6 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep in 2015

A new year means people everywhere are resolving to make changes they think will bring better results. Whether that’s losing weight, quitting smoking, achieving a better work/life balance or traveling more, it seems like everyone has something they’d like to improve about themselves. And it’s no different for small business owners — 40 percent of whom do set New Year's Resolutions, according to a January 2015 Staples Business Hub poll.

We recently asked small business owners on Facebook about their New Year’s Resolutions for this year. Here are the predominant goals and some advice for keeping them.

Small Business New Year’s Resolution #1: Start My Own Business

So you’ve decided this is the year you’re going to start your own business. Good for you! Owning a small business is full of meaningful rewards, but it’s not without challenges. So, whether your venture is centered on pets or eldercare, business services, tech development or something else, make sure you have a plan in place for getting the necessary funding and finding new customers. Speak with a bank or another financial institution, for starters, before tapping into friends and family, and don’t overlook crowdfunding — you may be surprised by how many people you don’t know are looking to support a business like yours.

Small Business New Year’s Resolution #2: Grow or Expand My Business

More than 30 percent of respondents to a recent Staples Business Hub poll said growing their business was something they looked forward to doing in 2015. Hopefully many of these entrepreneurs have already started by networking with business owners in their local area and industry, and making sure their Web sites are optimized for search engines. If you’re thinking about expanding your business, whether it’s a restaurant or an accounting firm, make sure you think about the consequences beyond needing extra space. Molly Ziske, owner of the college care package business Love Delivered from Home, suggests finding a mentor. “If you can, find someone who’s done what you’re planning to do, who’s been through it. You’ll probably learn things that you hadn’t even thought of,” she says.

Small Business New Year’s Resolution #3: Continue My Education

No matter how long you’ve been in the business world, continuing your education is essential for growing your company and yourself. There are many online and offline options that don’t involve re-enrolling at your local college, and can be taken on your own schedule. But even if you don’t take an actual class, always be learning, whether it’s from your peers and customers on social media or the things in your daily life that don’t go as planned.

Small Business New Year’s Resolution #4: Achieving a Better Work/Life Balance

Making time for yourself can be a challenge for entrepreneurs. If you’re striving for a better balance between your office and home lives this year, a good first step is prioritizing and delegating where you can. Of course, if you work in a home office, separating the two has its own issues, including who gets to use your technology and when. Every member of your family needs to know that work takes precedence over play where the computer is concerned, and that they should have separate accounts to ensure no one accidentally crosses a line, like posting personal pictures on your business pages.

Small Business New Year’s Resolution #5: Eat Better/Exercise More/Lose Weight

Eating better, exercising more and losing weight are three of the most common resolutions every year. You can help yourself and your employees by ensuring that your office breakroom is stocked with healthy snacks or a vending machine with healthy options. During the day, going for a walk (while monitoring your steps) or doing some other simple exercising can go a long way toward keeping you fit and healthy. And if you want to go the extra mile (pun intended), think about investing in a treadmill desk, so you can exercise your muscles while you exercise your mind.

Small Business New Year’s Resolution #6: ‘Prepare — Don’t Just React’

Being prepared for anything is one of the secrets to success for small businesses, whether it’s an handling an emergency situation or doing your taxes. “In life, you can’t control all things, but you can control how you run your business and what you learn for the next time,” explains Alfonso Santaniello, owner of the Creative Strategy Agency in Springfield, MA, which was able to stay afloat after a break-in thanks to some smart planning. “Being proactive instead of reactive helped this small business owner keep his cool at a tough time.” Maintaining a more orderly small business will help you stay ahead of the game, so when you do need to put out fires (real or figurative), you’re ready.

No matter what your resolution is, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

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