How often do you make changes in your business? Like most entrepreneurs, I love “shaking things up.”
Here are 11 changes you can make in your life and your business for a more exciting, enriching and profitable future.
1. Update your business technology.
Tech tools enable small businesses to run as productively as big ones. Are you taking full advantage of them? Assess which technologies would help you do business more effectively in the coming year, whether that's new computer hardware, switching to more sophisticated business apps, or using cloud storage and collaboration tools to streamline your workload.
2. Get organized.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, lighten the load by cleaning out your office. You’ve probably gone digital in many aspects of your business, but you might still have old folders or file cabinets full of paper documents. Purging those piles and files of paper will make you feel more focused. Shred what you no longer need; scan important documents you still need to save and store them in the cloud instead. If they contain sensitive financial or personal data, make sure they’re encrypted and protected from access except by employees who need them.
3. Take a lesson.
Explore something completely new to you or delve deeper into a subject you already know something about so you can become a real expert. There are dozens of ways to educate yourself these days, from online tutorials and courses to in-person workshops and conferences. (SCORE offers plenty of each.)
4. Get outside your comfort zone.
Try something that really challenges you, whether business or personal. It might be giving a speech to your industry association or skydiving on the weekend. You’d be surprised how taking risks in your personal life gives you more confidence in business, too.
5. Expand your connections.
Connect with someone you admire and invite them to coffee or lunch. Reach out to someone you want to do business with and share ideas about how you could work together. Create an advisory circle of other businesspeople and professionals that meets once a month for advice and inspiration. Join a new networking group or business organization.
6. Set big goals.
If you’re thinking small, it’s easy to get bored with your business. Stop shrinking your horizons. What’s your wildest dream for your business? Write it down; then plan how you could really achieve it. Even the biggest dreams can become reality when you break them down into small, manageable steps.
7. Raise your profile.
As a small business owner, you are your own best marketing tool. Whether you’re a B2B entrepreneur whose “community” consists of a particular industry, or a B2C business owner whose community consists of your town, get out there and make a name for yourself. A B2B entrepreneur can contribute to the community by speaking or chairing panels at conferences or contributing to others’ blogs. A B2C entrepreneur can contribute by sponsoring local events or getting involved in local charities.
8. Share the burden.
Small business owners tend to take everything on themselves. But no one can “do it all” without burning out in the end. Think about what you can delegate, whether to employees or independent contractors and do it. Let go of the small stuff so you can focus on what you enjoy doing and excel at.
9. Take care of yourself.
If you’re not healthy, your business will suffer. As a busy entrepreneur, taking care of yourself is easier said than done, but you can do it by making small changes. Get a little bit more sleep, eat a little bit healthier, and move your body a little bit every day. Take time each day to meditate, pray or whatever recharges you mentally and emotionally.
10. Get a grip on your finances.
Review your sales and financial projections and use them to assess whether you might need business financing in the near future. If you think you might, start investigating your options now. Check your business’s credit rating and take steps to improve it if necessary. Talk to your bank about what type of financing they offer and look into alternative financing solutions if you need to.
11. Get help from SCORE.
SCORE’s expert mentors can help you with all the above steps and more. Get matched with a SCORE mentor today.