As we welcome the New Year, it is important to take some time to revisit your business progress and make plans on how you want it to grow. Now is a perfect time to reflect on the successes and failures of your professional and personal life this past year. Have you considered what changes you want to implement for the coming year? Here are 7 top resolutions to jump start your New Year!
Resolution 1: Get Out of Debt
Easy to say, difficult to do! According to some experts, Americans charge over one trillion dollars per year using Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. For many, money is a big source of stress; and it doesn’t help that we’ve had to deal with economic issues over the past few years. This coming year, make it a priority to resolve your money woes.
One of the benefits of joining National Association Women on the Rise (NAWR) is to take advantage of our Women, Money and Power series. Led by Tamara Haskins, CEO and Founder of Haskins Wealth Management Group, Inc., says, “We are educators who believe in providing our members with the information and resources that empower them to make smart financial decisions.” Haskins, with over 20 years of experience in accounting and financial planning, will, will help members of NAWR take control of their own financial destiny! She will provide monthly webinars and oversee the member’s forum.
Resolution 2: Give back
Have you ever considered the impact you would make on the lives of others by sharing your time and talent? Volunteering or mentoring is such a non-selfish way to give back! There are many ways you can reach out; find a non-profit organizations in your area that you feel compelled to work with and volunteer; help your local library or hospital; or mentor youths or adults.
Over the past few years, I’ve had many women reach out to me about mentoring. As much as I would like to help everyone, it is not possible. So, in 2011, NAWR will launch its mentoring program, “One-Mentor-One” a program that will match successful women entrepreneurs and executives with mentees.
Resolution 3: Understand your finances
This is extremely important for the health of your business. As a new or growing business, you need to be diligent about your finances. The NUMBER ONE reason that businesses fail is due to lack of control over finances.
Some experts suggest reviewing your profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow reports on a monthly basis. To manage this, there is accounting software such as QuickBooks specifically for small businesses. Also, hiring a CPA or bookkeeper can be a wise investment.
Resolution 4: Learn how to delegate
As your business grows, so should your ‘tight grip’ on controlling every aspect of your business. The worst thing that you can do is become a slave to your business. This attitude can cripple you! I know this first hand; as a former owner of a building maintenance company; I was president, HR generalist, payroll specialist, trainer, janitor, sales woman and more! It took me a while to realize that not only could I not effectively wear every hat, but in order to grow and regain my sanity, I had to trust others. It is important that you delegate non-core business tasks to your staff or consider outsourcing. Play on the strengths of others. The lack of delegation will stifle your growth, or worse, cause you to run your business and yourself into a pit fall.
Resolution 5: Make more time with family & friends
One of the reasons we go into business is the idea of being flexible with our time. So, the idea of having time for family and friends seems like it should be a no-brainer, right? According to recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.
You have control over your time, so make sure that you balance work and life to be able to spend it with those that are important to you.
Revolution 6: Network religiously
One of the most successful ways to promote your business is through networking. You are in business to grow, so make networking a key part of your marketing strategy so that you position yourself to connect with the right people.
Networking is a lifestyle in which you need to incorporate onto your “To Do” list. By networking, you are developing your social skills by engaging or interacting in an informal gathering to communicate with others for mutual assistance or support. By acquainting yourself with other business owners or executives, you are building meaningful relationships. There are many organizations that you can become involved in such as the Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI) or a professional organization related to your industry.
NAWR recognizes the importance of creating a platform for women to network. We’ve built a great virtual community for women to network, collaborate and build lasting relationships.
Katrina Harrell, President of KM Harrell Group, LLC, says, “Since discovering NAWR, I’ve been increasingly impressed with the quality of content, caliber of women entrepreneurs and professionals and the commitment to excellence Sylvia and NAWR have consistently presented. I personally am a part of several wonderful online women business networks, but often find myself coming to NAWR when I’m in need of a little “push” and some thought provoking insight from seasoned entrepreneurs. I have met many wonderful women entrepreneurs on this network that further challenge me and inspire me to reach higher.”
Revolution 7: Get organized
It is essential that you start your day with a ‘to do’ list. It doesn’t matter if your business is small or if you run a large corporation, having a daily plan will keep you on track in effectively running it. Start your day by scheduling uninterrupted time to plan and create your list of tasks for that day, and rank your list in order of priority. For example, if you have 10 tasks on your list, of those, how many do you need to complete? Can you save the least important tasks for another time?
Please note: If you don’t accomplish all the tasks from your ‘to do’ list, it doesn’t mean you are having problems managing your time. It simply means that you only have limited time per day to get everything done and you may be trying to accomplish more tasks than you have time in the day.
To manage and prioritize my time, I rely on Microsoft Outlook’s calendar and task manager to plan my personal and business schedule. I then sync Microsoft Outlook to my Black Berry PDA. This helps me to stay on task and set priorities for my daily activities. Find what works for you and make it a daily habit to have a productive and organized day!
Last but not least…
If it’s not working, drop it quickly
Don’t waste your time or invest any unnecessary energy nursing something that isn’t working for your business. Time = Money and in our current economic crisis, both are a very precious commodity that a small business can’t afford to gamble with. Move on and don’t look back!
By incorporating these simple yet effective strategies into your plan, you can position your business for significant growth. Here’s looking at a great 2011!