As we enter 2019, you’ve likely reflected on your personal resolutions for the new year. But what about your small business? Applying that same focus to your business can help your venture grow and prosper into the new year and beyond.  Here, we’ll discuss five key resolutions to make — and keep! — in 2019.

Learn to Delegate, and Commit to Doing More of It

As an entrepreneur, your to-do list is probably a multi-page affair, or maybe even more of a binder.  There are so many things that need to get done, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of convincing yourself that you have to do it yourself.  After all, you’re the captain of this ship!

Despite your best intentions, and perhaps a high dose of caffeine, you can only work so many hours in a day.  If you routinely burn the candle at both ends, you’re probably stressed, exhausted, and don’t have much of a life outside of work.  This is where delegation comes in: it’s the key to a healthy work-life balance, and it allows you to focus more of your energy on the important tasks while taking some of the more mundane tasks off your plate.

We know delegating can be difficult:  after all, it requires you to trust someone else to do certain tasks correctly and in a timely manner.  You can accomplish this with clear, straightforward communication and thorough training. Make sure your employees have the tools and knowledge they need to do the job, and then clearly communicate objectives, expectations, and deadlines.  Then, step back — no one wants to be a micromanager — and let them handle business!

Make Marketing a Priority, Especially Digital Marketing

While marketing may not be at the top of your priority list (after all, you’re focused on all the other aspects of running your business), it should definitely be a priority.  In order to reach and attract new customers, you have to make promotion of your small business a priority.  Set aside some time to draft a marketing plan, or hire a marketing expert to do it for you if your budget permits.

Part of this strategy should include an audit of your online presence:  if you haven’t updated your website in over a year, or if it isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be losing potential customers.  You should also take advantage of email marketing lists and social media accounts. If digital marketing isn’t part of your current marketing strategy at all, it’s definitely time to make this resolution above all others.

Charge What You’re Worth

If you feel like your product or service is undervalued, it might be time to raise your rates to reflect the value you bring to the table.  You might be nervous that raising your rates will alienate potential clients or customers, and that’s a possibility. However, it’s impossible to be all things to all people.  An easy way to implement this is to take a “packaged value” approach, in which you offer tiered packages that emphasize the value of the work you’re doing, rather than the amount of time you spent doing it.  In this way, your prices can be more reflective of the value of your work.

Learn Something New!

The new year is a great time to pick up a new skill, and why not make it something that will benefit your business?  Choose a new skill to learn in 2019 — even if it isn’t directly related to your work, learning something new will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and think in a different way than you’re used to.  All this can help you be more creative at work and can help you relax more during your time off.

Let Go of What Isn’t Working for You

Through all your strategizing, record-keeping, and reporting, you should be able to clearly see what is and isn’t working for your small business.  Perhaps it’s a particular product that isn’t selling, or maybe a partnership isn’t working out like you’d hoped.  If this is the case, it’s time to let it go. There’s no point in investing a lot of valuable time and energy into forcing the unworkable to work, after all.  By moving on, you free yourself up for something better to come along.

2019 brings us a new opportunity to do more for ourselves and our small businesses.  As you kick 2019 into gear, don’t neglect setting your goals for your business. Your entrepreneurship and the value of your work is important, and you can make simple, long-term changes to dramatically improve your small business.

The Neat Company helps small businesses by providing a software application designed to streamline certain bookkeeping tasks, particularly around expense capture, reporting and tax preparation.  Used regularly, Neat can save a small business owner up to 12 hours per week.  Smart owners can use this time to grow their business.

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