If you’ve pledged to be better in business this year, this article is for you.
Statistics show that a mere 8%1 of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions, which means that a whopping 92% are failing in their attempts at self-improvement.
Below are three New Year’s resolutions that every professional has made at one point in their lives, along with insights from those who have successfully achieved them.
You need to find a work/life balance
It’s not unusual for professionals to work twelve hour days, particularly senior staff within smaller organisations. In fact, a recent survey of 500 UK small business owners found that three quarters2 of entrepreneurs even work throughout their holidays.
Anne Allen, head of people experience at Xero UK, makes a number of simple suggestions to help busy workers free up some extra time this coming year, from scheduling your company’s social media posts to using cloud-based software that you can access when you’re ’wasting’ time stuck in a queue at Starbucks or waiting to board a plane. However, when it comes to heading out to dinner with your family, make sure you switch that phone or iPad off.
If you need relieving of your workload pressures even further, 2015 may be the year to hand over some of your responsibilities to another member of staff. For the majority of people this is the hardest thing to do, especially if you’re a business owner who relies on your company running like clockwork in order to maintain your livelihood, which is why it’s so important to choose a capable and willing person you can trust.
Train your right-hand man or woman up by defining the things that may need escalating, but let them know that they can make the decisions necessary. You’ll find that this is a great way to future-proof your business, as it will set each process up in a way that is sustainable, replicable and understandable to someone other than yourself.
You want to make more money
The harsh reality is that most businesses lose money before they make it.
Take Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, who famously lost money for almost a decade before turning over the profits that have made Amazon the £100 billion3 company that it is today.
Bezos says, “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for eighteen years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first, invent and be patient”4. It’s likely that this sentiment can apply to your business model too.
In your bid to make more money in 2015, ensure you don’t lose sight of why your business exists in the first place (from your customer’s perspective), and use analytics and validated learning methods at every stage of your sales process to determine and attend to any elements that require optimisation.
When setting revenue targets, keep them between 1 and 4%. Whilst 2015 may be your breakthrough year, it’s possible you’ll encounter economic factors that are beyond your control, thus setting manageable revenue targets works to avoid disparate disappointments and helps to mature a long-term growth strategy.
You want to improve your marketing
It happens to us all; we spend so much time focusing on clients that our own marketing efforts get pushed down the priority list. Of course, it’s that kind of culture that causes incoming leads to dry up and can eventually put a company out of business.
Right now, I want you to pull up your 2015 calendar, block out at least two hours every single week and assign that time exclusively to focusing on marketing your business.
Tom Fishburne, marketoonist and founder of Marketoon Studios, says “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing”5. It’s this ethos that you’ll need to keep in mind when forming your own campaigns in 2015, as content marketing now plays an essential role across industries, which means mastering the art of targeting your audience in a very human way is key.
Start by posting three content pieces per week on your company blog, increase your Twitter activity to daily and add 50 new social media contacts every week. These targets are easy to initiate and can really ramp up reach, engagement and conversion in a small amount of time.
Here’s to a fantastic 2015!
1 Statistic Brain, 2014. New Years Resolution Statistics. [Online] Available at: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/.
2 Business Zone, 2014. How small business owners can achieve a work-life balance during the holidays. [Online] Available at: http://www.businesszone.co.uk/topic/finances/how-small-business-owners-can-achieve-work-life-balance-during-holidays/58862.
3 Forbes, 2014. World’s Most Valuable Brands. [Online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/companies/amazon/.
4 Brainy Quote, 2014. Jeff Bezos Quotes. [Online] Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jeff_bezos.html#VHgFDQv62QGp1ycB.99.
5 Profoundry, 2014. 50 Awesome Quotes To Guide Your Digital Marketing Strategy. [Online] Available at: http://www.profoundry.co/50-awesome-quotes-to-guide-your-digital-marketing-strategy/.
All information sources accessed 23rd December 2014