If your good intentions evaporate before February, here are some tips to embed better habits for the year ahead.
At Swoop, we know that telling you to adopt some new years resolutions is pointless: they never last beyond the second week in January, and besides, founders have enough to do without quitting chocolate.
Instead of giving you a list of things to feel guilty about not doing, we’ve put together a list of habits that will actually help your business grow in the next 12 months – and won’t be difficult to keep up. We’ve put together a mix of regular habits and some one-off tasks that you can come back to in the spring when enthusiasm is picking up again.
1. Manage your time
Remember why you wanted to start your own business? It was to be in control of your own income, time and life.
It’s too easy for “urgent” tasks to squeeze out the “important” tasks. So audit the time you’re spending, make sure you’re doing the right thing by yourself and re-set boundaries where you have to. They say that investing in yourself is never a waste of time or money, so make sure you’re taking time out to look after yourself physically and mentally.
Make a list of the things you don’t enjoy doing, things you’re not good at and things that take you more time than they should – and delegate, automate or eliminate.
This will free up time to…
2. Read more
Reading is one of the major habits successful people have in common: people who read seven or more business books per year earn 2.3 times more than those who only read one book in a year.
If you want to do something that will help you become a better business owner, check out our reading list for ideas to get you started with some great books.
The more you read, the more you’ll cement your values…
3. Reassert your values
Your values make you stand out from the competition. Values engage and motivate employees, as well as attracting customers to do business with you.
Does everyone in your business know what your values are? If you asked them, would they all agree on what they are based on what they see every day? What are you doing to make sure that your values as a business are being stuck to?
In the long run, your values will shape what your brand means to people inside and outside the business.
To see how robust your values are you should…
4. Try to break your system
Every business works well when everything goes to plan. But when things fall apart, your weaknesses are revealed.
Find out what your weaknesses are before your customer does: taking yourself on the customer’s journey will help you find ways to improve customer satisfaction. Does your customer journey match your values? Is there anywhere you’re flailing short? Is there anywhere you’re over-delivering?
To find out how your systems affect your customers…
5. Talk to customers
Your customers will always be the best early warning system for problems coming towards you and unmet needs that you can fulfil.
In the next year, give yourself opportunities to talk to customers about what they want, why they’ve come to you and what else you could be doing to help them.
These conversations could be the start of developing a new product or service, changing a process that loses customers or weeding out inefficiencies that don’t add value.
To keep your people motivated in driving your business forward…
6. Celebrate successes (and failures)
Celebrating your employees is more motivating than raising their wages. Employees want acknowledgement when they do a good job, go above and beyond or get through a particularly tough task.
Everyone has a Christmas party – why not turn yours into an awards ceremony? These don’t have to cost more than a regular party for staff and are a great opportunity to reassert the things you truly value in your company culture.
Don’t forget to celebrate failure as well: these are learning opportunities and every failure contains potential: failure reveals weaknesses in systems and skill sets, opportunities for new learning, new growth and new ideas.
As we go into a new year, don’t miss the chance to look at what you’re already doing and figure out ways to work smarter.