Five New Year's Resolutions to Transform Your Business in 2011

Barbara Weltman

Make your resolutions count this year by following through to improve your business. Doable actions can add up to important improvements throughout the year.

1. Listen better
There are a variety of reasons why people fail to listen when other people talk: they'd rather talk, they get distracted, they are preoccupied with their own thoughts and conclusions, or they find the other person boring. Still, other people, especially your staff and customers, may have something valuable to say and you need to listen carefully.
Become an "active listener." Use online tools to help:
2. Think more
We all fall victim to Michael Gerber's criticism that most small business owners spend more time working in the business than on it. Commit to a regular time that you'll use for strategic planning, such as half a day each week, so you can focus your attention on ideas and not on pressing business matters.
Here are some activities you might do in the coming year:
  • Write or revise your business and marketing plans.
  • Set up an advisory board to discuss strategic planning for your business; fix a regular time for the board to meet.
  • Take time off to concentrate on business planning without company distractions.
3. Learn new things
While technology is bombarding us with new developments every day, it's important not to become shell-shocked. Make a resolution to learn how you can better use technology, such as integrating social media into your marketing plans.
New things are not restricted to technology. Consider spending time to learn a new language, take a writing or sales course, or hone some other skills.
4. Pay attention to details
Little things matter. Spending just a few minutes a day, each day, can add up to big results over the course of a year.
  • Keeping good books and records throughout the year can entitle you to greater tax savings when you complete your 2011 return.
  • Keeping control over clutter by filing and tossing may require a few minutes each day but you'll gain more time in easy assess to your stored information.
5. Maintain perspective
For many entrepreneurs, their company is their baby and they take losses, criticism, and other bad news too seriously. Remembering that the worst that can happen to a business is that it goes under -- the owner isn't put in debtor's prison or burned at the stake -- may help keep perspective.

Barbara Weltman, author of several books including her most recent, 1001 Deductions & Tax Breaks 2009
Copyright 2011 Author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.
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