It’s not just the start of a new year, it’s the start of a new decade. That’s the perfect chance to make meaningful resolutions — and stick to them.
Typically this is the time to brave a packed and sweaty gym, or fill a shopping cart with kale. But for this year, why not consider creating a list of New Year’s resolutions to help your business thrive, such as partaking in charitable work or improving work-life balance?
If you want to make some positive changes (and keep them up throughout the year), grab a coffee, sit back — and read about the New Years’ resolutions that your business should be making in 2020.
1. Embrace Feedback, It’s Valuable
Once upon a time, feedback was issued behind the scenes, in phone calls or by letter. Now, with the rise of review sites and rampant use of social media, comments about your business are visible to everyone and can be raised by anyone with an Internet connection.
We are social creatures with an innate need to share knowledge, but on the flip side, we are easily influenced by the knowledge that our peers share. This is evident from the rise of influencer marketing, which is set to become a $10 billion industry.
So… with such powerful feedback now out in the open — how should we react to it?
- Apologize for the negative
Talk really is cheap. The Nottingham School of Economics found that “apologizing yields much better outcomes for the firm than offering monetary compensation.”. So most importantly, take the time to acknowledge and say sorry when you receive justified negative feedback. Train your employees on how to handle complaints and reviews.
- Publish the positive
Help build trust around your organization and publish any glowing reviews on your website, in emails, and on social media. An average of 2 hours and 22 minutes is spent on social media and messaging every day — so get real testimonials out there where people can see them.
Furthermore, respond and use feedback to your advantage this year. After all, you want to make your product or service better, don’t you?
- Analyze everything
Keep track of what people are saying about your business. If negative feedback is given about one aspect and it keeps cropping up, this year is the time to fix the problem. Similarly, positive feedback means that you’re doing something right, so keep doing it!
2. Don’t Hide Your Personality
Use 2020 to truly connect with your customers, show your personality, and build trust in your brand. Connecting your face with your message is the perfect way to communicate your business values and stay authentic.
So, how do you do it?
- Tell your story
How did your business come about? What inspired you? If storytelling isn’t your strong point, get a copywriter to tell it instead. The ‘About Page’ on your website is an ideal chance for you to be genuine and share the passion you feel for your product or service — and invoke that same passion in your customers.
- Use real photos
Don’t use stock photos; use genuine images instead. Share photos of the team behind the business and use names to help customers feel connected. Get the team taking photos of everyday working life and share it on your social channels and on your website.
- Go live
Share your skills by offering advice and nuggets of wisdom at relevant business meet-ups or local events. It’s also a chance for you to give back to your community — and fulfil New Year’s resolution #4! You could even end up reaching potential customers and networking with other businesses.
According to a survey by Edelman, 67% of people would agree with the following statement:
“A good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will stop buying it.”
Humans prefer to interact with other humans and it’s easier to trust them, rather than the words of faceless businesses and frustrating chatbots. If you’ve been hiding, make it your mission to inject some personality into your business this year.
3. Switch Off and Relax
The constant beeping, dinging and vibrating of notifications on our desktop and phones signify that we are always connected and never far away from the pressures of work. According to The American Institute of Stress, 75% of workers believe they are more stressed than previous generations and 54% of workers say that stress from work affects their homelife. Learning to relax and leave work at work is an important resolution to make this year.
It can be difficult to know when to switch off, especially if you’re a solopreneur or you’re just starting out. Even when you’re at home, that niggling voice can start whispering, telling you to check your emails and reminding you that there’s always more work that you could be doing.
Don’t listen to that voice. When work time is over, shut down your computer, walk away and don’t look back. Embrace your free time by filling it up with interesting activities, like joining a running group, or starting a blog on cooking. Explore Meetup.com and find out what’s happening in the local area. You never know what you might find!
As a business owner, you need to make sure your employees are also taking the time to relax and combat stress. After all, whether it’s jumping into a sport or getting creative with our hands, unwinding is important for our health, both mentally and physically. The more we relax out of work, the more we are able to give, resulting in a productive, happy workplace.
4. Make a Difference This Year
If you want to help make the world a little brighter, consider the ways in which you can give back this year. Find a cause (or causes) that speak to your business and start offering your time and energy.
People enjoy working for businesses they can be proud of. Getting involved in charitable work helps the company culture, and provides an opportunity to build stronger relationships with coworkers. Pulling together on charitable projects will help bring the team closer and solidify working towards a common goal.
As employees are not constrained to the day-to-day grind, it’s a chance to learn leadership, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving — all useful skills that could be taken back into the office.
Volunteering is not only great for the organizations you’re helping, but it also gives your staff (and you!) the chance to recharge and work on a project unrelated to everyday office life.
Get inspired and see how your business can help in 2020, by reading our helpful blog post on How to Give Back.
5. Let It Go, Even When It’s Hard
Be like Elsa and make 2020 the year that you ‘Let it go, let it go’. However, in your case, instead of letting go of your old life and embracing burgeoning magical powers, you will be cutting out any tasks and habits that your business no longer needs.
How do we get started?
- Scrap unloved social media
Back when you first started out, you might have thought it was a good idea to jump on board every social media platform out there. But weeks soon turn into months, and before you know it the last Pinterest post you put up was a year ago.
If you’re not in the position to update your social channels, or you’re not getting new eyeballs on your content, there is no reason to continue.
- End unengaging email marketing
Yes, you may have always sent your ‘Wednesday Weekly Round-up’ emails at 10 am sharp — but are people even opening the emails? Have you noticed a downward trend in your click-through rate?
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If it’s no longer achieving the goal you set (for example guiding customers onto your sales page), it’s time to say goodbye or try a different approach. Do people seem more receptive on a Friday afternoon, for example?
- Let your employees go
No… this doesn’t mean you should fire them, but rather you should make sure they have the space to figure things out and achieve things for themselves. If you rarely delegate, find yourself constantly asking for progress reports, or feel the need to approve everything, these are all telltale signs that you are micromanaging and need to let go a little.
This can be hard, even for the best of us, and especially when it’s your own business. But as Steve Jobs said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
So, it’s important to trust your employees to do the work you hired them to do. Only then can their skills grow, and in turn, your business will become a positive and healthy place to work.
Let it all go, and leave yourself more time for things that matter.
May Your Business Thrive in 2020
We hope our five New Year’s resolutions leave you feeling excited about the year ahead, and the changes you can make. Now is the best time to set your intentions for the year, so print them out, or save them to your computer desktop, ready to look at and remind you whenever you need it.
Now you’ve heard our suggestions, what resolutions will your business be making this year?