The New Year is a time to reflect on the year’s successes and opportunities for improvement on both a personal and professional level. Small business owners and entrepreneurs especially can benefit from taking the time to consider the wins and losses of the year and make a plan to do even better in the future. Re-commit to success in 2016 and make these New Year’s resolutions for your small business.
Get Rid of the Clutter
You go through your home and get rid of the junk that’s just taking up space, so why wouldn’t you do the same in your office? Go through your workplace and clear out old computers, paperwork and other clutter. Next, go through your computer files and sort everything into folders and make a backup of all your files. Then take a look at one other form of organization that might be lacking: your business plan. Every business plan should include tasks, deadlines, forecasts, budgets, and a plan to measure goal performance. This strategic agenda will be the roadmap for your company’s future. Take the time to carefully evaluate your business plan and make adjustments to your company’s infrastructure and sales strategies to meet your goals. A good business planshould keep your company headed in the right direction with a broad, realistic perspective of goals.
Talk Less and Listen More
Listening is one of the most important, yet severely misunderstood, components of running of business. In trying to make sure the message is received, many business owners talk too much. They spend ten minutes sharing all of their ideas before asking the team for input. This just isn’t a good way to facilitate discussion. Ask questions from the start and allow your employees to share their ideas and discuss. Not only does this allow for new ideas to come to light, but it improves team communication, as well.
Keep Goals at the Forefront of the Business
If you have ever set a goal that everyone slowly forgot about over time, you know the importance of regular goal follow-up. The first step to preventing this from happening is to write down the goals. Help your team keep their eyes on the finish line by putting the goal in front of everything; revisit the goal in each team meeting and performance review. Drive employee engagement by looking at every new business strategy or client interaction from the perspective of how it will contribute to the final goal.
Give Feedback That Matters
Many managers give employees feedback based on something that cannot be changed: the past. To be a more effective coach, offer advice and counseling often, and keep it related to current situations. When you do have to give feedback on something in the past, make recommendations for what they can do next time. Conduct regular performance reviews and make sure your employees know that you are open to feedback on your own performance, as well.
Lead By Example
There’s an old saying that the difference between the manager and a leader is that “managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” The leader sets the tone for the entire company. Employees who want to improve the company and their standing in it will follow the example of the leaders, from the way they dress to the hours they work. Be excited, enthusiastic, positive, and confident about your company’s goals. If you are committed to continuously improving your business and providing excellent service, so too will your employees. People like to work for managers who are accessible, observing and supportive. They also prefer to see a boss who works even harder than they do themselves.
The establishment of your company’s ethical standards, as well as quality, service and morale, ultimately falls on your shoulders. Part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves to do better and, in doing so, they push the company itself to do better. To do this, you must show them the way by leading by example. When you do, you gain the respect and loyalty of your employees. Commit to leading by example in 2016.
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