This time of year, most people are focused on improving their wellness, productivity and other aspects of their personal lives. But how much time do entrepreneurs and small business owners spend thinking about resolutions that will help them be better leaders and help their business grow and prosper in the new year?
New year’s resolutions empower us to start the year with purpose, passion and direction toward a better outcome. They give us tangible goals to strive for, so we’re not aimlessly wandering through our days. And if we stick with them, they give us traction, which is especially important when we need a little extra push and motivation to get where we want to be.
This is all true for our personal lives and our lives as leaders. That’s why in my role as a speaker and mentor, fractional COO/CFO and business owner, I advise leaders to continuously set goals and resolutions for their small businesses.
Now that 2023 has arrived, here are some tips for developing some new year’s resolutions that will carry you and your business forward in the most positive way:
When setting goals and resolutions, it’s essential that you make sure they are SMART – that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. This might seem obvious, but I often find that leaders I am coaching set goals that are too broad and can’t be measured, and they also don’t take the time to analyze their current business situation and identify their most pressing issues and needs. Maybe they are stuck in an outdated way of thinking about their business. But the business climate is constantly changing, and we have to change with it. The goals we had a year or two ago might not fit our needs today.
Be honest with yourself when thinking about things like staffing, supply chain, your competition, etc. You’ve likely faced challenges in these and other areas. Be realistic about these challenges – and others that could be on the horizon – to ensure that your goals are achievable. Also be realistic about the timeline. Resist the temptation to rush your growth plan. If you don’t grow at a pace that is realistic for you, you could grow too fast and implode – or, worse yet, not grow at all. Remember that if you are frantically trying to do everything at once, chances are you’re not accomplishing anything because you are lacking focus. So be patient when deciding how to scale your business.
Being specific about your goals or resolutions will help you hold yourself accountable. But it’s also important to be flexible if and when your situation or the business climate changes. A change in your capacity or shifts in the economy, for example, could necessitate a revision of your timeline. Change is to be expected, and the way you deal with it could determine your success or failure.
Don’t take on too much at one time
I recommend making just a few goals at a time, perhaps three to four per quarter. If you overwhelm yourself or your team with too many priorities at once, you could lose your motivation and focus and end up not accomplishing anything at all.
Prioritize time for yourself
Being an entrepreneur or small business owner can be an around-the-clock job that takes its toll on physical and mental health after a while. So as you look at your goals for the new year, be sure to include yourself. In addition to planning ways that you will grow your business, plan ways to decompress and manage stress. This could mean resolving to start each day with meditation, take a daily walk or shut down your computer at a reasonable time each evening. Think about what helps you most and make a commitment to incorporating it into your routine.
In the new year, we’re feeling refreshed and ready for new beginnings. It’s the perfect opportunity to set a new course for your business, or keep your positive momentum going. So be sure to get off to a great start with some SMART new year’s resolutions.
Bill Rossi is an entrepreneur and veteran business leader in the Chicago area, as well as a devoted partner and father of twin girls, an inspirational LGBTQ+ advocate and a passionate proponent of health and fitness.