5 New Year’s Resolutions All Entrepreneurs Should Write Down!
Every new year, we all set out to make resolutions: lose weight, save money, stopped being shocked when the Chicago Cubs don’t win the World Series. Business, like our personal lives, can also benefit from a resolution… or, in this case, five.
As 2014 kicks off (and we are all still left wondering when flying cars will become a thing) consider making the following resolutions for your company:
Listen to Your Customers
Customer service is among the most important aspects of your business for one obvious reason: customers spend money, lots and lots of money. How you treat your customers can determine if they come back for more, or if they go running into the arms of your competitor (but not before stopping by Yelp to post their opinion).
Even on days you are stressed, overwhelmed, or simply have had enough, you must still listen to your customers. It’s really pretty simple: if you don’t want to be put in a position where you must be helpful and accommodating, don’t own your own business. Instead, become a postal worker.
Take Regular Breaks from Business
Business as usual shouldn’t be business all the time: as reported in the New York Times, John Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the Rotman School of Management, describes mental concentration as being similar to a muscle. After sustained use, it becomes fatigued and tired and needs a rest period in order to recover.
So, don’t be afraid to take breaks….regularly. You should aim to take breaks in increments, such as a twenty-minute reprieve every two hours. Spend that break doing something that involves little to no thinking. So take a walk, do some stretches, or read a celebrity blog.
Constantly Challenge the Status Quo
Challenging the status quo is good for business for a few reasons: it shows leadership, it leads to innovation, it’s imperative for improvements, and it is the cornerstone of new ideas. All business leaders have challenged the status quo, some more than others. Think of it this way: if Steve Jobs didn’t push the status quo, there would have never been Apple and I would be typing this article on a Commodore 64.
Focus on Having Fun
For too long, it has been believed that fun and business were polar opposites, forces that acted like two beta fish, constantly attacking each other until there was only one victor. Yet, the new way of thinking has started to see fun as an ally of business, rather than an enemy. Research appears to back this.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Kenexa, an IBM company, set out to measure the organizational performance of New Zealand’s top businesses. Of the employees who took place in the study, 70 percent agreed that their company was a fun place to work. These employees also agreed that employees who had fun at work were more likely to be engaged, exhibit behavior aligned with the company, and focused on the company’s goals.
This isn’t to say you need to install a waterslide in your company bathroom, but having a break room with a ping-pong table or taking regular field trips to race go carts can boost company morale. Then, the waterslide will just be optional.
Make a Mistake
In business, like in life, you can’t be afraid to make a mistake; being too afraid to err can easily lead to being too afraid to succeed. Perhaps the words that sum this up best are those of Irish novelist James Joyce: “A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.”