The end of the year is a good time to reflect on your business's progress over the past year and plan how you want your business to develop. Do you want increased success in the coming year or the chance to enjoy the success you've achieved more? These top 10 New Year's resolutions are designed to help you strike a better work-life balance, so you can achieve a truly satisfying success in the New Year.
1) Learn how to delegate and do more of it.
There are so many things to do when you're running a small business, it's easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we're so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else! Determine Your Personal Return on Investment, and decide to let someone else do some of the tasks for a change. Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance.
2) Promote your business regularly and consistently.
Too often the task of promoting a small business slips to the bottom of the to-do list in the press of urgent tasks. If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. Make a New Year's resolution to hire a marketing expert, or take the time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through. Try some of these Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Business to get started.
3) Make business planning a weekly event.
Planning is vital if you want a healthy, growing business. Business planning lets you take stock of what worked and what didn't work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. So why do it just once a year or once a quarter? Set aside time each week to review, adjust, and look forward - or even better, make business planning a part of each day. Not only will this help you avoid costly mistakes and stay on track, but you'll feel more focused and relaxed.
4) Learn something new.
What you choose to learn may be directly related to your business (as are the four free ecourses I offer on this website) or completely unrelated. Learning something new will add to your skills and add a new dimension of interest to your life - another important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may meet new and interesting people, who may become customers, colleagues, or friends. How will you find the time to learn something new? By delegating, remember?
5) Join a new business organization or networking group.
There's nothing like talking to other business people for sparking new ideas, refining old ones, and making contacts. Whether it's a group specifically designed for networking or an organization dedicated to a particular type of business, in person or over the 'Net, making the effort to be a part of a group will revitalize you and your business.
6) Give something back to your community.
There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Make a New Year's resolution to find a cause that matters to you, and give what you can. Make this the year that you serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in your community that try to make the place you live a better place. And those that give get. As I say in Top 10 Ways to Get Known, nothing will seed and grow goodwill for you and your business better.
7) Put time for you on your calendar.
In Schedule Time for You, I point out how important it is to take the time to recharge and refresh yourself; a healthy work-life balance demands time out. All work and no play is a recipe for mental and physical disaster. So if you have trouble freeing up time to do the things you enjoy, write time regularly into your schedule to "meet with yourself" and stick to that commitment. If you won't invest in yourself, who will?
8) Set realistic goals.
Goal setting is a valuable habit - if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Make a New Year's resolution that the goals you set will be goals that are achievable, rather than unrealistic pipe dreams that are so far out of reach they only lead to frustration. If you have trouble setting realistic goals, see Goal Setting Is the First Step to Achievement for a formula to help.
9) Don't make do; get a new one.
Is there a piece of equipment in your office that's interfering with your success or something that you lack that's making your working life harder? Whether it's an old fax machine that's a pain to use, or the need for a new employee to lighten your work load, make a New Year's resolution to stop putting off getting what you need. The irritation of making do just isn't worth it. You'll find information on both office equipment and business software in the Running Your Office section of this site.
10) Drop what's not working for you and move on.
All products aren't going to be super sellers, all sales methods aren't going to work for everyone, and all suppliers or contractors aren't going to be ideally suited to your business. If a technique or a product or a business relationship isn't working for you, stop using it. Don't invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is like maintaining a good relationship; you have to keep working on it. But if you apply these New Year's resolutions throughout the year, your success is guaranteed!