How to make business New Year’s resolutions and stick to them
In January, the Aubia Communications Blog will focus on beginnings. After this post about getting your business off on the right foot, I’ll discuss re-evaluating your daily business tasks, what moving has taught me about Public Relations, and what to look for when starting a relationship with a PR consultant.
Another year has come and gone, and now we all turn our attention to the New Year. The past year, personally, has been very eventful. I left my government job and began my freelance career with Aubia Communications, started classes at Syracuse University for my master’s degree, rented our house, made my first international move to Brazil, and released a travel blog. In 2013, I’ll be developing a white paper about Strategic Communications Planning; concentrating on building my client list by focusing on my public/audience of soloprenuers; constructing an improved billing system; creating new content (hopefully in video); continuing my master’s classes; and working with my husband on improving our travel blog as we move to Switzerland and somewhere in Asia.
New Year’s is always a good time to look at where your business has been and where it’s going. With a fresh start, you can improve on the practices you’ve started, drop the tactics that aren’t providing any ROI, and start the activities you’ve been planning.
How to get started
1. Assess how 2012 went
When you evaluate the last year, what went well? What didn’t? Did you implement a new business method, like creating a social media presence, that brought in new customers? Did you create a new billing system that has only created client complaints? Determine what changes you made in the last year that helped your business and concentrate on ways to continually improve those areas. Review areas where you are receiving the most complaints or least amount of ROI. What would happen if you stopped these practices? Would anyone notice? Would your customers appreciate it? Drop the deadweight.
2. Ask your public/audience
After your internal assessment, it’s time to look externally. Review comments and suggestions from your clients and customers during the past year. Is there a repeating theme? Focus on what you can do to meet expectations. The New Year is a great time to survey your publics/audiences about their expectations from you in 2013.
3. Try something new
Maybe you’ve been mulling over the idea to host a special event. Now is the time to set your thoughts into a plan of action. Research your plan, make sure it ties into your business objectives, and take the leap. This is also a good time to take a look around and see what your competition has been up to; what can you learn from their success and failures.
Stick to it
Unlike that home gym you bought last year and used twice, your business resolutions have to stick for growth and improvement. Once you’ve figured out what’s working, what needs to go, and breathed some fresh air into your business, don’t let your good practices slip away.
First, thoroughly explain what new activities you’ve implemented and how they work. Many times people are just afraid of the unknown. If you make sure everyone involved has a clear understanding, the more likely your resolutions will hold out through the year. Second, hold yourself accountable for these new activities by stating them out loud or publishing them somewhere for all to see. That’s what I did earlier in this post by listing out my New Year’s resolutions for Aubia Communications. Provide forums for open discussions about the new practices, and be available to answer any and all questions. Third, measure your results on a consistent basis and make them easy for everyone to see. You are more likely to make an activity into a habit if positive outcomes can be continually monitored. Finally, reward yourself for accomplishments and learn from your failures. With positive thinking and not completely beating yourself up over setbacks, you can stay on track to accomplishing and sticking to your resolutions.
What are your business resolutions for the New Year?