5 New Year resolutions to make as an entrepreneur

5 New Year resolutions to make as an entrepreneur 

By: Mark Anthony Karam
Thought Leadership

Many people make the decision to set New Year’s resolutions for themselves, a way for them to place solid goals to work towards over the next twelve months. As an entrepreneur, you’re no stranger to setting business goals and KPIs to steer your progress, so why not dabble with some New Year’s resolutions of your own? 

The end of the year is a time like no other. Faced with conclusions of every kind, we are forced to look back on the previous twelve months, reflecting on all that’s transpired in our personal and professional lives - the good, the bad, and everything in between. 

For many, it is a time of self-reflection and improvement, as we look past the hassles of family, work and day-to-day struggles to ruminate over the big picture. For many of us, it becomes a time of self-actualisation, where we can finally set our sights on who we want to be, and how we will set out to become that person. 

For an entrepreneur, this sentiment takes on a slightly different meaning. In many ways, your business is an extension of yourself, a projection of your aspirations, dreams and passion, conveniently packaged under a brand name. So as that clock inches ever closer to 12 am, you contemplate not only your own hopes and concerns for the next 365 days, but also your company’s, the fruit of your labour and hard work. 

Many people make the decision to set New Year’s resolutions for themselves, a way for them to place solid goals to work towards over the next annual period. As an entrepreneur, you’re no stranger to setting business goals and KPIs to steer your progress, so why not dabble with some New Year’s resolutions of your own? 

Here are some resolutions you can set for yourself and your company that could pay dividends in ways that you might not expect.

1. Be realistic, but look ahead

Starry-eyed entrepreneurs with bold claims and allegedly market-shaking innovations are a dime a dozen. While we can’t fault their enthusiasm, as it requires an impressive amount of drive, conviction and willpower to launch your own business, this attitude can be quite trite to be on the receiving end of at times, and it’s energy that could be well-spent elsewhere.

Every entrepreneur wants to be the next Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, and while we admire the sentiment, it would be more productive to focus on being realistic, while keeping a hopeful, positive outlook for the future. 

“It is easy to have a dream, but far more difficult to take the long road to make it a reality as it is slow and requires discipline and patience” - Andy Ayim, investor and entrepreneur.

Just look at Uber. After being in operation for nearly 12 years, it finally turned in its first operating profit last month. For years, financial analysts had hailed down on the US firm for scoring in the red year after year. Tesla is an even more extreme example. During January of 2021, the electric car maker reported its first-ever full-year profit, “a feat 18 years in the making.”

Both companies kept their heads down for years when they were still no-names, put in the work, and persevered with a vision in mind. So at your next company meeting, adjust your sales targets, refocus on your core values and offerings, and hone in on what works for your brand. 

“If you build it, they will come.” Just build it realistically, with room for growth and towards a clear vision.

2. Embrace a learning attitude

When you’re in charge of a company, it can feel like you’re on top of the world. Power does indeed corrupt, and it’s important to recenter yourself as an entrepreneur, and the best way to do that is to embrace a learning attitude. 

Power comes from a sense of believing you have control, whether over yourself or others, as well as knowledge. What we don’t realize is that this mindset can dull your senses, feeding into arrogance and ignorance, which can derail a company faster than anything else. Confidence and self-belief are great qualities to have as a leader, but when you lose the capacity or will to learn out of a misplaced sense of position and stature, you stop growing as a person and as an entrepreneur. 

“Learn, unlearn and relearn” is the mantra of modern entrepreneurship, crucial in a world as fast-changing as ours. To stop learning is to stop changing, and to stop changing is to cease to exist as a business. 

So in the new year, attend that seminar, read that book, and take that workshop with your team. Entrepreneurs can never stop being learners, lest they wish to stagnate and fail.

3. Make your business work for you, not the other way around

As the founder of a startup or SME, it can feel like you are working three full-time jobs, especially if you’re an early-stage enterprise.

There’s a common saying that describes operating a business to running a marathon: it’s about consistency and balance culminating into steady progress. While it’s common for business owners to brag about their packed schedules and short sleeping hours, slow and steady wins the race. There’s no such thing as a 40km sprint. 

So as the new year dawns, invest in working smarter, not harder. Invest in tech that saves you and your team work hours and cuts on superfluous processes. Set micro-goals to work towards. Don’t feel too proud to ask for help. Get organized, and set procedures in place that simplify elements like the consumer journey. 

4. Learn to disconnect

While we did say that your business can feel like an extension of yourself, it’s still important to disconnect from time to time. Just as you would meditate to disconnect from your worries and thoughts, disconnecting from work can similarly offer you a reprieve and much-needed balance. 

Trust is the basis of any successful relationship, and you need to be able to trust your company -  your team, the brand, the processes you’ve put in place - to function without your input. Delegate tasks to your most trusted members, sign that paperwork ahead of time, and set clear goals for the company to work towards, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that you’ve engineered a well-oiled machine that is able to stand on its own feet without constant overwatch from your side. The sooner you learn to do this, the sooner your company will be able to come into its own. 

5. Be thankful

While this is as cliche as it gets given the time period, there’s a reason it is among the best lessons you can remind yourself at year’s end. The year has passed. It might have been difficult. It might have been prosperous. Most importantly, it is over, and you, your team, and your company have made it through. That’s a feat in and of its’ own. 

Be thankful for your own success, but also be thankful to the people that got you here, and carry this sentiment with you across the whole year. Congratulate an employee on a job well done, lift up your team, support them when they reach out, and you and your company will soon reap the results if you are genuine in your gratitude. 

“You don’t just show up during the holidays and suddenly become ‘The Gratitude Guy.’ Reminding employees that they matter, that they are heard, and that they’re appreciated should be daily, weekly, and year-round leadership behaviour. There’s still a great deal of power and meaning in simple but sincere words and phrases like ‘please,’ ‘what do you think?’ and ‘thank you,’” Scott Moore, Global CMO, Mood Media reflects in a quote to the Enterprisers Project.

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