It’s a new year and this means that many business owners have taken a look back on the prior year to weigh their successes and shortcomings. Even more have turned their sights toward the future.
Sure, it’s great to exercise more, set bold sales goals, or finally quit smoking, but there is nothing stopping you from setting a resolution that can influence the larger picture of your career.
Here are some resolutions you can aspire to that will ensure more success in the year ahead.
1. Make your business energy efficient
Making your business more energy efficient in 2017 is a way to join the global initiative to help the planet stay healthy and might even put some extra change in your pocket.
One big money-saving option that is definitely worth considering is installing a solar power system for your business. Incorporating solar power to supplement, or even replace, your current energy needs not only benefits the environment but can also optimize your savings each year.
Many business and residential properties in the US have been taking advantage of a Solar Investment Tax Credit (SITC) since it was first implemented in January 2006. A business or residence finds a local company of their choice to install a solar power system that suits them. The company uses the tax credit that is then applied it to their income tax that year. It’s a win-win for local businesses and for the environment!
According to the US Small Business Association, there are also many small and daily adjustments that will make your business more green:
- Use Energy-Star qualified products such as compact fluorescent lamps, exit signs, computers, TVS, etc.
- Regularly changing your air filters
- Turning off lights when leaving a room
- Unplug appliances when not in use (75% of electricity is consumed while products are turned off).
2. Give back to your community
One of the best ways to ensure the success of your business is by fostering a strong community around you. Giving back to your community will create a cycle of prosperity everyone can be a part of.
Your business and other businesses are rewarded when their supporting community is healthy and happy. With this in mind, think of how you and your business can spread goodwill. These options will get your generosity flowing:
- Donate to a cause: Give to Habitat for Humanity and help build homes for the less fortunate or give to Open to Hope and help people find hope after a loss
- Encourage employee giving: Give your employees an opportunity to give back with gift cards to sites like TisBest and Donors Choose.
- Hold a food drive: Your employees bring in non-perishable canned and boxed food that can then be donated to a local charity or shelter
- Sponsor a youth sports team: Give a donation to a youth sports team for new equipment or uniforms and, in exchange, your business gets a bit of publicity
- Sponsor an event: Sponsor a local marathon or even become a participant in an event
- Set up a collection jar: Place a collection jar in your office and give the proceeds to a local charity that is important to your staff
- Adopt a brick: Sometimes new civic buildings offer local businesses a chance to donate and in return will designate a brick to advertise your business name
3. Join a networking Group
An important aspect of running a successful business is making the right kind of connections through networking. Having a wide network of business connections can help your business grow in a number of ways; from partnerships to strategic insights and more.
Here’s a short-list of national business organizations you can consider:
- US Small Business Association
- National Small Business Association
- United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Furthermore, finding an industry-specific organization that operates locally in your community is a great way to contribute to the growth of your industry and learn from others in your field.
4. Attend a conference
There are many amazing conferences coming up this year that offer up expert advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Even more, good networking is a gift that keeps on giving for entrepreneurs.
Attending conferences with like-minded entrepreneurs is a great way for business owners to make connections and network with other professionals and peers in their field. Here’s a few to keep on your radar:
Silicon Valley, February 21-22, 2017 — Here’s the conference for all things Startup and Silicon Valley. If you’re interested in learning from companies like Google, Airbnb, Nest, Instagram, and Lyft then book a plane ticket asap! With 3,000 founders and investors, more than 40 keynote and fireside sessions, and over 50 exhibiting startups, this will be Startup Grind’s largest event ever.
Texas, March 10-19, 2017 — Entrepreneurs, creatives, influencers, and innovators all come together at this conference to get a sneak peek into the future of technology and digital creativity. This event has a combination of speaker sessions, music festivals, and networking events for a variety of industries, making it one of the largest in the country.
Montreal, July 12-16, 2017 — Startupfest brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and people passionate about the startup world. Attendees will be able to learn from mentors, pitch investors, and rub elbows with industry peers.
5. Set-up cost-effective legal support
Traversing the many legal requirements it takes to start a business can be daunting for startups. Make a resolution that can ensure the your business is safe from liabilities by setting up the proper legal structure. It might be the best decision you make this year.
Consumers and small business owners can handle many legal matters themselves with Nolo’s do-it-yourself products, which range from online forms and software to books and eGuides
(Full Disclosure: I am an editor at Legaltemplates.net.) This one-stop site offers small businesses every legal document and form they need to get the right legal structure in place as well as documents to protect intellectual property like licensing agreements and non-disclosure agreements. This would be a good option for startups with valuable IP they want to protect.
Named one of the ten best digital tools for entrepreneurs in 2012, Legal Zoom offers similar services as the companies above. With their long history in giving legal help online, they have every necessary business document entrepreneurs need to start a business.
6. Learn a new skill
Self-improvement is necessary for any business owner who plans on staying ahead in their field.
First, find a skill that is relevant to your interests and/or industry. Narrow it down to one or two skills that are the most important for you.
Once you select the skill you want to focus on, break it down into manageable goals. One great tip that Amy Gallo points out in the Harvard Business Review is to elicit support from others as a way to increase learning. “Find someone you trust who has mastered the skill you’re trying to attain,” she says.
“Look beyond your immediate manager who has to evaluate you.” Find a mentor within your field and approach them with an offer to add value to their current work, etc.
When tackling a new skill, it is good to challenge yourself and remain confident. Even if others might not fully understand how much effort you are making, every small assurance helps, but, ultimately, it is up to you alone to be confident in yourself and know that you are doing your best.
7. Make time for yourself
Running a business can take a lot out of a person, especially toward the end of the last quarter when stress levels are at their highest. This is why it is important put some time in your busy schedule for yourself.
You will need this time to refresh yourself. Recharging is necessary for your tech and for your life. Plus, a truly healthy work-life balance (more like prioritization) involves you giving enough time to maintain a good life as well as focusing on your business.
If you have trouble freeing up time to do things that are important to you, then actually add it to your calendar and stick to it like you would a client meeting.
Investing in yourself is perhaps the greatest thing any business owner can do; after all, you are the core of your business. Prioritizing your own health and wellness is the fastest way to bring success to your life, and therefore, your business.
This article has been edited.
Kyle Kivett is an Editor for the legal blog at Legaltemplates.net. He covers a variety of topics in business, startup culture, entrepreneurship, and more. He and the rest of his team strive to close the justice gap by offering legal knowledge and information using cutting-edge technology people can access easily online. Their goal is to equip people with the right tools to be their own legal advocates. Connect with @Legaltemplate on Twitter.