As the new year turns over, we take the opportunity to reflect on our progress–taking stock of successes as well as setbacks. This process, so vital to our personal growth, is also integral to the trajectory of our businesses. That’s why we’ve created this checklist of new year’s resolutions for small business owners. Here’s to being proactive and a rockin’ 2016!

Set Concrete Goals

Studies have shown that those who set specific goals achieve more than people who don’t. Find time to sit down with pen and paper and articulate what you want to accomplish on the business side of things. Make your goals quantifiable –instead of “I want to sell more,” write “I want to increase sales by 15%.” Hold yourself to these numbers and schedule periodic check-ins to see if you’re on the right track.

Prioritize Customer Service

Following a positive customer service experience, 69% of consumers would recommend that business to friends. With that in mind, how can you do more to focus on the customer? Wherever you are in that department, there’s room to improve. If you’re using a CRM software like Zendesk or Salesforce, you may want to guarantee a lower ticket time (or switch softwares entirely!). Or, maybe this is the year you hire a full-time customer service employee.


Invest in Social Media

Your business may already be on social media, but your activity might not be as robust as you would like. Examine your various channels and create a plan of attack specific to each one. For example, if your Instagram presence is lacking, ramp up to posting everyday and do some hashtag research to ensure the broadest exposure. Or, if your Facebook posts don’t garner the right number of likes and shares, experiment with different post times and paid advertising options.

Improve Employee Relations

In the year ahead, don’t forget to give back to the people who have given you their all. Hold meetings with star players, recognize their contributions, and thank them for their dedication. This may be the time to implement a professional development or mentorship program, both tangible ways to express how you’re invested in your employees’ futures.

Get Educated

In order to dominate your industry, you’ve got to know it inside and out. Keeping up with the latest trends can be exhausting, though, especially given your daily demands with simply running the business. That’s why industry events and conferences can be great educational tools for business owners: they pack a lot of information into a short amount of time, and offer you the chance to network, too.

Focus on Personal Health

Last but not least, remember to take care of yourself. Chronic stress can lead to health problems like mental illness, heart disease, acid reflux, body aches, and a compromised immune system. Don’t let your work overshadow your wellbeing. Commit to a regular exercise regimen, a healthy diet, and outside hobbies. Meditation can help relax you in the short term and make you more mindful in the long term, and now there are apps like Headspace to help beginners get into the groove.


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