Following the somewhat hectic ramp-up to the holiday season, January can be a time of repose. In fact, studies show that the average worker spends fewer hours working in January than during other parts of the year.
As a result, business leaders have a small window of opportunity during this time of the year to step back and think about how they can improve themselves and their companies.
Yesterday, I offered up four New Year’s resolutions that entrepreneurs and small business owners may want to make for 2016. Today, I’d like to offer four more suggestions:
5. Delegate More
This might not seem terribly important during the low-intensity month of January, but think back a few weeks or months. Were you burning the midnight oil, working 50- or 60-hour weeks?
If so, you may want to focus on delegation for the upcoming year. Doing so will certainly help you cut down on your workload and your blood pressure in 2016!
Delegating might require you to place greater trust in your employees, so read up on effective delegation practices. This New Year’s resolution could improve your personal well-being and increase productivity and engagement in your business.
6. Start a Word-of-Mouth Marketing Campaign
Getting to the top of Google’s search results for a relevant keyword combination is clearly a sensible business objective for many entrepreneurs, but it’s not the only way to market your business. Surveys say that 85 percent of small businesses find customers through word-of-mouth referrals from existing customers, while only 56 percent of small businesses say Google brings customers to them.
If you aren’t already pushing a word-of-mouth marketing initiative, you should be in 2016. Ask for referrals from your most satisfied customers and offer customers who refer their friends and peers to you some sort of gift, discount, or financial incentive.
7. Retire Failed Products or Initiatives — Even If You Are Emotionally Attached to Them
January might be time for you to take a long, hard look at your business to see what’s actually working and what isn’t.
Did you launch some seemingly exciting products or services that simply aren’t selling, despite your significant efforts? Did you kick off some productivity or engagement initiatives that aren’t showing any real results?
This can be disappointing, and it can be painful to let go of a product or process that you really believed in. More importantly, however, it can be harmful to your business to hold onto goods, services, or initiatives that aren’t working. Your resources would be better spent on things that do work.
The best entrepreneurs are ruthless when it comes to killing their own failed initiatives. They waste no time running down dead ends, choosing instead to spend their days working on products and services that deliver the best returns. January is a great time for your to become one of these entrepreneurs: clear out the dead wood, retire your failed products and initiatives, and focus your efforts on more successful plans.
8. Give Back to the Community
It’s easy to overlook this fact during the busier days of the year, but the reality is that your business relies heavily on the community for it’s survival. That’s why it’s worth giving something back to the community that supports you.
An added perk of charitable giving is that it could increase your sales: 82 percent of consumers consider corporate social responsibility when choosing which companies they want to do business with. So, charitable giving could bring more money home.
You only have a small window of opportunity to launch your resolutions before you get sucked back into the daily rush of business. If you want to really improve your organization in 2016, it’s imperative that you start today.