New Year's Resolutions for Entrepreneurs
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Yeah, we know. In 2013 you promise to lose a few inches from your waistline, live a healthier lifestyle, spend more time with your family, and read more. But what about resolutions for your business and your professional life? Here are a few good tips from a Forbes column, 10 Resolutions the Most Successful People Make And Then Keep:
Spend more time on the not-to-do list
Strategy is the art of sacrifice. That’s why you may consider creating a larger clearing for what really matters by first identifying, and then avoiding, what matters the least. Your time is a treasure to be invested. Creating a list of things that you are not going to do, allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most.
Essential first, email second
What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For many of us, it is looking at email. We wake up with a renewed mind and spirit, ready to take on the world, and then we immediately allow ourselves to be distracted by an insignificant email. Instead, wake up, take on the most important task of the day, and then (and only then) hit the email.
You can’t read the label when you are sitting inside the jar. The sad irony of being an expert is that it keeps you from seeing possibility. After all, you know what works, what doesn’t, what you can afford, what’s been tried in the past. Instead of relying only on your expertise, learn how to find other experts solving similar challenges to the ones you are facing. Go ask them what you may be missing.
Plan vacations (now)
You have probably heard the saying, “Life is what happens when you are not paying attention.” Unfortunately for many of us, we let this become true. Do yourself a favor and plan your vacations for the next year today. I promise you that the days around your vacation will fill in nicely. I also promise you that you’ll have something to look forward to and the life that happens during your vacations will be precious.
Click here to read additional New Year's resolutions pertaining to customers and business partners.
Small Business Trends also has a few pointers for getting your small business off to a good start in 2013, including cleaning up your work space, getting your books in order, and focusing on customers and clients. The New Year is also the best time to implement that price hike you've been thinking about:
The ideal time to re-evaluate your current pricing and packages is the New Year.
If you’re a solo professional or small business owner, you have undoubtedly realized that no one is responsible for giving yourself a raise but you. Too often, self-employed individuals end up working for the same rate year after year because they’re too busy to evaluate just how much their time is worth.
Why not enact a rate increase effective January 2013 for all new clients?
To give enough notice for your existing clients, it may be wise to offer them a special deal or incentive to continue working with you. For example when I raised my rates a couple years back, I immediately applied it to new clients but let existing clients continue working with me at my old rate for 3 months longer.
To stand out from similar businesses in 2013, you may also want to consider creating packages instead of just charging by the hour. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you could create a “New Year, New Website” package that allows people to purchase multiple website-related graphics they need in a single transaction.
If you already have packages, give them a second look to determine which ones may need updating, upgrading or even retiring.
Forbes contributor Carol Tice also recommends price adjustments as one of her three 2013 resolutions for every "solopreneur."
Most people don’t know what they’re worth. Take your business seriously: Research rates in your sector and know what to charge. I’ve seen freelancers skyrocket their income after they find out what peers are charging. Stop taking the first lowball offer that comes your way and instead proactively identify and target quality clients you know can pay well.
As a solopreneur, do you feel overwhelmed, spread too thin? Tice offers some advice:
If there is a task you’re doing that someone else could do and free your time up to think, do client work, network, and market yourself, consider eliminating or outsourcing it.
In the course of the year, I unsubscribed to scores of email lists, hired an administrator, and expanded my webmaster’s hours. I said “no” over and over to requests for my writing and my time that didn’t fit with my own goals.
It's easy to blame the uneven and sluggish economy when your business isn't as successful as hoped. But the fact of the matter is, all business owners and entrepreneurs have the power within themselves to make the new year better than the previous one. Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2013.