Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions (that Rhyme) for Your Business

“New Year, New You” – just for personal improvements, or businesses, too?

Since starting Tulip Tree back in 2013, I’ve placed more attention on bettering myself professionally rather than personally because, let’s face it, when managing a business, the line between personal and professional tends to blur, if not cease to exist. While even my professional resolutions are a continual work in progress, I figured after a year as tumultuous as 2020, there’s no better time to share my top resolutions that have helped my business over the years, in hopes that yours may also reap some results. And the rhyming is simply my feeble attempt to make them seem “fun.”

Full disclosure: business resolutions aren’t fun at all. They don’t come easy, quick, or – in some cases – cheap, but their long-term benefits should result in ROI that’s well-worth the discomfort and effort.

Resolve to…

1. Procrastinate on Procrastinating

I know, I know – you “work so well under pressure.” So do I. But the inevitable daily fires that business owners can’t predict but still need to extinguish on the daily is pressure enough. Waiting until the last minute on something you know about now just adds fuel to those fiery flames. Plan ahead – you know when your annual specials or events occur, you know when your busy season is (or isn’t), and you know what on your to do list could/should be done now instead of later. I’m not talking 10-12 months necessarily, start by focusing on 3 months from now. Your business’s bottom line (and your blood pressure) will thank you for it.

2. Be OK with Delegating

It’s high time you come to terms with the fact that there’s never going to be more time in a day. And while you have good ideas and good intentions and even the crippling “if I want it done right…” mentality, the duration of a day doesn’t care. The end of the day will still slap you in the face far before your to do list is done. Task applicable to dos to employees, volunteers, or vendors. You’re not the only one who can do what you do. (And remember, there is more than one way to achieve a goal – something not done “your way” can be OK!)

3. Realize Optimism can be Devastating

WTH?! – stay with me on this one. “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” (William A. Ward) Faith and hope are fine and dandy, but no optimal solution was landed on without first considering a “what if…” or worst-case scenario. Being realistic means looking at and considering all angles so you can strategically plan your next steps. I’m not saying to ditch the positivity, but pair it with a healthy dose of reality instead of rose-colored glasses. I don’t know of any successful business that was built on a wish and a prayer, do you?

4. Start Appreciating

This is a hard one for me and one I certainly haven’t mastered yet.My standards and expectations are high and my grind mentality makes the natural progression after reaching a goal to be “Ok, what next?!” My clients probably appreciate my continuous eye on the prize, but my team certainly draws the short stick on this one. We as leaders need to try to replace more expectations with appreciations. Take the time to value and recognize a job well done beyond just expecting it. Relishing in achievements will make both you and your employees feel more accomplished and proud.

5. Don’t Hold Back on Innovating

Welcome change. Pivot. Try something new. 2020 forced all businesses to change and, while we’d all love to go back to “the way things were,” it’s probably best we don’t. If you think about it, many of the changes we were forced to make – producing more relevant products, focusing on convenience for consumers, conducting services virtually, pushing most sales online – were changes many businesses knew they either should do or needed to do at some point, but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. If we keep “the way things were” in the past and continue to initiate change and reinvent our business practices into the future, we’ll be far better prepared for whatever future hurdles we may face.

6. Concentrate on Communicating

I’m not talking about talking. I’m talking about marketing (you knew it would come up at some point in these musings of mine). Marketing has pivoted hard from promotion to communication in the past several years, and it’s important that you join in on the conversation with your customers. Throwing money at advertising isn’t enough anymore. Promoting your products on TV/radio commercials or in newspaper ads isn’t as effective as it once was, because traditional advertising is more of a one-sided conversation. You need to meet your audience where they are, share your business’s story, and learn their story in return. Invest in the conversation. Make the effort to consider what matters to them and their problems you could solve rather than what matters to you and your revenue (selling your products or services).

Much like the ever-popular “eat better” and “save more” New Year’s resolutions, I’m well-aware that not one of these rhyming resolutions is profound, but rather an unwelcome reminder of shortcomings you already know you need to work on. Trust me, I’m right there with you, and hope that simply knowing you’re not the only “work in progress” out there will no longer hold you back from making professional progress in the year ahead.

“Resolutions require only words. Results take action.” – Tony Robbins