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The New Year means big things for small business owners, but envisioning and having a great New Year are two different things.

As we gear up for 2018, it’s a good idea to set your intentions about what you want to achieve and how to take your business to the next level.

In 2016, Statistics Brain reports that only eight percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions end up achieving their goals.

Eight percent! That’s like dreaming about tacos for 12 months and then only being able to eat one bite before it vanishes.

As a business owner, you don’t make resolutions…you make adjustments to how you do business with your eye on the long-term. Although that’s a smart way to do things, sometimes you can get a little tripped up throughout the year.

However, when you break it into small steps, it should be easier to achieve. Let’s sail right into it.

Introducing the Ultimate Small Business Owner’s Guide to Having a Great New Year: 2018 Edition

Reflect on 2017

What important milestones have you achieved in business this year, that can be carried through to help you grow in 2018?

Also, take some time to go through your statistics; such as profits and losses, web traffic, foot traffic, and other important factors to find out where your business is strong and what weaknesses can be improved upon.

While you’re working with these statistics, spend some time organizing and backing up your data from 2017.

Set New Goals

Over time, our goals change. As a business grows, you are exposed to new things and your focus may change. That’s perfectly fine.

However, this is a great time to have a look at your goals to ensure that you are not just going with the flow, but actively pursuing the direction of your dreams.

If you find goal setting tedious, you may want to consider Pray Rain Journaling. This simple method has the power to help align your mindset with your goals to bring about dramatic shifts in your attitude and experience. Many people who have practiced it, have seen life-changing outcomes.

How did you fare in terms of achieving your 2017 goals? If you’ve achieved them all, congratulations!

If you didn’t quite get there, measure just how close you came and consider how you would attempt it, if you had the same goal again.

Use the intel derived from this reflection to set new goals for 2018. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!

Do Market Research

The best way to serve your clients is to know them and to understand how they feel about your business. It starts by taking an objective look at your website.

If you were in a customer’s shoes, how would you feel about the business?

Does the website inspire trust?

Try to look for ways in which you can simplify the user experience and provide better content.  Work through the entire process as a mystery shopper: submit a mock inquiry, order a product, submit a return and see how satisfied you are with the process.

Then, mystery shop your competition and see how you compare.

Related Posts: 4 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Good Marketing

Reach Out

Stay on top of people’s minds by reaching out to them. Make it your goal this year to scroll through your contacts and to reach out, even if it’s to one person per week.

Another great way to reach out and to spread brand awareness is to attend networking events in your community.

In fact, to help you get the most out of your networking, here are a couple of quick related posts for you:

8 Quick Tips To Networking as a New Entrepreneur

5 Tips to Make the Best Out of Business Networking

Educate Your Audience

You’ll be surprised by how social media can help your company stay relevant. Share your articles, business news and photos via social media.

People do business with people, not with companies and these types of posts make your business seem more approachable.

Invest In Yourself & Your Team

The quieter time of the year is a great time to invest some time into knowledge and betterment.

Whether you decide to advance your skills with a refresher course, learn something new, or read some industry magazines or blogs, or even a book by someone who inspires you, just do it!

Manage Time Positively

We all love to multitask…it makes us feel productive. But, the truth is that multitasking is inefficient and simply exists as a convenient excuse for some of us.

Innovative Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners provides some great insights into why people waste time, and explains why multitasking is no longer effective.

Instead of falling into your old multitasking routine, try to focus on tasks that provide the most value to your business and customers. These tasks can make or break the year and require time and dedication.

Ditch the Politics

2017 was a rough year, politically and emotionally, for everyone. So, to start 2018 off on the right food, we suggest that you ditch the politics in your business and daily life.

That’s right. Ditch ‘em.

Unless your business IS political, you don’t need to burden yourself and your employees with the stress of political agendas and logic battles. Just put it out of your mind and focus on what’s important: serving your customers well.

Learn to Delegate

Managing time is not about doing more with less, but about achieving results. It’s about spending 80% of your time doing the 20% of activities that bring the most results. Learn to delegate mundane tasks that do not require your personal input.

Get More Out of Your Day

By getting up an hour earlier in the morning, you can achieve so much more.

No time to exercise or eat a healthy breakfast? Well, by getting up earlier, you can do that. Of course, you don’t have to exercise, but do something that will positively influence the rest of your day.

Related Posts: 7 Keys to Less Stress and More Achievement

Do you have more insights into making the most of 2018? We’d love to read more about them in comments below.