Editor's Note: Stick to Your Guns

By the time you’re reading this column, one month of the new year will be behind us and there are only 10 more stretching out in front of us (not counting the one we’re in, of course). So how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along so far?

According to a report by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, while 40 to 45 percent of American adults make one or more resolutions each year, a good percentage of them don’t stick to them. After the first week, 75 percent of resolution-makers are still sticking with it. After two weeks it’s down to 71 percent, 64 percent after one month, and after six months we’re down to 46 percent.

I have to admit I’ve never been big on officially making resolutions. When I do, most of the time they are more personal than anything—eating better, exercising more—and I’ve been more successful with that the older I’ve gotten. So, I guess that would put me into the 46 percent who were sticking it out.

But, while a lot of people who make resolutions do break them—as the report bears out—research also shows that making resolutions is useful. People who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t.

What have you resolved to do this year for your business? Or, if you haven’t made any resolutions yet, why not try one of these on for size?

Promote your business regularly and consistently. Too often the task of marketing your own business slips to the bottom of the to-do list. If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. Take the time to create a marketing plan and follow through.

Make business planning a weekly event. Business planning lets you take stock of what worked and what didn’t work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. Set aside time each week to review, adjust, and look forward. It will help you avoid costly mistakes and keep you on track.

Join a new business organization, networking group, or industry association. Whether it’s a group specifically designed for networking or an industry organization, making the effort to be a part of a group will revitalize you and your business.

Create a disaster plan for your business. According to the Insurance Institute for Home and Business Safety, one in four small businesses forced to close because of a disaster never reopens. Business that have a business continuity plan in place—and use it during and after disaster strikes—typically experience less damage, loss, and downtime than businesses without a plan.

Stick to your guns—and keep those resolutions. It just might be good for your business.

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