A new year is finally here, so why not channel some of that natural-occurring enthusiasm toward building a better business? Some business goals are all centered around numbers and profits, but most entrepreneurs know that delving deeper – and taking care of oneself – is just as important in compounding future success.
- Stay healthy. Yes, you!
Think about it: when you feel well, you’re more productive. When you’re operating at peak level, both mentally and physically, everything else seems to fall in place a little easier. And when you perform better in a business capacity, you create a healthier company and a more satisfied customer. The results of taking care of yourself really are ten-fold.
There are a lot of health gifts you can give yourself. Maybe it’s vowing to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Maybe it’s 20 minutes of yoga at the end of your day. It can be trying out a Meatless Monday, or taking that morning walk with your spouse. There are countless things we can do to increase our feeling of wellness, so be creative. What small, doable change would benefit you the most this year?
- Harness the power of networking.
We all know it: the way to reach new customers, expand your brand, create awareness and bring about new relationships isn’t by sitting on your duff, waiting for it to happen. Good things come to those who go and get them! You never know what the story of the guy next to you can teach you. There are external ways to network – Rotary Clubs, becoming involved in charity organizations, and your local Chamber of Commerce are all great resources. In addition, if you see someone whose work ethic or ideas you admire, introduce yourself. See if you can’t learn from them and incorporate some of their best practices in your own business.
- Diagram your goals.
Sure, everyone knows to plan their goals. But it’s easy to get stuck there: staring at a sheet of paper, with a list of seemingly unattainable goals, and no idea how to start making them happen. So use a trick your old English teacher taught you – diagram your goals. Start with writing down your goal. Underneath that, detail exactly what time, resources and investment it’ll take to make that goal happen. Be detailed! Getting it in a written, checkbox-style form will make it seem less overwhelming and more manageable.
- Keep learning.
You can think of several professions that almost require continued education: teachers, doctors, engineers…and that’s because they’re in fields in which things are ever-changing. Even if your industry is more static, you can still make every effort to educate yourself further. Reading an autobiography of someone successful whom you admire, taking a class in an unknown computer program, attending seminars and conventions, and hosting a Q&A with some of your best clients are all great ways to learn something you didn’t know the day before. You can never know everything, so use every day as an opportunity to grow into a better business leader.
- Invest in yourself.
We all know what happened to poor Jack, who was all work and no play: he became dull. And while working hard and diligently absolutely can have a positive impact on your business, it’s also important to make sure you give yourself some quality down time to refocus, reenergize and reassess. If this means taking your spouse on an unexpected 3-day getaway, signing up for a Pilates class you’ve always wanted to take, upgrading your old flip phone to a smart phone, or purchasing new business attire, then do it. Don’t think of it as indulgence; consider it an investment in yourself. When you’re at your best, you put your best forward to everyone else.
- Plan your day.
“Oh,” you say, “but I already do.”
No – we mean, really plan it. Write it out, and break it down in an hour-by-hour detail.
For example, if you account that 20 minutes of your morning will be strictly for reading and responding to emails, then you’re less likely to waste an hour by checking them sporadically. Be practical, and build into your day things that are likely to occur. If you’re in charge of carpool that day, budget for it, time-wise. Gotta have a 20 minute power nap? Put it on your schedule. Know a particular client is probably going to want to chat after your consultation? Build it into your day, and you’re a lot less likely to get stressed out. This kind of planning also gives you an honest, reasonable assessment of what you can accomplish on a daily basis. It will also let you be able to quickly look and see where some of your time-sucks are occurring and how you can fix them going forward.
So take a well-rounded approach to your business this year! It’s not always about the bottom line – because when you deliver a healthy, knowledgeable, curious persona to those around you, you can bet you’ll be surprised by the results.