Pledges to hit the gym, pay off debt, or show more generosity come with the turn of each new year. For solopreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners, this season also presents a fresh opportunity to generate resolutions for their ventures – and for themselves as business owners – that can significantly impact the success of their business in the year to come.
If you are still making resolutions to improve your business this year, consider adding these to your list:
Expand Marketing Reach
Too often the task of promoting a small business slips to the bottom of the to-do list. If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. This year, resolve to hire a marketing expert or make time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through. With so many free marketing tools made for freelancers and low-cost ways to promote your business, right now is the right time to get started. So this year: get a website, build a social media presence, start a blog, send your first e-newsletter, or even run a digital advertising campaign on a new platform.
Practice the Pitch
If you haven’t thought about your elevator pitch, it’s time to get serious. Whether you’re meeting a prospective client face-to-face at networking events, over sales calls, through social media outreach, or via cold emailing, a rock solid elevator pitch has the power to transform what happens next. Set aside time weekly to spend 30 minutes practicing, testing, and tweaking your elevator pitch so you’re ready to close the deal when you meet your next prospective client.
There are so many things to do when you’re running a small business, it’s easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we’re so exhausted and stressed and have no time to do anything else. Shifting work to someone else can be difficult, especially for those who are used to wearing every hat needed to run a business. However, delegation can open you up to focusing on what you love and what you do best. Find expert help on Moonlighting for tasks you dread doing, anything that overwhelms you, and especially anything that someone else do in minutes what takes you hours.
Define and Review Goals Regularly
Goal setting is a valuable habit as long as your goals lead to success rather than distress. Resolve that the goals you set will be specific, measurable, achievable, actionable, and timely. This will transform your goals into a specific battle plan to follow the whole year long. Regularly evaluating the status of these goals lets you take stock of what’s working and what’s not, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. Set aside time each week to review, adjust, and look forward. Not only will this help you avoid costly mistakes and stay on track, but you’ll feel more focused and relaxed.
Find Your Individual Work-Life Balance
The workday for a small business owner doesn’t always end at 5 pm on a Friday and pick up at 9 am on Monday. Conversely, work shouldn’t consume every waking minute of your life. This year, resolve to find the balance of working hours, healthy eating, fitness, sleep, and fun that keeps you sane, focused, and happy. While there’s no magic formula, we put together a few tips that can help!
Build a Community
Freelancing can make for an incredibly isolating business life. There’s nothing like talking to other people for sparking new ideas, refining old ones, and making contacts. This year, join a networking group (in-person or online), a co-working space, or an organization dedicated to a your particular industry. Approaching each outing with a strategy can open opportunities to learn from others, collaborate, and build relationships that can revitalize you and your business.
Share Your Knowledge
Think back to when you were first starting out in your career. You were probably excited and hopeful while simultaneously feeling nervous and unsure. Did you have support, or could you have used more? One of the best new year’s resolutions for business owners is to pay it forward. Reach out to someone in your industry just starting out and who could use mentoring or a sounding board for advice. Your generosity will not go unnoticed, and you will be seen as both an expert in your field and as someone people want to work with.
Manage Your Cash Flow More Effectively
Was last year was a rollercoaster of drastic ebbs and flows in income? Have you been unable to generate enough capital to invest back into the business? Or you don’t really have a clear understanding of your day-to-day business finances, resolve to establish financial consistency. Set a goal to earn enough to invest back into your business and into your savings. Avoid falling short by having a clear understanding of your day-to-day finances and if this all sounds like too much, hire a financial expert to manage this for you.
Learn Something New
What you choose to learn may be directly related or completely unrelated to your business. Learning something new will add to your skills and add a new dimension of interest to your life — another important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance and increasing your business success. Business consultants, trainers, and business coaches can help set you on a path to adopting new skills. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may meet new and interesting people, who could become customers, colleagues, or friends.
Become a Better Communicator
Communication is the life blood of any business, large or small. Ineffective communication can cost you new clients, push away great employees, and waste your time if find yourself repeating the same information over and over. This year, resolve to focus on becoming a better business communicator and hold regular meetings, stand-ups and one-on-ones with employees, subcontractors, current and past clients to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Successful small businesses learn from their mistakes, keep their eye on trends and make an outline for effective business plans. This year, commit to taking your freelance business to the next level — and actually reach your goal!