Ready. Set. Improve.

It’s the new year which means new beginnings moving forward to where you want to be. It is time to let go of the past! Free yourself of failures and disappointments that came in 2017, and embrace a new perspective. Envision success and follow through. See the possibilities and do what it takes to make them opportunities for growth. With the new year, comes twelve brand new and exciting months to make your mark. Now is the perfect time to pursue a new beginning.

Now you’re feeling motivated and filled with anticipation; but you are wondering what am I going to do now to make sure this is my best year ever? What one thing can I do to make the difference in achieving my goals rather than chalking them up to yet another year’s unfulfilled resolutions?

Studies show that more than and 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions. But, sadly, only 9 percent of us succeed at keeping them. Interestingly, and even more sad, is the speed at which most fail.  According to the University of Scranton, 77 percent keep resolutions for only the first week. That means nearly one-quarter of us wiped out in seven days.

In effort to help get you on a positive path, and not become a statistic, I thought I would share some things I learned in a leadership seminar over the holiday break.

Try New Things

  • Revamp your brand. I am sure your values and ideals are still solid, but perhaps there has been a slight change in the brand ‘personality’ that could attract a new audience.
  • Have a conversation with your customers. Remember, they are the people who have the power to decide whether your business survives or fails. Now that the holidays have passed, this would be a great time to reach out and make sure their needs are being met.

Take Advice from the Right People

As a business owner, I am sure you have advice thrown at you from all sides. But it’s important to remember that not everyone’s an expert, and that you should pay attention to those who are. No matter what your goals, finding a team of like-minded individuals can help you achieve more.

Following advice from those experienced in your industry, as well as professional advisers and influential investors, will provide insight when it comes to business longevity. Listening to the experts can help provide you with accountability, encouragement, troubleshooting, and optimism. However, to truly maximize your business’ potential, be sure to also listen to the advice of those who matter the most: your own customers.

  • Find a Mentor or Coach
    What is one trait that almost every successful entrepreneur has in common? They have a mentor—an experienced someone who shows them the ropes and holds them accountable. Find people who are doing things you wish you were doing and learn from them. And you don’t have to stick to just one. You can have a different someone for every area of your life.

Build Business Value Every Day

In today’s world we are often boggled down by distractions and we tend to forget our relationships with customers. Take a few minutes to remember that people do business with people they trust and people who make them feel special. A great way to make this happen is committing to reaching out to three potential or current customers. This isn’t about asking for the order; this is about adding value. The more people you help, the more profits you’ll see. Send them an article. Connect them with a business opportunity. Do something to help them close in on their greatest dreams. They’ll soon help you close in on yours.

One Day at A Time

Pick up a copy of John C. Maxwell’s Success One Day At A Time. Each page contains a snapshot of the daily road of an overcomer. Owning this book is the equivalent of having a personal trainer by your side from the time you wake up, until the time you put your head down on your pillow. “Success is knowing your purpose in life, sowing seeds that benefit others, and growing to your maximum potential,” he says. Maxwell asserts that success is for everyone. The secret of success is found in your daily routine, springing from your dreams, vision and consistent self-discipline.

  • Daily Steps Toward Achieving a Long-Term Vision
    I’ve learned that my daily choices make a big difference in my long-term success. Les Brown says, “Greatness is a choice; it’s not our destiny.” I’m usually a big-picture person, but last year, I broke down my vision into daily, actionable goals that I can measure. And to my surprise, the choices I made to spend a few minutes each day on my long-term vision resulted in one of my most successful and productive years yet!

Clear Focus

Many small businesses make the mistake of starting their business by thinking too big. They try to be everything to everyone — sell all the products possible in a certain industry, appeal to every demographic, hit every price point, and so on.

This mistake doesn’t just result in an inability to compete, but it also results in stifled growth. It’s difficult for you to become anything more than you already are if you started out carrying every product and appealing to everyone, and are having trouble getting noticed as well. A clearer, more narrow focus can help you:

  • Make smarter decisions, because you’ll be able to better answer the questions “does this further my goal?” or “will this appeal to my customers?”
  • Grow at a pace you’re comfortable with, based on your sales, staffing, free time, or any other aspect affecting your scalability
  • Target a more specific group rather than one with mass appeal — this might sound counterintuitive, but if there are 30 companies offering the same product as you. And your company is the only one offering a specific discount, guess where those seeking that product will go.

Refresh Your Network.

Have a host of contacts you’ve lost touch with over the last few months? Pull up those numbers and refresh your network! Now is the perfect time to check in and keep your network working for you.

Final Thoughts

New year, new you, right? That may be the dream, but the truth is “old you” probably wasn’t so bad. Maybe instead of re-inventing yourself this year, why don’t you just set your sites on improving, and resolve to be a better you? If you follow these quick tips, you’ll find yourself in a better place this time next year.

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