One of the best things about a new year is that it represents a new beginning. It’s a time to think about new year resolutions and make plans for you personally and where you want to take your business. It is also a time to look at the past and learn what worked and what didn’t.
For us here at ezClocker, we use the upcoming new year as a time to reflect on what we’ve done this past year. We plan our one- and three-year roadmaps to achieve our ultimate goal which is to serve our customers.
I’m a believer that every day given to us is a new day where we are presented with an opportunity to achieve our dreams. A new year always has that extra excitement and hope where possibilities are endless.
Reflect and Evaluate on the Past Year
Before creating your new year resolutions start by reflecting about your past year. Think about what worked. Now think about what didn’t work. What should you change or do more of? What should you stop doing? All of these are questions you need to ask yourself as you evaluate your business. Approach it with no blame or regret, just learning and improving.
One of the most important things to do when reflecting back is to think about your customers. What worked for them? Send out a customer survey asking what features or changes they would like to see this upcoming year from your business? Your business growth will come from your customers. It is important to understand their needs, but also where the market is heading.
Also, research new best practices online. For example, if you own a janitorial business, is it time to invest in environmentally friendly products if you haven’t yet? Ask your customers in your surveys if this is important to them.
Know best practices when conducting a customer survey. Once you receive your responses, it is important to make a plan for changes.
If you have a website or an e-commerce business, is it built for the best user experience? Keep in mind that by 2020, user experience will surpass pricing and product as the main differentiator between brands, according to Walker, an Indianapolis-based customer intelligence consulting firm. You can read more about that here.
One major factor in user experience is for it to be mobile friendly. You need to know your customers are changing so you must adopt new tools and experiences accordingly.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” — Colin Powell
Set Goals for the New Year
Over 77% have yet to achieve their vision they set for their company.
Start with your goals, what do you want to achieve this coming year? This could be X number of new customers, increase revenue by Y amount, or be listed as best in class for your local community business listing. Whatever your goals are, write them down. Then, setup a roadmap to achieve them.
Think about what tasks you need to complete to meet your goals and your set date. These are high-level tasks and milestones that we put in a roadmap. It’s best to break down your year into quarters: Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4, and then in every quarter you evaluate your progress.
Ensure you state what you need to accomplish in each quarter to achieve the ultimate goal at the end of the year. This can include creating an editorial calendar for your blog posts. Furthermore, if you are writing a book then it can be the number of chapters needed to be written every quarter to finish the book on a particular date.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” — Mark Twain
Your business won’t grow unless you grow, and great leaders are always learning. They are always improving their skills and thinking about new opportunities. One great new year resolution tip is to write on your calendar what conferences you want to attend this year. What leadership traits do you want to develop?
One of your goals should be to set aside time every week to learn something new. Plan to read a business book once a month or attend a workshop or networking event. Reading business books will not only improve your skills and increase your knowledge, but if you write blog posts regularly for your business then it will help inspire you with new blog post ideas.
Podcasts are another option. Podcasts have become very popular so search for a podcast you find interesting and listen to it while you are at the gym or walking the dog. Inc. magazine has a great article about the 15 best podcasts for entrepreneurs.
Another great new year resolution for self-improvement is exercising. You need to take care of your body so make sure exercise is an appointment you put on your calendar. If it’s not prioritized like the rest of your tasks, it won’t get done.
Research has shown exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and improve the ability to sleep, which in turn can reduce stress.
“Old ways won’t open new doors.” — Unknown
Make Utilizing Good Software a New Year Resolution
Part of your year-end evaluation is to check what tools you and your employees are using. Do they need to be upgraded or replaced? You should try automating manual tasks as much as you can and check that all of your employees are on the same page.
For example, there are productivity tools which can help. There is also software, like a QuickBooks app for your phone, where you can scan your receipts immediately and log the information for taxes. You can also put in any mileage or other information as well.
If you are still using a manual way to track your employees’ hours find a software that will do it for you, like ezClocker. It is a time tracking app for small businesses which keeps customer information and schedules appointments and tasks for your employees. It will also help manage your employee’s timesheets instead of manually tracking their time. They can clock in and out from their phones anywhere and there is a GPS so you can verify their location.
Furthermore, there are many tools you can use that can help you run your business from anywhere.
Need an Affordable Time Clock App for Your Employees? Try out ezClocker for FREE!
If you are not sure what else can be automated in your business, shadow one of your employees for a day and see what they have to do over and over again. Survey your team and get their input. You will be amazed as to how much can be improved or automated with the right tools.
“No one is born a CEO, but no one tells you that. The magazine stories make it sound like Mark Zuckerberg woke up one day and wanted to redefine how the world communicates [by creating] a billion-dollar company. He didn’t.” — Andrew W. “Drew” Houston, founder, and CEO of Dropbox.
Research Best Practices for the New Year
Research new best practices which fit your business model. Also, revisit how you started and what you dreamed your business would be. Are you going down the path you wanted? Or is it better or worse? What can you improve or change?
Nobody can see the future or know what it holds for us personally or our business, but with a new year comes new opportunities and new beginnings. Make sure you’re open to receiving them.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” –Steve Jobs