Five New Year’s resolutions for small business owners

As a small business owner, you can use the new year to tackle things you’ve been putting off or try new ideas for your business. 

Amel Emric/AP
Girls play in front of small shops decorated with lights at a holiday market in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap, but as a small business owner, you can use the new year to tackle things you’ve been putting off or try new things for your business. Below, we list five New Year’s resolutions that small business owners should make.

1. Refresh your web presence

New year, new website. If your website hasn’t been updated in awhile, now is the time to take another look. Think about the usability and design of your website, meaning your logo, colors, images, copy, content and page layouts. Does your website look modern and fresh? Is it easy for users to navigate and find what they need? Can consumers find your website by searching on Google? If you offer products on your website, is it easy for customers to purchase items through PayPal or another payment processor?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you should be investing the resources to update your site. While you can opt for a do-it-yourself approach, many times it makes sense to hire a web developer, who can give you the greatest bang for your buck.

2. Take a vacation

Running a business is a huge time commitment, and many business owners put their businesses first. While your business is your livelihood, you should still be making time for yourself. For the new year, make the resolution of taking at least one vacation, however long or short, to unplug from work. A good vacation will help you come back to work refreshed, motivated and full of new ideas.

3. Learn something new

It can be easy to get preoccupied with the day-to-day of running your small business, but you should also set aside time to learn new skills or strategies for your business. It may be as simple as learning to read your business credit report and understanding how to manage your score. Or it could be learning a new industry skill, such as technical writing and documentation for your IT consulting business. While there are plenty of resources on the internet, you can also attend seminars, workshops or industry training events to pick up your new skill (depending what you learn, you may even be able to get a certification). By investing in yourself, you will also be investing in your business in the long-run.

4. Develop one new effective process

As your business grows, having effective processes in place will be critical to your sustained success. In the new year, challenge yourself to establish one new mission-critical process to help your business run more smoothly. This could be a process for issuing and handling invoices or onboarding new employees. Since no one likes bad or useless processes, your process should be well-documented, simple, robust, tested (and refined) and communicated to your employees. Involve your employees to get feedback and to make them feel engaged in creating the process. Once you have your process in place, stick to it by creating incentives for doing so.

5. Make hard decisions

If you’ve been putting off any difficult decisions for your business, now is the time to make them. Is there an employee that’s just not working out for your business? It’s best to let them go before the situation gets worse. Do you need to take out a new term loan to help your business expand? Now is the time to start shopping around at different banks and lenders. Is a new product just not generating the revenue you expected? It may be the time to revamp it or get rid of it. Part of being a successful business owner or entrepreneur is facing these challenging issues as they arise and making honest, thoughtful decisions for the betterment of your business.

This story originally appeared on ValuePenguin.

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