Reposted from Rhonda Abrams, USA TODAY
It’s that time again, time for New Year’s resolutions.
You may be making a few resolutions for your personal life such as quitting smoking or losing weight. But what are your hopes and aspirations for your small business in 2011? How do you intend to make this year better for you as an entrepreneur? What are your small business New Year’s resolutions?
Don’t like the idea of “resolutions?” My friend Connie lists “intentions” instead of “resolutions.”
“What’s the difference?” I asked Connie. She explained that an intention is a direction — a course you set for yourself. You can’t fail at an intention; sometimes you can just get off course.
And intentions are positive. Studies show that you’re more likely to succeed at goals that you feel positively about — getting healthy — than at those that are seen as negative, like going on a diet.
So this year, instead of just a list of random resolutions, I’ve established a set of seven intentions for me and my business:
1. Increase recurring revenue. I’m going to concentrate my marketing efforts on customers who repeat month after month, year after year.
Most of us in small business, especially in this economy, are thrilled to find any source of income. But some types of income contribute more to your long-term financial well being. In my first business — I developed business plans for start-ups — every client was a “one-off” client, so I was constantly chasing new business. Now, I’m focusing first on customers who have the need and capacity to repeat.
In your business, it may mean slightly changing the nature of your products or services to find customers who can be the source of recurring revenue.
2. Grow. This year I’m going to grow.
It’s a perfect time: The economy is slowing improving; competitors are weak or gone. I’m going to do some careful planning, work really hard and work smart. Most important, I’m going to be willing to adapt to changing business and industry conditions.
I’m about to introduce some new digital products (look for my first smartphone app in early 2011). Companies that get stuck doing the same old same old die.
3. Go global. I’m doing a lot of international travel in 2011. I already have trips planned to Europe, South America, and Africa.
Going to China in July opened my eyes to the reality of burgeoning new global markets. I not only want to take advantage of some of these markets myself, but I want to help my readers discover global opportunities, too.
4. Communicate more. You’d think someone with a weekly national column, a monthly newsletter, and a Facebook page wouldn’t need any more communication, but I don’t do nearly enough to stay in front of customers and prospects.
In 2011, I’m going to devote more resources to social media, building a community of entrepreneurs and continually communicating with them.
5. Reward, recognize and increase my team. I’m fortunate in having an amazing group of people to work with. They are a critical reason why my business is thriving.
I’m already pretty good at recognizing and rewarding my staff, but this is an ongoing goal. Moreover, this year, I’m going to be making some critical staffing additions to help my business grow.
6. Take care of my health. Health is basic to all our other endeavors. If your body and mind are not healthy, you won’t have the energy or capability to achieve business success.
What can you or I do for your personal health as it relates to business? Make sure you carve out enough time to exercise, eat healthfully, and get enough sleep. These are business necessities, not just personal indulgences.
7. Enable others. As I examine my life, it turns out that my most important calling is to enable others to become financially independent and create good jobs through entrepreneurship.
With so many people unemployed, my efforts are needed now more than ever. So in 2011, I am going to devote even more of my energy and resources to helping people become self-employed, start businesses, and create jobs — in whatever ways I can.
May 2011 be a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for you, your family and friends, and your small business.
Rhonda Abrams is president of The Planning Shop and publisher of books for entrepreneurs. Her newest is the 5th edition of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies. Register for Rhonda’s free newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com and “like” The Planning Shop on Facebook for updates. For an index of her columns, go to
smallbiz.usatoday.com. Twitter: twitter.com/RhondaAbrams. Copyright Rhonda Abrams