New Years Resolutions 2024 – Top Ten Tips
Can you believe it – the end of another year. Time to make some time to prepare for next year to make it better. If we do what we did last year, chances are we will get what we got last year. Yeah, you heard it before, but seriously what are you going to do about it this year?
Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about some potential New Year Resolutions.
1. Plan – Take the time to write up a simple Business Plan before the year starts.
What do you want to achieve?
Why do you want to do it?
What should be the end result?
How can you do it?
What are the steps?
Who needs to be involved?
What will it cost in the investment of finance and time?
Set some targets for the year, months, and weeks.
Make sure the team is involved and understands where you are going. Have your salesperson or team write up a list of who you want to serve as clients next year and work out how will you engage with these people to serve them.
2. Finance – Get on top of income and outflows, and ensure your margin is good enough to allow you deliver a great service. Ideally, have a month or two or 6 months overhead money in the bank in case of slow weeks or tardy payers. Why trade with these poor payers at all? Collect the debts asap and pay your own asap.
Do a basic cash flow analysis, money in, money out, selling price, cost price, profit, margin, wastage, etc. Set targets and review them. Check the finances every week and sleep well, knowing you are on top of it. Book your accountant or financial advisor for one very focused hour/session/half day/whatever. Show them your plan and get their advice on how you can do better.
3. Technology – It is 2024 NOT 1994 so get the right smartphone, laptop, or other tools like useful apps to keep you current. Make sure your email is working well, securely, looking professional, syncing between your phone and computer, that your calendar is syncing, and your email signatures look sharp. You should have access to your cloud storage, CRM Client Relationship Management tool, accounts package, and online banking. And be able to access these on your smartphone. As a result of COVID most people are now comfortable meeting via Zoom. So make sure your video and audio setup all work well.
4. Read – Buy a few books, read one a month, ideally one a week, or read industry blogs. Google the logical terms that relate to your industry or your client’s industry. Use Audible for audiobooks if you prefer audio. Or subscribe to useful industry or position-related podcasts. Check out YouTube content if you prefer video content. Never stop learning or asking questions. Imagine attending a 60-year-old GP or Brain Surgeon who has not upskilled since college or an IT professional who does not stay informed. Here are some books I recommend.
5. Web presence – Search for your name, then your company name, your professional services, in Google, ( in an incognito window) and see what you get. This is what your potential clients see, so do manage your personal web presence, and your reputation and ensure that your website tells your story in a simple ‘easy to understand’ fashion. Your Google Business Profile entry should be up to date as should your LinkedIn personal and corporate profiles. The same goes for your team members. Do they represent themselves and the company well online?
6. Talk – Get in touch with existing or past customers, ask them what they want from your company or product and how you can help them. Regular contact like this will give you valuable feedback and also a chance to be of more service to people who already know you. Continually improve how you communicate with the team and the customers – this is critical in every business. Find a mentor to talk to yourself or rather listen to and learn from other people’s experiences. An accountability partner is a wonderful option to have.
7. Network – Get out and tell people about you, your company, your product or service, why it is so good, what are the benefits, and showcase the proof. Attend a Chamber of Commerce or local Business Network meeting at least once a month, ideally once a week. Attend a seminar, trade show, or other get-together event at least once a week – even online. Remember to listen here too. If you listen enough you will hear what people are asking for. You may have the solution or can refer someone competent who has it. Remember to spend time with your network members, find out what they are doing, and see if there is any opportunity for you to refer them or to work together in any way.
Read my Guide to Networking if you want some tips.
8. Sell the solutions – The ones that people actually want or need, rather than what you think they want or need. Or what you have in the store or what you have been doing for years. Ask potential clients what is needed, find the pain or stress points, and supply the solution. But only if you have the right one. Ask questions and then question the answers – ‘why is that exactly?’ ‘tell me some more?’ ‘how would that be of help?’ ‘and what else?’.
9. Delegate – Once you feel you are doing your job well enough – delegate! Write up the process for someone else. You are there to run the business, and to be ultimately responsible, so get out of the kitchen or workshop. Get the right people on the bus. It is your job to provide jobs, not to do them all. Give your team members the space to grow and take on some responsibility. Look after your team and they will look after your customers. Create a culture where people want to be a part of it.
10. Personal care – Stress is a killer and so is lack of personal care. Eat well, work on it, and plan what to eat and when. Get some head space, make time for yourself, and meditate if you can. I appreciate this can sound whoo whoo and hard to do. If this sounds impossible, maybe talk to someone about this, now. Do some exercise, even just 20 minutes of walking briskly every second day or so.
Many of the things that happen to you are outside your control, but how you handle them is totally up to you – it is your reality to create. Learn to look at the circumstances from a distance and decide how to respond rather than simply react, without being driven by any basic emotional response. Do not bottle up frustration, share it, talk to someone, a friend or a professional. This is number 10 on this list but should be treated as number 1. You are number 1 in your own life and probably in the lives of your immediate family. If you are a provider, then you have a duty of care to yourself, as well as the people you love or employ. (My number is at the top of the page, just in case you cannot get through to a professional, which I am not.)
Print off or write up your chosen resolutions and read the sheet daily. Tweak the plan, work on it, and get better every day. Stay on the journey, measure your progress, and move forward incrementally toward your goals. Remember to live and love, whilst you are slaying the dragons or riding the roller coasters.
Happy New Year, one and all. Stay healthy, stay connected, stay well.