In just a matter of days, we’ll be closing the door on 2022 and welcoming a brand new year - and with that, many of us will set resolutions for 2023. Now, whether we KEEP those resolutions is another matter entirely (an estimated 65% are abandoned in the first month), but it’s important to at least try, right?
Our newsletter last week (aptly called The Weekly, check it out if you haven’t already) touched on four things small business owners should address before the year wraps up. But now it’s time to really double down on number 2 from that list: Plan for next year.
1. Get better at managing your finances: Make a commitment to better understanding and managing your business’s finances. That includes creating (and sticking to) a budget, tracking expenses in a timely manner, and regularly reviewing your financial statements.
2. Prioritize customer service: Resolve to make customer service a top priority in 2023. For starters, it’s just common sense. Treat your customers well, and they’ll return. But beyond that, if someone is unhappy, they aren’t shy about letting the world know, thanks to the power of social media. Nothing can be more crippling to a small business than negative reviews and bad press. In the upcoming year, make sure you have a plan to respond promptly to customer inquiries and complaints and consider seeking ways to exceed customer expectations.
3. Step up your marketing efforts: First things first - do you have a marketing plan? If not, that should definitely be on this year's resolution list. But if you have one - when was the last time you evaluated it? The whole “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” attitude may not be in your best interest. Even if it (seems to be) working for you, it’s worth taking another look at it. There’s always room for improvement. Consider expanding your social media presence, investing in paid advertising, or outsourcing marketing to a third party.
4. Invest in employee development: As a small business owner, you are responsible for the development and growth of your team. Do not overlook this often-overlooked key component of a successful business. Our goal is freedom, right? Freedom to spend our time and money how we wish. If you can’t leave operations for a day, a week, or a month because you don’t have the right employees in place to keep things running in your absence, you’re never going to experience that level of freedom you crave. Make it a resolution to invest in employee training and development and create a positive and supportive work environment.
5. Update your business plan: Now is a great time to review and revise your business plan to reflect any changes in your industry. Inflation, supply chain instability, interest rates, costs of raw materials, etc., should all be taken into consideration.
6. Focus on work-life balance: As a small business owner, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of running your business. Entrepreneur burnout is a real thing, and when you consider the financial pressures, uncertainty, long work hours, and a sense of isolation, it’s no wonder there is a higher risk for mental health issues, including depression. Do whatever it is YOU need to do to achieve a better work-life balance. Find a support system, practice self-care, start exercising, seek therapy, or learn to delegate.
Spending some time setting your resolutions for the upcoming year - especially after the chaotic haze of the holiday season - will help you refocus and reset. And whether it’s any of the six we covered here or some of your own, make sure you write your resolutions down so you can reflect on the progress you made in 12 months' time.