2012 has just begun and in an effort to help inspire more prosperity in the business year ahead, I have asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of entrepreneurs, advisors and experts to share their New Year’s business resolutions. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some of the same ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. More COWBELL!
I must keep a better focus on what my clients want -- not just what I think they need!
2. I'll Scratch Your Back...
Collaborate! In 2012, I'm going to open a cooperative for authors in Missouri. By bringing together 30-60 authors, collaborating on marketing and promoting each others' books, we'll reach a multitude of readers that would never have otherwise found us. We'll collaborate on staffing the store, offering classes, and helping new authors to write the book of their dreams. By collaborating in 2012, we'll help people realize their dreams.
3. Strategic Partnership Rules
I know that what I have built at Inkandescent PR and Be Inkandescent magazine is valuable to our clients and readers. But I also know that I don't have all of the skills and resources needed to turn my firm from a consulting company into a big business. So in 2012, my resolution is to sell my company to a larger firm with more resources, gobs of experience in a complimentary field, and also has a team of professionals to take my baby to the next level. Here's to finding the tipping point!
4. I Will Become a Water Dragon
Taking my cue from the Chinese zodiac, my resolution for 2012 is to be more perceptive by being fully aware in every moment. 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon. Water calms the Dragon’s fire, allowing the dragon to see things from other points of view, be more observant and perceptive, and see with more clarity. Decisions made with well-researched information and better collaboration with clients, who feel appreciated and heard, will equal better, more tangible success.
5. Same Resolution, Follow Up
More business is lost by simply not following up. Call, write and do whatever you need to do, but follow up. If you don't, these qualified leads you have acquired will simply buy somewhere else.
6. Passion = Plan + Play
I resolve to keep my passion of developing young people into forward thinking leaders in front of me, so while I work my plan, I can also play (have fun). My passion is about ending how we set both young and old up to fail. This only wastes human potential. In the summer of 2012, I am unleashing a new solution that will support both young people and their parents, while working to reduce the national college debt and increasing local economic opportunities.
7. World Domination
To increase our global student base through recognition and presence by translating our mastery courses into Chinese, Russian, Latin American Spanish, and Brazilian Portugese. This will be accomplished by launching web sites in each new language.
8. ''The House that Love Built''
Enchanted Makeovers is an award winning non-profit that is recognized internationally, we are not a series of “decorating” projects; we are a movement to transform not only women and children who are rebuilding their lives in shelters, but also to transform those who participate in the giving. Enchanted Makeovers' resolution for 2012 is to secure a National Headquarters that will be used for board meetings, training, seminars, a storage facility and a stronger foundation to grow worldwide.
9. Be Child-like!
I resolve to act more child-like in 2012. I plan to accomplish this New Year's Resolution by:
a) Sharing my lunch with others.
b) Asking people to play with me...walk, yoga.
c) Passing notes...of gratitude!
d) Being fair to everyone.
e) Choosing to laugh rather than getting upset.
f) Hugging and holding hands...often & with gusto.
10. Be Bold!
In 2012, I resolve to step into my power in a bold way by getting off the crazy train of learning, spending money and following others who promise to make me rich. Instead, I will focus on growing my fan base and sharing with them all of my knowledge and wisdom that I know will make a big difference in their lives.
11. In 2012 I'm REALLY going to...
Watch my numbers! Businesses should not be run only by the numbers, but not knowing P&L, balance sheet and cashflow can cause tremendous problems -- especially in an uncertain economy. Knowing the numbers means it is possible to make better business decisions and better business plans. No more excuses!
12. Generate More Publicity
The major business resolution I will focus on in 2012 is spending more of my time generating publicity for my company by providing expert marketing quotes to the media for business websites, blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc. Performing publicity work for my business does not take that much of my time (maybe 30 minutes a day) and the results I have achieved in the past have been outstanding.
13. Focus and Simplify
I think that Orville Redenbacher had it right...do one thing and do it better than anyone else. I have spent the past 10 years doing too many things (in the same field) and can't handle it anymore. So...I'm going to now choose one thing to focus on and do it really, really, really well. And I have to say, I'm looking forward to this next journey!
14. Take MORE Time for Yourself
As small business owners, we often try to do it all. New Year’s Resolutions are an opportunity to add even more to our proverbial plates.
The result is often higher stress, increasing levels of dysfunction, and burnout.
Instead of setting resolutions which add to your to-do list, looks for things to take off your list. Find ways to make more time for yourself next year.
When you give yourself the gift of time away, you will often find yourself to be more productive when you are back.
15. Don't Break the Chain
When asked how he comes up with so many jokes, Jerry Seinfeld is reported to have said he writes at least one joke - every day. He marks his calendar every day he does so and he 'never breaks the chain'. I make it a priority to do at least one thing every day to move my current goals forward. After all, even big successes are just a lot of little successes added up. It doesn't seem like much, but it's amazing what it adds up to at the end of each year when you never break that chain!
16. A Time for Play
There's supposed to be "a time for everything under the sun," but I've not had that be the case. This year, I want to schedule time for myself and family just as I schedule time for my business. Although Campground management is, by nature, a 24/7 type business, I plan to do a lot more delegating, outsourcing and training of capable individuals to enable free time for myself. All work and no play makes for a less than ideal hostess and operator. Bring it on...2012!
17. Do it in 30 Days or Say No!
In 2012, you will get to start lots of new things. Pick carefully, because your success will be measured by what you finish, not what you start. Consider adopting this New Year's resolution:
If you can't finish it in 30 days, don't start!
18. Be Bold, Triple Your Goal
Opportunity abounds for those who seek it. Grab your team and dream bigger than before. Establish your goals and implement the steps and training to make it happen. Go big. Anything is possible. You have nothing to lose, but success itself. Don't worry about the past. It doesn't matter if it's never been done before. So what? Go for it and make it happen.
19. Highest & Best
My New Year's resolution for 2012 is to take a few moments each morning (following my daily ritual of meditation, good breakfast, exercise & reading) to look at my "to do" list and narrow down my activities to the three highest and best actions for the day. In other words, which three, if I got them accomplished would make most of, if not all of, the others moot points? Which three are on the fast train to achieving my goals? Then I will do those & if time/interest allows, I will do some others.
20. Marketing a "BRAND" New Me!
My Business-Related New Year's Resolution for 2012 is to market the various aspects of my life that connect to and that will expand my brand. By having so many gifts, talents and abilities that can be pulled out of all my experiences in life, I have decided that I am going to focus on marketing the totality of who I am and not just the few aspects that I have in the past. Next year, there is going to be a "BRAND" new me and some brand new opportunities that are going to come along with it! Excited!
21. Speed Matters
Don't hesitate. Don't wait for perfection. Make the resolution to not put off what needs to get done now. The market doesn't wait. The competition doesn't wait. Buyers don't wait. While you're getting your act together, life goes on. You can either control it or be controlled by it. Act now. Time is your most valuable asset. The sooner you start realizing and institutionalizing it, the sooner you'll start doing what you need to do. Speed matters.
22. Marketing MY Brand!
The adage about the shoemaker's son is definitely true. Those of us who market other people's brands for a living sometimes forget to sit back and realize how our own brand has evolved and changed. With those changes, new marketing is required, to keep people updated and continue to let people know our compelling stories. 2012 will be the year to let people know how CMYK Solutions has evolved and the added value we can provide our customers. Best of the season everyone.
23. Reach Work Threshold!
This year, my main goal is to reach a threshold in the amount of work coming in, so that I absolutely have to hire another person. Looking to expand my company from a 1 man operation to a thriving 5+ employee business with a physical location, I'm gonna need ubiquity (which will bring the extra work)!
24. Election Year Participation
Next year, I am going to be more involved with influencing friends and customers to support political candidates who appreciate Capitalism. Young people seeking jobs and careers must be taught that entrepreneurs form the backbone of America and they are the real job creators. I will also invest more time and effort to influence politicians to make decisions that are in the best interest of business development.
25. Build Community, Build Team
Society is changing through politics & social media. Businesses working for the greater good are becoming more important than ever. My community service work was always to teach job seekers how to land the job they desire. When the economy fell, I wrote the book, HIRED! My New Year project will be a fundraiser effort with a partner to teach the skills while raising funds for MS Research, and building a specialty hospital over the long term. Together, we will reach more communities than ever.
26. Get Out in a Bigger Way
I'm not interested in being a best kept secret. So, I'm always exploring the best way to reach athletes and coaches with an innovative, easy and fun approach. I am committing to building more video into my game plan for 2012. It's the #2 search engine and on the rise. Now is the perfect time to use video to add value, high content and build relationships.
27. Think Big, Bigger, Biggest!
We all know about setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) but this year, think bigger and biggest! Take your goals and explode them. Want to see a 25% increase in sales? Great! Now figure out how to manage a 75% increase too! Writing your first ebook on the list? Super! Now plan out how to publish your first in print book while you're at it! Big steps are just that, a step in the process and if you can't see it happening, it won't! Big results come from big plans!
28. Get Dirty Work Done First
Do the thing you hate the most first. This is not new, but easily forgotten — or pushed out of mind. There are many other important items that come along that can easily take unnecessary priority over the dreaded task I am avoiding. It can be anything from a complex proposal to an unpleasant phone call, but in reality, the longer I put it off, the larger it grows and more stressful it becomes. The sooner it gets done, the sooner I get back to productive work.
29. Sell Myself Tall
Everyone says stop selling yourself short. This year, I am going to sell myself tall. It is easy to make decisions based on short term needs. But to be successful, you need to make decisions based on long term goals. Don't take the small fish if you are going after the big fish. When you sell yourself short, you can't see above the other heads to gauge where you are. Sell yourself tall and see above the crowd until you can see your goal!
30. Recycle Used People
New customers are almost always harder and more expensive to acquire than to solicit repeat business from a customer (someone who has already trusted you enough to use your services or purchase from you in the past). Don't be shy about it; ASK for referrals of their friends, too. You may not double your client base, but it is certainly possible to pick up 10%, 20% or more from a well constructed direct mail campaign to current and former customers who add their friends.
31. Attract More Web Site Visitors
Keep content fresh and specific to the traffic you want to attract. Don't hire a "ninja", a "guru" or a "rock star". Great content calls for a great content creator- namely, a storyteller who knows your business and sees the world through the eyes of your customer. You see it through the lens of your product. There's big difference! Happy, prosperous New Year.
32. New Years SchmooYears
For your business, do NOT make any New Year's Resolutions for 2012! Most people don't keep them, so why make them? The most successful business owners have a vision that they strive towards and make goals on an ONGOING basis. You don't need New Years to do this.
If you must make one, then resolve to go unplugged (cell phone, iPad and computer) at least 1 day per week. You'll be SHOCKED at the sanity you'll regain!! Plus, you'll learn things about yourself that you would never imagine.
33. Get it in Writing
In 2012, I resolve to get the specs and conditions in writing for every job before work commences, even if it’s a long-standing client or my best friend. I will prepare an agreement and get it approved before beginning work. Otherwise, a "he said, she said" situation could result, possibly damaging a friendship, business relationship, reputation – and payment.
34. Success Breakthrough
The 21st century is the century of Authentic Leadership. My New Year's resolution is to initiate a Leadership Makeover Movement. For this purpose, I am going to launch a live training event called The Success Breakthough Live Event through which business owners, corporate executives, and teams will imbibe authentic leadership in their personal and professional life and become clear on their path to long-lasting success with inspired people. If you believe in this vision, join the movement.
35. 2012 Countdown
One of my business-related New Year's Resolutions for 2012 is to increase networking connections. I strongly believe that having great connections with individuals and businesses within your industry is a dynamic approach to personal branding and marketing.
Happy New Years!
Thanks to: Faithe Rogers.
36. The Vital Skill of Stopping…
You must establish the habit of building & refining the marketing systems of your biz. You must start, but also stop. Set a goal to work on marketing 30 min. to an hour a day. EVERY DAY! But you must stop at the end of the allotted time. If you don't, you'll let other things slide to keep working on your marketing project. Then, you'll let the marketing slide to play catch-up on the stuff you let slide before- not a good way to build a habit. And a marketing habit is what you absolutely need.
37. Scheduled Learning Technology
Since we are running like a mouse on a treadmill to keep up with the changes and advances in technology, I have made a resolution to learn one new form of technology each week. I'm not about to get left behind.
38. Powerfully Concentrated
My resolution is to concentrate all of my efforts this year. I'm going to take the most direct path, do things as easily as possible, narrow my focus, simplify my strategies, and use everything I can in as many ways as possible.
I'll concentrate my knowledge for my clients so they're getting the best and brightest without having to wade through a bunch of watered-down stuff.
This doesn't mean that I won't dream big or reach far - it just means that I will do it in a more powerful way.
39. Aggressive Internet Marketing
My new year's resolution is to implement an extremely aggressive internet marketing campaign that will help increase business exposure and attract more clients and referral partners. An extremely aggressive internet marketing campaign will help take my business to the next level and propel business revenues into the stratosphere!
40. Coming to America!
I have one main New Year's Resolution, but it is kind of a big one. The soft floating rubber duckie was invented in America. It's a unique form of Americana like Jazz. Now, every rubber duck is made outside of the USA. So, for this coming year, in January actually, I'm bringing the whole rubber duck industry right back to the USA and to Ohio where it all began. I want to try and make a difference not just for me, but many others in this country. I hope this is just the beginning!
41. New More Affordable Offerings
Taking into consideration client needs, I am designing group calls to make my services more affordable to the average person in the coming year. I am putting together an entirely new concept to be able to heal more people than I can on an individual basis. The new direction will bring healing to a whole new level by reaching many more than typical one-on-one sessions. The resolution is to be able to heal 50 participants on the phone at once.
42. Listening to ME!
I've already started doing this, but this coming year, I will adhere to it all the time. What it is, is that every time I went ahead with something because in my head it was figured out, even though within me it did not feel right, I always got burned. After getting burned a number of times, as of late when I started to go with my gut instead of my mind, it always worked to my benefit.
The bottom line: staying closer in touch and listening to my inner feelings for me is the way to go.
43. Set the Stage Upfront
During the first 18 months of running my own business, I've made the mistake of not setting specific boundaries with clients.
As a start-up entrepreneur, I wanted to provide "over-the-top" customer service, which meant taking calls at any time and offering free advice for months after doing the work.
One client recently rang and asked questions for 45 minutes. When he rang back the next day, I told him I'd need to charge for more support and he got angry...go figure.
Set the stage upfront!
44. Re-invent Yourself
Change, grow and re-invent yourself every day in the new year. Each new day provides an opportunity for growth. Discover new and unique ways to adapt, improve and thrive. Explore and discover your world, but invent your life. Define your work in a manner that creates the narrative of your professional life that you want read. Face each challenge optimistically. Deal openly with every client and task and leave a positive impact.
45. Ignorance is Bliss
I have made the New Year's goal of ignoring the economic downturn. Too many people are focused on the rough economy and forget that many of the most successful businesses are built during recessions. Don't let the current state of things fool you; this recession will end and you can either be riding the wave of success or crashing into the rocks of defeat.
46. Focus and Glance
For 2012, I resolve to focus on:
*positive clients & employees whom I enjoy & that increase my productivity
*positive results I can duplicate successfully
*positive trends I can strengthen and grow
For 2012, I resolve to glance at:
*negative, Eeyore Vampire clients & employees whom I will fire asap
*negative results I can learn from while eliminating the experience
*negative trends I can stop and recalculate
Consistency! This is the single best piece of advice that you should be incorporating into every aspect of your marketing. Make a resolution to be consistent with everything that you put out and when you do so for your marketing.
48. Hit NY Times Best Seller List
I will focus & take action daily to gain free publicity, utilize social media, networking and blogging to sell out every one of my 2-day "Feel Good Now! And for a Lifetime" workshops that I'll be launching in the first quarter of 2012, while also using the same platforms to take my newly released (11/11) book, "Mastering the Art of Feeling Good" to the top of the best seller list to mark that I have provided a good message to many people. CAMPAIGN "FEEL GOOD" is destined to help millions!
49. Time to Make the Products!
My New Year's Resolution is to finally launch my product line and to treat the project like a client, setting aside time each day until it's completed.
50. Answer Your Phone! Be There!
Selling isn't a 9 to 5 job, but is an all encompassing job where you must be available 24/7/365. High accessibility is the key component of business relationships. Being available to clients in the evening and on weekends shows your utmost commitment. Resolve to demonstrate your accessibility by providing your e-mail address or after hours cell number so that a customer can contact you with a question and know they'll receive a prompt response.
51. Ridding the World of Scrolling
Wading through email is a massive time vampire! Nothing irks me more than a long-winded email - one you have to print, highlight and re-read just to get the point. I've decided in 2012, if I want to rid business of long email, I must be the change I want to see in the world. So, I'll stop writing business emails that require the reader to scroll. Imagine the productivity if all business communication had to be to the point!
I'd tell you more... but I am close to a scroll point!
52. Don't Pre-judge
In the New Year, I will try not to pre-judge the motives of those who oppose my views and initiatives. Sometimes, when I get to meet someone with an adversarial opinion in person, I realize the conflict I got all stirred up about doesn't amount to all that much. I will be much more open-minded about motives in the next year.
53. Trust & Delegate!
Dream big & trust that I will get what I need to meet my goals! A large part of that will be delegating to others who are experts at what they do, so I can concentrate on what I do best!
54. Learn the Physics of "Magic"
As a theme/water park owner, I get interviewed a lot. We're adding Mammoth, the world's longest water coaster, in 2012 with uphill propulsion coming from linear induction motors (LIMs). The easiest way to describe a LIM is to liken it to a magic carpet. Knowing reporters won't be particularly impressed with that explanation, my New Year's Resolution is to study with our engineers until I have a good working knowledge of LIM technology and can easily explain it to reporters and park guests.
55. Sailing Beyond the Horizon
I will extend my planning horizon to 3 years out. I typically plan just for the next year, but now find that is no longer adequate. With a 1 year horizon, I just do more of the same, rarely pushing beyond my comfort zones. With a longer horizon, more creativity, challenge, excitement and vision will show up in my planning... and life. The question moves from “What do I want/need to do next year?” to “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
56. New Year's Resolutions?
I used to make New Year's resolutions but I don't anymore. Resolutions are too easily broken. However, I will strive to do bigger and better things in the forthcoming year. It can be difficult to do so because of things out of my control, but if I work at it, good things just might happen.
57. A Bigger Playground for 2012
One of my 2012 business resolutions is to create a bigger playground for our business. For us, a bigger playground means: extending our circle of influence, collaborating and joint venturing more, supersizing our philanthropic activities, learning from those I aspire to, and stepping up our game!
58. Update Your GPS
Update your GPS - your Goals, Purpose and Success for a more focused year! As with any GPS system you must from time to time install the latest updates to function effectively. You can function just fine without ever updating your GPS, but you will not rid yourself of operating bugs or correct issues that prevent you from reaching the next level. Next level movement requires updating your GPS - Goals, Purpose and Success. Do it today!
59. Have More Fun!
My new year's resolution is to have more fun... No seriously, the more fun I have doing what I do, the more I get done and the less I tire myself. So, the only resolution this year is to have more fun. You should try it too!
60. Singing Flash Mob!
Flash mobs inspire me - so one goal for 2012 is to organize, publicize, and participate in a "Bohemian Rhapsody" singing flash mob. It will be a case study for using Social Media to promote a viral event! In addition, it will allow me to maximize the relationships I've created through Social Media channels in the two years I've been running my business!
I can't wait!
61. 2012: The Year of Fun!
Remember why you wanted your own business? Let me guess, apart from money and freedom, you wanted to have fun, right? And then, going through sales, taxes, and networking, you got really busy and... forgot about the main reason you have your company. Think back to those days when you first came up with the idea. Resolve to rediscover that buzzing feeling and energize yourself with it. You will see that the creativity levels will go sky-high and you achieve much more. And you will have fun doing it.
62. To Do Less Work
I know it sounds a little crazy, but hear me out- I think by doing less work, you can make more.
This year was really busy- that's great, right? But many of the projects we did were small and took up large amounts of time because we love to create high-quality videos instead of assembly line garbage- that meant a lot of late nights and weekends.
In 2012, we'll say no to stuff that doesn't help the bottom line very much and do more big, interesting projects.
63. Treat Others the WAY They Want
My business goal is to treat all clients, prospects, businesses and associates as they want to be treated by understanding their needs and speaking with them honestly and with integrity.
I want to eliminate, where possible, miscommunications, misunderstanding and confusion. I want to be clear in my expectation of them and have them help me be clear of their expectations of me.
64. Meditation Resolution 2012
I resolve to meditate for at least 10 minutes every day to enjoy the strength, stability and clarity meditation can bring to me and to my business.
65. Outgoing Customer Service
In 2012, we want to make sure our customers are 100% happy with our services. Part of this entails reaching out to them in forums, social media, and review channels to see how we performed and how we can perform better.
I believe that an enjoyable buying experience is the best strategic advantage against competitors. And I hope in 2012, my company succeeds in gaining that advantage.
66. Focus on Customer Relationship
It is said that the customer is the king. This is true, since the ultimate objective of all business endeavors is to increase the customer base so as to sell more products and earn more profits. As the business owner, my focus for 2012 would be to offer more satisfaction to the customers. I will put in serious efforts to mingle more with the customers so as the get their valuable feedback. This will help me in making the necessary changes in the product line, marketing and distribution in 2012.
67. Respect Your Personal Time
Having a business that you can run from anywhere offers the entrepreneur incredible freedom and flexibility. The caveat is that if you’re not respectful of your time boundaries, you can end up working all the time from just about any location! My 2012 intention is to have clearer boundaries between work and personal time. I am choosing to respect my free time and not use it as extra time to get one more thing done. Instead, I’ll actually relax.
68. Learn to Say Goodbye
Change is hard. And bidding farewell to practices you've become accustomed to- even bad practices that no longer work for your business-can be hard. But do yourself a favor for 2012 and take a hard look at elements that really work and those that have simply become habit. Scrap those elements that have produced little yield and replace them with new practices that will advance your business. After all, you don't want comfort, you want growth in 2012. Happy New Year, all!
69. Making a Difference in 2012!
Through my business, I will impact the lives of others like never before. I have always wanted to be more benevolent. Next year, I will be.
I plan on teaming my business goals to include outreach and involvement with organizations such as Habitat of Humanity, Make a wish Foundation, Samaritans purse, helping to build water wells in other countries, etc.
Do you have a business-related New Year’s Resolution that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!