What New Year’s resolution have you set for 2018 to take your business to the next level?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Work on the Business, Not in It
As an entrepreneur, I love working in the trenches. If something is broken, I roll up my sleeves and try to fix it. For the new year, I am going to delegate more and spend more time on growth instead of operations. To take my business to the next level, I need the time to do that.
2. Improve Focus and Reduce Distractions
There’s so much information coming at us every day that staying focused on what really matters is always a challenge. One of my main resolutions for next year is to identify the tools and strategies that can really help me serve my customers and grow my business. I’m going to try to eliminate anything that distracts me from that.
3. Diversify My Skill Set
My New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to practice three new skills that will allow me to expand my business: consulting, project management and e-learning development. I’ve learned that the more skills I have, the more easily I can pivot when a certain area of the business experiences a downturn.
4. Get Better at Time Management
I often find myself spending time on things that I regret (social media, political news, etc.) and less time on the things that matter. For 2018, I’m dedicating myself to better time management by leveraging tools to enable me to spend time on the things that matter and potentially freeing up time for new things.
5. Get an Accountability Partner
My top New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to find an accountability partner to help keep me focused and on track. I find that I am able to accomplish so much more when I have someone reminding me of deadlines, projects and other important tasks. I will do the same for them.
6. Bring in More Experts
The freelance economy has introduced me to ways to add further expertise to the company and help grow it through the knowledge and skill sets now available on an on-demand basis. I want to find more experts that can help me see the business in new ways.
7. Hire a Sales Representative
My resolution for 2018 is to hire a salesperson so that we can expand our outbound sales. So far we have been focused on inbound sales, but with a sales executive we intend to increase sales by 100 percent and grow so that we can be featured on the Inc. 5000 list.
8. Scale Strategically
Our business has grown nearly four times over in the past year. At this stage, it is important that we implement systems that will allow us to maintain our current product demand and continue to excel at customer service. So, we’ll have to add new hires who can uphold our high brand and customer service values. We’ll need to invest in producing more educational materials about our products, too.
9. Reach Out
Our business has been lucky, as word of mouth and client referrals have done a lot of the marketing work for us. This year, we have committed to more proactively reaching out and telling our story to companies who wouldn’t have heard of us otherwise.
10. Set Boundaries With Balance
We are working on balance. Our team is made up of high performers — they’re perfectionists and amazing at what they do, but this means they work all the time. This is not good for their overall wellbeing and it’s not sustainable for the business. If we were in a factory with machines, we wouldn’t expect to run them 24/7 without fuel and maintenance. We would destroy the machines.
11. Apply Strategies With Consistency
I want to follow through on my goals with steady focus and consistency. Whether it’s writing blog posts, sharing on social media, calling prospects, following up with clients or any other activity, consistency is often the deciding factor for success. This is partly a matter of discipline, but it also requires an organized system of writing down goals, creating lists and following through.
12. Expand Topics
We’re considering expanding a bit on the topics we cover on our website. We might get into ancillary items that are still somewhat connected to our core business model. We feel that could expand our audience and breadth.
13. Launch Digital Enhancements
I find the new year to be the perfect time to launch new branding, a new website or some other digital enhancement/experience. People are typically back in their routines, which, for most people, includes being back on their computers for the bulk of their work day. It’s a great time to grab their attention and give them a reason to head to your website.
14. Improve SEO
When it comes to search engine optimization, there’s always room for improvement. In 2018, I’m setting a goal to rank for more organic keywords in my industry. We’re going to do this by ramping up our blogging efforts and strategically targeting specific keywords. This will help prospective customers find us more easily and convert them into more sales.
15. Try Some DIY Influencer Marketing
I’m working to create in-house influencers. Building traction on LinkedIn with my personal brand has been one of the highest-ROI marketing channels we have, so in 2018 I’m looking to double down on that and expand the strategy with other team members.