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Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Entrepreneurs in 2009

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200910) Keep Launching, Innovating and Growing

2008 was a tumultuous year, and most observers agree that we're now in one of the worst recessions in decades.

While the economy may be in for a bumpy ride, make sure you keep it in perspective.  Don't let all the negative news stop you from moving forward with your entrepreneurial initiatives.

History has shown that a downturn can be a great time to start a new venture. General Electric traces its roots to the Panic of 1873.  William Hewlett and David Packard founded HP during the Great Depression.  Microsoft launched during the recession of the early 1980s.  Disney, Oracle, and Cisco, and countless others took the leap during difficult economic times, and reaped tremendous rewards for their efforts.

One reason that recessions provide opportunities for entrepreneurial companies is because established firms decide to cut back on innovation and growth plans.  Don't make that mistake!  The key is to be running and growing your business successfully before the market comes back -- so that when it does, you have gained market share and are poised for explosive growth.  As we've said before, persistence and optimism are critical for entrepreneurial success.

For more thoughts on launching a business during a recession, read entrepreneur and investor Andy Liu's excellent entry The Secret to Starting a Successful Company.



9) Maximize Your Time and Resources


Running and growing a successful business requires that numerous jobs be performed at once, and well.  The start of a new year provides an opportunity to take stock of your most precious commodity: your time. 

What are you best at?  Where do you add the most value? 

Learn how and when to delegate or outsource certain tasks and responsibilities.



8) Build and Improve Systems and Processes

Most successful businesses are successful because they have effective systems in place.  For example, if you walk into any McDonalds across the country, and order a Big Mac, you know exactly what to expect. 

As Michael Gerber points out in The E-Myth Revisited, it’s critical that entrepreneurs build businesses, rather building an ever-increasingly stressful and taxing J-O-B. 

Especially if you're interested in selling your business, you want to be able to walk away from the business and have it continue to run. 



7) Build and Nurture an In-House Email List

Whether you run a dental practice, a restaurant, a software company or a social networking website, chances are you could be getting more out of your website traffic. 

One way to improve the efficacy of your website is to offer an email newsletter via an online email submission form. 

Building and maintaining an email list could be one of the best ROI decisions you make in 2009.  Constant Contact and AWeber are two recommended resources for email communications. And, if you run a blog, you can set up blog-to-email newsletters using services like FeedBlitz.



6) Participate in Online Conversations


If you haven't already done so, start a blog, create an account at Twitter, sign up for Facebook, join LinkedIn... whatever your website or tactic of choice, get online and contribute to the conversations about your industry online. 

Issue press releases using PRWeb.  For an excellent tutorial in online marketing and PR, I recommend reading David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Marketing and PR, as well as his blog Web Ink Now.



5) Meet More People (Out in the "Real" Offline World)

Join new networking groups to establish relationships and potential partnerships with people and firms in your area.  One great way to jumpstart your offline networking is to leverage MeetUp.com.  MeetUp.com has thousands of business networking groups.  If you don't see a group in your niche, you can even start your own.



4) Get a Life (Outside of Work)

It's critical that you take breaks from your business to enjoy life.  Make a resolution to enjoy physical as well as mental vacations from your business every once in a while.  This is not only good for your health and sanity and relationships, it's also good for business!  You'll gain relief the stresses of growing your business, and once you return, you'll be reinvigorated with a new perspective on your challenges and opportunities.



3) If It's Not Working, Ditch It

Let’s be honest.  Not every marketing strategy, fundraising strategy, partnership, or product line will be a winner.  If you tried something in 2008 and it wasn't working, you might want to admit that and move on.  Focus your energy and resources towards those priorities that will deliver the greatest return on investment (both in terms of time and money). 



2) Learn Something New, Again and Again


Make a commitment to continual education.  Stay updated on your industry while branching out into new areas of knowledge.  Read blogs, books, newspapers, and magazines. An easy way to incorporate learning into your every day routine is to listen to interviews, audiobooks and podcasts.  Summary.com is a great, convenient service for integrating business education into a busy schedule.



1) Continually Update Your Business Plan and “To Do” Lists


Update your business plan weekly, monthly and quarterly, depending on what’s changing in your industry and what you’ve accomplished in your business. 

Updating your plan can be a critical factor in both your ability to raise capital and your ability to properly execute on market opportunities.  The sections that typically require periodic updates include the milestones, competition, management team and financials sections.

To increase your personal and corporate productivity, take advantage of tools like Basecamp which allow you to track tasks and milestones online in a collaborative "wiki" environment. 

For a great read on productivity, we recommend The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes.  As Chet recommends, focus on the daily tasks that are most critical to your growth, and keep the daily “to do” list brief (no more than 6 items). 

 

That's it!  I hope you found this list to be helpful for growing your business.  Here's wishing you a prosperous 2009! 

 

What is your New Year's resolution?

 

 


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mhairi nicolson-biggs says

What a timely reminder this article is and how important the start of a new year is to to take a step back and look at your business. Depending on the industry and our is gold and siver (fine) jewellery, the lead up to Christmas is "crazy". We are now taking a step back and seeing what we can learn and how we can improve our business for for our customers, our staff and us, the owners. E-myth has certainly guided us about the importance of systems and processes and as we enter a growth phase in our business these are so important.We are revisiting the exisiting processes to ensure they are appropriate to accommodate our growing business. My passion is the business plan and I am currently working on updating it and setting new goals for the business - this is all very exciting. Just remember however, there has to be balance in business and there has to be family and "me" time to ensure you don't burn out before reaching your goals Happy New Year and I hope 2009 is very prosperous for you. Warm regards, Mhairi Nicolson-Biggs Amante Jewellery www.amante.com.au
Posted at 5:18 pm
Dolley says

That’s more than snesbile! That’s a great post!
Posted at 10:49 pm
xaivyhs says

Posted at 9:23 am

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