and use financial reports
Eight out of ten businesses fail, usually, because they run out of money! Understanding your financial reports will lead to you making better business decisions. You don't need to be an accountant, as a business owner it's good to be able to read and understand your Profit and Loss statements, create budgets and cash flow forecasts.
#15 Use Social Media
Social media is fast becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools for the modern business. Whether you like it or not, your customers and potential customers are captivated by social media, they're spending a large percentage of their day with their face buried in a smartphone. Using social media will help you build trust and credibility. Having a clear strategy is key to getting great results here.
#16 Start Blogging
Blogging has been around for years, and should be a critical part of your marketing strategy. A blog positions you as the expert and makes it more likely for search engines to move your website to the top of search results. Your potential customers are information hungry and are searching the web for something helpful, a blog way is a great way to provide the help they're looking for.
#17 Read more business books
Reading a book has never been easier with the surge in audio books, and is a great way to use idle driving and travel time more effectively. Quoting Charlie Tremendous Jones "the difference between where you are now, and where you'll be in five years, is the books you read, and the people you meet".
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.