Made any new year’s resolutions this year? If you’re a business owner like me, it’s likely that at least a few of them (if not all of them) are work related. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re focused individuals right?
The point of a new year’s resolution is to commit to change something about yourself and how you currently live. And for work, this could mean being more decisive, or hiring more staff so you can achieve a better life-work balance.
Whatever you choose and potentially give up on in mid-Jan, make sure you commit to these resolutions for business success in 2019.
Talk to everyone, and ask lots of questions
I think it’s very easy to be quite secretive and protective of your ideas and your pride when you start a business. You need validation that what you’re doing is right and it can leave you feeling a little reluctant to share too much with others.
But in the startup world, everyone’s been there. Everyone has had to start at the very bottom, hit a few bumps in the road, pull themselves up again and keep going often before they see any sign of success.
As a result, startups are incredibly supportive of each other. It’s almost a Them and Us mentality with ‘Them” being every other company that’s not a startup.
And because every startup owner has made mistakes and tried lots of different things, there is a great deal to be learned from them. So talk to everyone. Get their opinions on things. You never know what you might learn.
For example, you could learn about a new incubator for your sector. Or discover that PR is NOT the marketing route to go down. Or that there’s a startup linkedin group that you just HAVE to join.
See other startups as help; not competition. The world is changing so quickly that no business leader knows exactly what they are doing 100% of the time so to be asked a question about what they use, or how they do it, is flattering. You’re saying “wow you’ve done well and I want to do it like you”.
Just remember to return the favour by only giving them good advice too. Don’t bullish*t as it could come back and bite you.
Find yourself a tribe of startup founders to join
Starting a company can be incredibly lonely but it doesnt have to be. I started my company on my own but I made sure I always had people to discuss things with.
From like-minded clients, to sales partners and sub-contractors, I was never alone or short of support.
Of course, in my industry, finding the above is quite straightforward. If partners, clients and sub0contractors aren’t in abundance for you, then I recommend you find a LinkedIn startup community to join.
They’ll be a great sounding board, source of support and advice, and you could end up gaining a lot from their connections and influence.
Embrace freelancers and contractors
Don’t rush into employing staff. Outsource what you can at first. Not only is it cheaper but it also makes it easier to cut ties if the role you’ve filled isn’t quite what you need six months down the line.
That’s one of the challenges – or opportunities – of being a startup. Things change very quickly. What might have worked for startups several months ago, may not work anymore and you need to be able to move quickly.
So be prepared to “test” approaches with freelance or agency support before making a long-term commitment. You’ll get experts on call and youll expand your network too.
Only work with people you like
New businesses can’t be choosy right? You can’t turn away business, surely?! Well when you’re working all hours, you haven’t seen friends and family for what feels like weeks and the bank balance is dangerously low, a sh*tty email from an unpleasant client could be the thing that breaks you.
Conversely, if you only work with people you like, you’ll quickly build relationships with them that mean that a) you’ll never get a sh*tty email from them and b) if you’re really struggling, they’ll likely give you some slack or even help you.
Also unpleasant clients or customers will never give you a good rating or testimonial, regaredless of how good a job you do.
So add a step into the new business process where you vet the prospect to see if they’re the customer YOU want to have for your business or not. It’ll save you a lot of pain in the long run.
Have a ‘you’ day regularly
One of the perks of being your own boss is that you can (in theory) choose your own hours but for many that seems to mean they work more rather than less.
All I can say from my experience is that there’s nothing that makes me feel prouder of myself and what I’ve achieved than taking a day off in the middle of the week every now and again to do something utterly indulgent. No one needs to know so don’t brag about it on Insta. You’re doing it to make yourself feel good so it doesn’t require other people’s input.
Choose to do something that makes you think “F*ck yeah, what I’m doing with my business is worth it. Well done me”. Trust me, you won’t regret it. And you will always catch up on the work afterwards.
Do some stuff for free
It’s likely you’ve read business books or heard entrepreneur podcasts that say you don’t ever need to do anything for free because you’re worth more than that.
I don’t entirely agree with that policy. I believe there is actually huge value in breaking that rule once in a while, for the right person.
Be prepared to do a favour for someone because you never know how valuable their help in the future could be. Provide a huge discount or give away your product for free to someone if they’re well connected. You never know who they might tell.
So what favour can you do today?