The start of the new year is as good a time as any to make some long-lasting improvements to the way you run your startup or small business. You’ve had that holiday period to wind down and take a step back from the daily grind, allowing you to see the big picture for the first time in a long while. This can provide you with some much-needed clarity and a new sense of focus.
It’s also important to note that you finance team probably spent December completing year-end accounts and building new budgets. Come January, then, you’ll have a nice war chest to finance your new ideas and visions.
The beginning of 2016 is a great time to make some changes — but what, exactly, should you resolve to do? Here are a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions that entrepreneurs and small business owners may want to make:
1. Identify Slackers and Help Them Boost Their Performance
Has your business been carrying any dead weight in the form of employees who have not been meeting expectations throughout the past year? If the answer is “Yes,” then now is the time to address some of these performance issues.
Sit down with your underperformers and have a candid conversation. Find out what you can do to inspire them to work harder. Consider setting some challenging goals that will give them a reason to get their heads back in the game. These conversation could be just the shot in the arm that your employees — and your business overall — need.
2. Be a Better Boss
According to Gallup, a significant number of employees leave their jobs because of bad bosses. The corollary to this fact is that, if you become a better boss than you currently are, you may be able to improve your retention rates dramatically.
I do not mean to suggest that you are a horrible boss. Rather, I simply mean that there’s everyone always has some room for improvement. Furthermore, many entrepreneurs and small business owners find it difficult to prioritize people management, thanks to the barrage of time-sensitive issues they often have to deal with.
You probably have some breathing room during this time of the year, so it may be a good idea to use it to bring some new management practices into your repertoire.
According to the Gallup poll cited above, employees want the following things from their managers and leaders:
- They want to feel comfortable approaching you with any kind of question or issue.
- They want to communicate with you on a daily basis — not just about work, but also about lighter personal matters.
- They want you to set clear goals, expectations, and priorities for them.
- They want equity and accountability in the workplace — meaning, in part, that they want you to give the slackers mentioned above a kick in the pants.
Employees who have these kinds of relationships with their boss tend to be much more engaged and much happier than those who don’t. Making a commitment to becoming a better boss could be the best New Year’ resolution you ever make.
3. Find New Technologies to Help You and Your Team Save Time
Perhaps you or your employees spend a lot of time faxing and mailing contracts — even though an electronic document management system could streamline that process and free you all up to focus on bigger and better things. The start of the new year is a great time to identify and invest in new technologies that can make your business run more efficiently.
4. Fire Bad Customers and Replace Them With Good Ones
Take a look at your books. Have you been holding on to unprofitable clients or unjustifiably difficult customers? You know the type: they make endless changes, they do everything at the last minute, they’re always complaining, and they want everything for nothing (or very little).
If you have a lot of clients like this, you’re wasting time and resources that could be better spent on existing or prospective clients who are actually worth it.
Only you will know what kind of customers and clients you want, and the start of the new year is the perfect time to fire your bad customers and replace them with better clients.
January will give you some much-needed respite from the mania of the everyday, so take the opportunity to improve your business with some swift and decisive actions.