Just as there is room for improvement as an individual, there is the opportunity to improve your business as well. With the New Year approaching, it’s a great time to take a step back and evaluate your business — identifying your strengths and weaknesses — and making resolutions designed to improve your business, along with a plan to reach those goals and make them a reality.
To help you spark some New Year’s resolution ideas, I recently polled a group of entrepreneurs and business owners, asking them what their main resolution was as we approach 2019. This is a long list with plenty of ideas, which should help you come up with a list of your own.
1. Find a test pilot for a new product.
“My new year’s resolution is to find a large campus-based organization — whether a University or company — to pilot our product. We want to show that we can use the community to end sexual harassment and assault, and that by doing so, raise awareness to the every day issues and start to impact the systemic problems.” — Jodi Lasky, Founder of The Pride
2. Create systems and procedures for everything.
“Currently, as a small business, we haven’t had to have systems or procedures in place to do things consistently. But going into 2019, having standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all of the important areas of our business is going to be important so we can grow, expand and hire with consistency.
This will be a big focus in 2019 which will hopefully lead to higher productivity, more output and higher growth. This one is huge for us.” — Dustyn Ferguson of Dime Will Tell
3. Focus on my recruiting strategy.
“When you think about a resolution it’s typically related to getting lean with operations, building a better marketing strategy or growing our revenue, but for the past few years as a startup founder of two companies, I’ve learned that the value of people is what directly contributes to all three of those goals. Hiring great people is required if we want to reach all those goals.” — Sepehr Shoarinejad, CEO of Koridor
4. Improve content creation to organically attract 1,000+ followers on Instagram and Facebook.
“I started a community for women designed to build the knowledge, skills and confidence to make boating, snowmobiling and ATVing more enjoyable. As an online business, I’m publishing content via video, blog and soon podcasting. This requires a strong social media presence, starting with the most popular social platforms. Building the brand from scratch is not easy.
I want to leverage social media to drive more attention to my business, helping to build my membership community, and a building a strong social media following will contribute to that” — Janis Nazarenko, Sweet Velocity Boating & PowerSports
5. Focus on revenue producing activities.
“As an entrepreneur my New Year’s resolution is to focus on more revenue producing activities. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and end up letting the day and the business run you rather than you running the business.
As a company of creatives, it is easy for us to allocate more time to design and creation. In 2019 we will focus on sales and execution in order to create a solid, strong foundation.
By creating more revenue for the business and focusing on higher dollar sales we will in turn have more working capital. This will allow us to bring on more staff, scale, and work on our passion projects. We will also be able to create a better experience for our clients.” — Sydney James, Founder of Stay Polished
6. A combination of goals.
“My New Year’s resolution is a unique blend. I want to read 20 pages per day, every single day, write a personal journal for 15-minutes, every single day and run 1,000 miles in 2019.
By reading 20 pages per day, I should be able to read about 30 books in 2019. Based on my reading list, I’ll learn a lot about entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, fundraising, self-improvement, nutrition, bio-hacking, life wisdom, relationships, meditation and empathy.
By journaling for 15-minutes per day, I’ll be able to document my personal journey in 2019 — business, relationships and self-development. It will help me become more self-aware, be more grateful every day and have a more clear long-term vision for my business and life.
To accomplish my goal of running 1,000 miles in a year, I will have to employ both strategy and determination. I’ve never been much of a runner, and I’m not in the best shape at the moment, so it won’t be easy. My plan is to start of by running 1 mile per day, then increase the daily distance that I run, every month. Aside from the clear physical benefits of running that much in a year, I believe the skills I will develop in regards to consistency and grit will pay off for years to come.
I know that by accomplishing these three goals, I will increase the odds that I have a very successful year. I’ll be committed to these goals that require consistency, no matter how I am feeling, and that will undoubtedly trickle into every other area of my life. I’ll become healthier, more fit, more energetic as the days go on, happier, more grateful, more knowledgeable and more successful.” — Tyrel Johnson, Founder of ShotCrew
7. Focus on authenticity.
“Each year I choose a word to symbolize my intentions for the coming year. For 2019, my word is ‘Authenticity.’ As a writer and coach, it’s important to me to walk-the-walk I am modeling in my writing and teaching. Authenticity was used by the philosopher Descartes who is famous for the cogito: I think; therefore, I am. Authenticity takes this deeper by separating our inner thought and moral authority from our historical circumstances.
In a time of increasing transactionalism in business and politics, I believe it is important for leaders to do more than ‘succeed’ in the world as it is; we must envision and enact a world that reflects our diversity, sustainability and creativity. In 2019, I will do this daily in my writing and teaching of women in the workplace.” Author Cassie Premo Steele
8. Achieve more balance in our lives.
“In 2018, we spent a lot of time running our boat rental business, often doing work that wasn’t the best use of our time, and as a result weren’t able to accomplish some of our marketing goals or devote as much time as needed to our three growing boys. In 2019, we’re working on removing ourselves from day-to-day operations so that we can focus on working on our business, instead of working in it, while allowing us additional time for family. We have hired a manager to help manage employees, and plan to hire a virtual assistant to help with low-level administrative tasks. We hope this will provide us with more balance in our lives.” — Heather Thomas, Destin Vacation Boat Rentals
9. Develop and grow my leadership team.
“My focus this year has been getting the right people on the bus. That metaphor from Jim Collins’ ‘Good to Great’ has always held true — with the right people on the bus, you can achieve anything. Hiring the right people is more important than anything else in business — if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You might have a great vision and a great product or service, but without the right people you’ll never have great results. Overcoming this challenge requires ensuring that you have a solid leadership team comprised of self-motivated individuals who have exceptional ability and share your organization’s core values — and developing those individuals. That is my resolution for 2019. With the right team and efficient coaching, we will be able to scale our industry-dominating business.” — Tim Conkle, CEO of The 20
10. Fire myself.
“I have become the bottleneck in my own publishing company, and my New Year’s resolution is to eliminate this bottleneck by outsourcing or hiring for two positions: an editor and a writer.
To be honest, I no longer get the satisfaction I used to from my main day-to-day position: editing, writing sales copy, or crafting and designing beautiful comparison tables full of product information. Hiring will help me get rid of the tasks I no longer enjoy, and give me time and energy to work on the bigger picture.
My aim for 2019 is to work more on the strategic parts of the business, especially growth of the traffic numbers as well as sales. This is the part of the business I have grown to enjoy much more during the last year and now I want to fully devote my time to it.
I am also a mom to a 3-year-old son, so firing myself from the editor position will give me valuable time to raise my toddler into the same kind or better of an entrepreneurial badass that his mother is.
The second big thing I want to accomplish by buying myself more time is to take one day off each week and focus solely on learning and growing during that day. This could be time spent on anything from taking up photography to meditation to business coaching.” — Cynthia Brown, Founder of Only Top Reviews
11. Help more consumers in my industry.
“When I started my business, I wanted to help car owners find great tires for the best possible price. My goal was to create a company more purpose than just making money. Slowly but surely we’re getting there, but I think we have a long way to go. I hear on a daily basis how car owners think they might have been ripped off, and although many have not been ripped off, the industry still has a long way to go to improve itself.
That’s why my New Year’s resolution is to teach car owners the basics about their car by offering basic car maintenance sessions. These sessions will be free and will teach car owners the basics about their car, so that they can feel more prepared the next time their car has to go in to the garage. I also plan to support these sessions by producing content on our YouTube channel for those who can’t get to the sessions in-person.” — Nicholas Smith, Founder of CompareNewTyres.com
12. Find a way to incorporate giving back into my business.
“Throughout 2018 I’ve been volunteering at a local homeless shelter in my city once a week. It’s been an amazing experience to connect with people who are trying to improve their lives and it’s been a rewarding way to use my time.
In 2019 I’d like to find a way to incorporate giving through my personal finance blog. I hope to write about topics related to giving both time and money to charities and community organizations. I also hope to decide on a cause that I can support financially.
My wife and I donate to causes that are important to us, but I’d like to find a way to tie the concept into my business and my blog. Aside from just writing about it, I’d like to support some causes directly through my business. Since I write about financial topics I think it could be a good fit and a worthwhile project to tackle on the blog.
There isn’t a whole lot written on finance blogs about the importance of giving, but it’s a topic that impacts all of us in some way. I think some additional exposure for the topic of giving would be a good thing. It could challenge me to give more myself, and hopefully will also encourage readers to find a cause worth supporting. Just from private conversations I’ve had with readers, other finance bloggers and finance podcasters, I think this is a topic that people really care about.” — Marc Andre of VitalDollar.com.
13. A complete website overhaul.
“As a comparison shopping website, our entire business model is wrapped up in our UX (user-experience). That means a website overhaul is pretty much upending our entire business.
We certainly hope we’ll succeed — it’s life or death for our company. While business has been great, we know that to continue to thrive we need to evolve, which is why we are pouring a large amount of resources into a site re-design and new messaging.” — Reuben Yonatan, Founder and CEO of GetVOIP
14. Focus on my mental health.
“My number one goal for 2019 is to focus on my mental health. Most entrepreneurs fail to do so and in turn, fail spectacularly in their work. I had many life changing moments in 2018 like graduating from University, starting my business and publishing my book. While those were all great achievements, I have never felt this anxious before. As the year is coming to an end, I have introspected and reflected on my personal health and wellbeing and identified my mental health to have received very little attention.
This is why, in 2019, I am committed to making it my priority. I have already started living out some of those goals like meditating every day and going to bed early but I have broken my 2019 mental health goal into several smaller goals. I am committed to creating a strong morning routine which will include meditation, some form of exercise, and reading. During the day, I will not access social media for more than an hour in total — including for work purposes. I will add one thing I absolutely love doing to my schedule, every day and I will ensure that I take short breaks from work to just close my eyes and reflect on the most important elements of my life. I will also try to schedule quality time with my close circle at least once a week. And finally, I will practice gratitude exercises several times a day.” — Juhi Kore
15. Devote more of my time to product innovation.
“We are looking to continue to refine some of the systems we have built to take me out of the day-to-day running of the business so I can spend more time in 2019 on product innovation.
Myself and my partner own and operate a content marketing agency that is fueled exclusively by podcasting — our clients drop a couple hours of audio into google drive and their entire marketing efforts are taken care of.
We have some big goals for next year, primarily the impact we make for the businesses we work with, but we are also focused engineering the quality of life for ourselves that our service provides for our clients.” — Jack Butcher of OPPONENT
16. Be more focused and think more clearly.
“This coming year I want to be all about focus and clarity. I want to clear the clutter and just really look at what is important in the moment. This includes being more present for my friends and family and working ‘set hours’ even though I am an entrepreneur, which I think is very important. I will achieve this by using my new planner I designed for myself combined with being more strict saying ‘No’ more often.” — Brittany Hardy, Owner of Empty Desk Solutions
17. Make a positive impact in our community.
“We are going to start donating 10 percent of our income and provide our team a monthly paid volunteer day. We will be taking these volunteer days off as a group and we will be rotating through our team and letting each member pick what cause we are donating our time and money to for the month. This helps our team feel like we are serving a purpose beyond just buying houses and going to work. Our efforts will directly tie into our community and we will be able to spend more time together while learning more about what truly matters to people around us. We believe in investing in our team and this is how we are going to this year.” — Shawn Breyer, Owner of Breyer Home Buyers
18. Find new creative ways to multitask that incorporates work and exercise.
“I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 year ago so if I do not feel good I am not going to be at my peak performance level for my team or my clients. These days, with technology and social media we are always on 24/7. All work and no play is just not a sustainable option. To be more productive this coming year I will try to find new creative ways to multitask that incorporates work and exercise.
When I worked at large companies they had gyms at the office or groups who walked at lunch but when you are an entrepreneur you have to get creative to find balance. I will begin taking myself as seriously as I take my most important clients, because if I am not at my peak performance I am not going to be useful to anyone else either.
I will set aside regular time to recharge my batteries and take better care of myself so that mentally and physically I will be sharp and in the best health possible to set myself up for success. Even if you do not have time for a big vacation, sometimes a long weekend away, a walk outside in fresh air mid day or a trip to the museum or local gallery can be a nice break to hit the refresh button and avoid burnout in a pinch.” — Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls
19. Build a community around my brand.
“My number one goal this year is to build community around my brand. My business is about helping moms find ways to work from home. I’m focusing on building relationships with my audience so that I can help them solve their problem of finding a work life balance. I think this kind of authentic marketing will be beneficial for my readers and ultimately grow my business.” — Ashleigh Allman of Smart Cents Mom
20. Be more accountable.
“My number one New Year’s resolution is accountability. I own a multi-million-dollar company, yet I am often late to company meetings, etc., and I tend to put things on my many, many lists, and save them for later, rather than starting them right away. A lot of the items are quick items that are faster to do right away instead of putting them on a list and carrying them forward onto other lists — and even more lists.
I just completed the Goldman Sachs 10K Business Program, and my top takeaway from the program was accountability. Ever since that program, I have been making sure that I am no longer putting things off, and I plan on focusing on this into the New Year.” — Georgette Blau of On Location Tours
21. Build a cohesive leadership team.
“One of the key lessons I have learned this year is how important having a true leadership team is, as opposed to managers who work for you. For me, if our company has leaders who all have clarity of our top priorities and can solve real problems that will make the biggest difference in moving our business forward. To do this we need to be a team and work together. Not just come to meetings, but trust that the other leaders have their back and are there to help.” — Tom Malesic of EZSolution
22. Invest in more talent.
“It’s great having a small, close-knit, hard-working team to work with. With small teams, there is more pressure on individuals to deliver results, so you can be sure that everyone is pulling their weight. In the long run, however, if you want your business to grow extensively, you need to invest in greater manpower.
My New Year’s resolution is to hunt high and low, near and far, for outstanding additions to my team. Our team has enjoyed great success so far and everyone gels together really well, so it’s important that any new recruits fit seamlessly into the family. Our business is constantly growing, so recruitment is soon in the cards.
New hires need to have the right set of technical and social skills to make their mark here, so I am vowing to settle on the right candidate only after I am 100 percent convinced they are right for the role. No matter how much we need a recruit, I care too much about producing great work and making sure my current staff is satisfied to bring just anyone on board.
To run a successful business, enjoying what you do is absolutely essential and your colleagues contribute massively to this. By sticking to this New Year’s resolution, I’ll feel confident that our work can proceed smoothly. There will be no animosity within the workspace, there will be free-flowing collaboration and everyone will be able to derive value from their role. This is one New Year’s resolution that I believe I can definitely keep.” — Will Craig, Managing Director of LeaseFetcher
23. Take more time each day to meet and connect with our members.
“Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, and while I do have the opportunity to meet with my membership regularly, most of my days are monopolized with organization operations and fundraising. Entrepreneurs are a unique breed, they motivate differently, ideate in grandiose ways and possess an irrepressible spirit driving them to succeed. The most incredible part of my job is to engage with the students that have chosen to stop dreaming and start doing. These entrepreneurs not only push themselves in the classroom but also develop ventures, business models and customer segments during their available free time. By devoting more time to meeting our students, I believe I can make additional connections to investors or new customers, mentors and business partners. At CEO we seek to inform, support and inspire college students to be more entrepreneurial via new venture creation. We do so by creating student led entrepreneurial ecosystems on university/college campuses. It’s one thing to launch a business while you’re in college; it’s another task entirely to encourage hundreds of other students to launch businesses. Our chapter Presidents are some of the brightest minds I’ve ever met and working with them to advance our network and reach is the most rewarding experience anybody could ask for.” — James Zebrowski, Managing Director of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO)
24. Become the best leader I can be.
“My number one resolution this year is to become the best business leader I can be. And to do that, I have to become better at balancing my mental, physical and spiritual health along with my professional life. I need to generate as much positive energy as possible and then take it to work to really be on my A game.” — Amy Osmond Cook, VP of Marketing at Simplus.
25. Bring in more clients.
“My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to move away from working heavily in agency white-labeling and actually going out to get more clients of our own. We really love what we do and are extremely blessed that we get to work with such great agencies, but there are times where we don’t see eye to eye on things which can get frustrating. I would love for us to be in the driver seat more and if we’re able to transition the agencies out for our own clients, it would mean a great deal to me as it would help validate that we are great at what we do.” — Ameet Khabra of Ameet Khabra Marketing Inc