Making Changes in the New Year

Making Changes in the New Year

The only problem that I have with making New Year’s resolutions is that, sometimes, I think they inhibit people from making positive changes during other times of the year. Many people are of the opinion that “beginnings” are the best time to start acting differently. Perhaps there’s something romantic about it, I don’t know.

The truth of the matter is that any time you commit to improving your business or yourself, you are already at a new beginning. There’s no reason to waste time waiting for the first of January to get started. However, people seem to get motivated around this time, and I’m all for making positive change, so here are three possible resolutions to improve your business in 2015.

Pull out your business plan

Most entrepreneurs understand the importance of a business plan for creating a business. Whether it’s a tool you’ll use to seek financial backing or it serves as a guide solely for your own use, the business plan contains your entire vision for your new endeavor.

Unfortunately, after things getting moving, most small business owners leave their business plans tucked safely away in the filing cabinet, when their usefulness is far from over.

After some time passes, going back to look at your business plan often accomplishes one of two things. It illustrates areas where you’ve strayed from your original intentions, or highlights areas in need of improvement. In either case, you have work to do. If your business is different than you thought it’d be, you need to pivot back to your initial plans or retool the document to outline your new goals. If it highlights areas where you’re falling short (perhaps you wanted to give back to your community, command a strong web presence, or reach particular revenue goals), then it establishes new priorities.

Pay attention to your taxes

Tracking expenses and revenue are integral to determining the success of a business, but they aren’t the only way to boost that bottom line. Uncle Sam extends a number of deductions and credits for small business owners when they file their taxes. Even with this potentially large opportunity to save money, however, many small business owners forego them. The reason is that they don’t know how to get them.

It’s okay not to be good at everything. Few people are. Often, the trick is to find the people whose strengths complement your weaknesses. With regards to your taxes, that means finding a solid CPA. You’ve still got some time before your taxes need to be filed, so start looking now. You won’t regret it.

 

Get smarter

It doesn’t matter how much you know or how many degrees you have; only a fool gives up opportunities to continue educating himself. As business owners, there are countless ways for us to learn more about our industries, our employees, our competitors, and the many other factors that influence our success.

In 2015, try to incorporate some of these learning methods into your routine. There are plenty to choose from that don’t involve the commitment of a two- or four-year degree program, including:

  • Taking community college classes
  • Reading
  • Attending industry seminars and conventions
  • Spending work hours with your employees
  • Watching TED Talks and other insightful videos
  • Tapping into networking resources like LinkedIn and MeetUp.

Unsure what to learn about? Learning about technology is usually a safe bet and familiarity with tools like Excel can be very useful.

Don’t forget – you can make your own beginnings

If you fall off the resolution wagon early and forget about the things you wanted to do, don’t fret. January isn’t the only time you can commit to improvement. Pick up where you left off and keep looking forward. That’s where your success is waiting for you.

 

[Image by Ondrejk [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.]

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