Tis’ the season to do something that you think about all year long but have a mixture of excitement and dread at the same time – New Year Resolutions! That’s right, it’s time to crack open your mind and think about all the changes you want to make in your life over the next 365 days (well…at least for the next month or two!). Things like eating better, working out more (or even starting), maybe spending more time with your family, going to church more, the list can go on and on. And thinking about ways to better yourself can be completely exhausting, mostly because there are so many areas all of us want to improve in our lives. But have you stopped to think, “What about my business?” What kind of New Year’s resolutions are you making for your business and customers? I mean, it is the perfect time of year to think through that as well.
Below, is a short list of 6 things to think more about when it comes to your customers, employees, and your business over the next year. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, just a few thoughts as you head into the next year.
Do you feel like your business is running you sometimes? It can be easy to let your schedule and productivity be overrun by the dozens of emails and phone calls you need to send, make, and answer. Maybe it is time to re-center on why you started the business and what you do – your passion – and build out a plan to focus on those reasons and be refreshed and renewed in your mind to think clearly about where your business is and where it is going.
Spend Time on What Really Matters
There is a lot of stuff going on in your business all at one time – sales, distribution, angry customers, taxes, scheduling, planning for the future, budgets, etc. Maybe it is time to take a step back and see what really matters and needs to be handled right now. Then look for creative, cost-effective ways to take care of the rest. Maybe like hiring an answering service or a virtual receptionist…hint hint.
Let’s face it, without your customers, you do not have a business. A lot of businesses focus on getting the customers in the door, on the phone, or on their website, but once you do get them how are you keeping them? Let this be the year that you do something about current and potential customer slipping through the cracks or possibly being neglected because your business is booming. (Yeah, we can help out with this area too.)
Just as it is without customers, without good, well-trained employees you don’t have a business or at the very least have a good one. Maybe spend some time pouring into your employees this year, set up lunches or meetings regularly to hear and gain feedback from your employees, or provide additional staff development training for your team members. You focus on making your employees successful and happy, and I guarantee that they will, in turn, make you and your business successful and happy. The trust you build with your employees will help make your business exactly what you dreamed it would be.
Take a Break
That’s right, you need to plan to take a break or multiple breaks throughout the year. You as a business leader, are just like anyone else – you get burnt out. You might be thinking, “I can’t afford to leave or take a break, if I do, the business will not operate.” I would probably say that your business cannot afford for you NOT to take a break. It is amazing what getting away from your daily routine and the frustrations that come from running a business will do for a person. Even if it is a short trip, plan it out, turn off your email, leave your best leader in charge, and go recharge your batteries. I bet you will even be able to think so clearly afterwards that you will have a new, fresh idea to push the business forward or rock your industry.
Yep, it is so important to have fun in your business from top to bottom. Have fun in what you are doing, make sure your employees are having fun in what they are doing, make sure your whole company is enjoying itself day in day out, and make sure your customers are having fun interacting with your business. You want your business to be a place that you, your employees, vendors, and your customers look forward to coming to, talking with, or interacting with. This doesn’t mean swinging from the rafters or throwing a party every day (maybe it does for your business…except the rafters thing, that is dangerous.), but find ways to help solidify and activate the culture within your business. Maybe you can pull a team of employees together to help spearhead this initiative for you. Trust me, it will pay off in the long run.
These are just a few things you can look at to work on for 2016 that could pay dividends in your personal life as a business leader and for your business. Many of the things mentioned above are things that we here at VoiceNation focus a lot of time and effort on – day in and day out. Staff development, culture, and focusing on the right things at the right time are so important to our business and really any business that is striving to be successful.
So, the challenge presented before you is to take some time and pick at least 1 or 2 items from the list above or maybe there are other things that have been on your mind and heart to change or make as “New Year’s resolutions” for your business. The thing is to just try and take that first step.