A new year brings a fresh start, both on a personal level and for your small business. It’s a great time to refocus, recommit, and set challenging goals for yourself. However, we aren’t talking about losing weight, quitting smoking, or reading 24 books this year–all great goals, by the way! Here are five tips on setting killer new year’s resolutions for your small business that will actually make a positive difference:
- Involve your employees in the goal setting and planning. As a small business owner, you’ll ultimately get the final say on what it is you want to improve upon this year. However, involving people who have a vested interest in what’s going on at your company can prove to be extremely effective. Your team offers fresh opinions, new perspectives, and a different outlook on what’s working and what’s not for your small business. By involving your employees, you’re driving employee engagement and asking them to think like a business owner. Involving employees in setting new year’s resolutions improves commitment, involvement, and overall small business success.
- Keep your goals front and center. It’s easy to have an employee meeting on January second, map out some goals for the year, and stash them in a desk never to be seen again. The key to successful small business new year’s resolutions is to keep them at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Remind yourself and employees what your resolutions are often by printing them out and hanging them on a bulletin board, providing a handout to all employees to hang near their desk, sending out quarterly emails to “check up” on how the goals are coming, and discussing them in meetings. This is easy to do for the first few months of the year, but can easily get lost in the shuffle in April or May. Make sure your small business new year’s resolutions are front and center all year long by writing it in your planner now to remind employees at least quarterly about the goals you set together.
- Set individual goals, as well as small business goals. By setting personal new year’s resolutions –like losing weight, taking a vacation, or saving $1,000– you’re already in the mindset of achieving goals. Make sure one of your personal new year’s resolutions is somehow connected to your business, but not all. A few ideas for personal goals related to your small business are: learn more about your industry by taking a class, show gratitude for one of your employees each week or month by ____, or learning to do one part of each employee’s job that you didn’t know how to do by the end of the year.
- Give each employee a job, and then hold them accountable. Along with setting goals for yourself, ask your employees to set goals for themselves pertaining to their jobs. You can give them individual or team guidelines on what you’d like to see incorporated in their goals, or give them free reign on setting their own. Collect a copy of each employee’s goals and store them to refer to when it comes time for performance evaluations. If you’ve got the budget for it, you may even offer a small bonus or reward for employees who reach their goals by the end of the year.
- Be a model for employees. After your small business new year’s resolutions are set, you’ll likely soon realize they cannot be carried out single-handedly. The best way to get employees to catch the excitement of new year’s resolutions for your small business is to be a doer and work toward the goals yourself. Incorporate the goals into your attitude, behavior, and day to day work. If employees see that you’ve set a plan to accomplish each goal you set, and actually refer to the written resolution as a guide, they’ll model what they see. If you ask them to accomplish the goals on their own–without any help or participation from you–they’ll roll their eyes and use the resolution as scratch paper.
Setting new year’s resolutions specifically for your business and with your employees reminds you that you are not only a business owner looking to increase profits, but you’re also a leader. As you and your team reach your goals together, you’re sure to see increased morale in the workplace, and (hopefully!) a more successful and profitable year for your small business.