New Years has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to set some goals for the year ahead. I personally like to set goals quarterly as it helps me stay a little more active. As spring approaches (though perhaps not as quickly as you might like), it can be helpful to look ahead and think about what you want to accomplish over the next 12 months.
This post will look at 10 goals every entrepreneur should consider in 2016. Implementing even a few of these can make all the difference — not only in your business, but also in your personal health and well-being.
1. Actively seek out like-minded individuals
Being an entrepreneur has many benefits, but feeling connected and “plugged-in” isn’t usually one of them. Working alone can easily lead to feelings of isolation; and this can seriously impact both your productivity and personal health.
Make a point to actively connect with like-minded individuals. Joining a virtual community, like Chris Brogan’s Secret Team for instance, can help you feel less alone, and can give you a place to ask questions and get support.
Connecting locally can also give you some much-needed motivation. Look into your city’s Chamber of Commerce, Meetup groups or business associations to find groups you can plug into near home.
2. Put a price tag on your time
I’m all for helping out struggling entrepreneurs by offering some free help and guidance. But if you find that people are consistently asking to “bend your ear” or “pick your brain,” it may be time to start charging a consulting fee. Here is a guide to consulting I put together to help you figure out what you should do and how much you should charge for this.
In a perfect world, there would be enough time in the day to do all your own work plus be a resource to others. But the reality is that you need to take care of your business first.
Feeling guilty? You don’t need to charge exorbitant rates for consulting. Even charging a nominal fee can provide enough of a barrier to slow down the constant stream of requests. Even if it’s $5 for 15 minutes of your time, it’s setting an expectation. I’ve started doing this and it’s eliminated around 50% of all requests.
3. Mind your health
There is a vast collection of research that shows the correlation between good health and productivity. People who take the time to exercise, meditate and eat well have more energy, are more motivated and perform better than those who don’t.
In fact, some research has even shown that exercising while at work increases overall productivity. That’s right: Counterintuitive as it sounds, replacing two and a half hours of work-related tasks with exercise during the week can actually make you more productive!
4. Delegate non revenue-generating tasks
Repeat after me: “I don’t have to do everything myself.” This can be a hard concept to fully digest, both for new and seasoned entrepreneurs. This was the hardest thing to accept when I started my company, however you too can learn to delegate effectively.
Admitting you can’t — or shouldn’t — do it all can feel like giving up. But the truth is, delegating and outsourcing work is absolutely necessary if you want your company to grow.
Any tasks or activities that don’t require your personal knowledge or skills are fair game. Bookkeeping and other administrative tasks are easiest to outsource, and you can work your way up from there.
5. Beef up your Internet presence
Having a strong online presence is one of the best ways to build your reputation and attract leads to your business website. Set aside a certain amount of time each day — even 20 minutes — to work at promoting your business online.
This can mean writing useful blog posts and sharing them with your social media followers, optimizing your website and content to attract more search engine traffic, or spending time monitoring what people are saying about your company across the web. Here are a few other branding tips that I’ve done to create a much stronger brand online.
If you’re a local business, make sure your Yelp and Google My Business listings are complete and up-to-date. It’s a quick and simple process that can make a big difference in your business’s online visibility.
6. Invest in the best help you can afford
Resist the temptation to hire employees or freelancers just because they come with the lowest price tag. For optimal long-term results, I recommend hiring the best help you can afford.
Opt for the professional with the proven track record, great communication skills and uncomplicated personality. Keep in mind that skills can be learned, while personality is a constant.
It’s also important to take an objective look at your current employees and contractors. Are they reliable? Is the quality of their work consistent? And perhaps most importantly, are they helping you reach your business goals?
7. Cut problem clients loose
Not all money is good money. Don’t waste your precious time and resources on managing and catering to difficult customers and clients.
When considering new clients, look at the big picture. Sure, a client that’s willing to pay top dollar for your services is great, but if they’re going to be high-maintenance, that extra money may not be worth it.
Remind yourself that firing problem clients will free you up to focus on your other clients — the ones who actually respect your time and boundaries.
8. Make time for personal growth and learning
“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field,” Dennis Waitley, renowned speaker, writer and consultant, once said.
There will never come a point — no matter how successful you become — when learning and growing won’t be beneficial. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to engage in formal education; you can also attend conferences and workshops, read books and industry publications and regularly visit insightful blogs.
While it’s certainly important to stay on top of industry knowledge and news, make sure you don’t neglect your own personal growth. It’s never too late to learn a new hobby or develop a new interest, both of which can contribute to a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.
9. Find tools to streamline your processes
Great tools aren’t a substitute for hard work. But finding the right tools can significantly streamline everyday tasks that may be eating up your time: time that could be spent on revenue-generating tasks or projects.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know which tools will give you the best results. Here are some articles that are great jumping off points:
10. Remember what truly matters
It’s easy to get caught up in the entrepreneurial lifestyle: working long hours, stressing out over details and basically running yourself ragged. If you start to feel depressed, resentful or overwhelmed, take a minute to think about what really matters in life.
Instead of ruminating on your stressors, make an effort to list off some of the things you’re thankful for; multiple studies have shown that intentional gratitude can help increase general well-being and combat depression.
Spend time doing the things you love, and build in time for family and friends. No matter what happens with your business, family and friends are the things in your life that matter, now — and in the future.
Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2016? Share them with us below.