Less than a minute into the New Year, my friends and I were already gushing about our New Year’s resolutions. ‘I am going to lose 20 kilograms’, ‘I want to volunteer more’, ‘my business is going to make more money’: the list went on and on. Fuelled by some glasses of celebratory wine, the evening revolved “You CAN do it!”
Of course, it’s all good and well to make resolutions, but personal experience has proven that 99.9% of the time these pledges don’t materialize. The challenge of transforming a resolution into practice is sometimes too great, especially when that particular resolution itself is not realistic.
So how can you stick to your resolution? Blogger Jamie Dunn says: the easiest way to turn resolutions into tangible result is to keep them clean and simple. I decided to follow his advice and have drawn up a list of New Years’s Business Resolution for 2013. These tips are for myself and every entrepreneur out there to get ahead in 2013.
1) I will stop spending money I do not have. Being an entrepreneur and small business owner takes some, if not a lot, of money. Reckless spending is a big no-no. Invest your revenue in your business, not on a new car you can’t afford. And that expensive pair of shoes, well, it is not the key to entrepreneurial success!
2) I will stop having unproductive ‘coffee’ meetings. My mom once asked me ‘Do you really get any work done when you meet someone for coffee’. Naturally, I gave her a quick ‘Yes mom’. However, truth be told I could do with less coffee meetings. That is why I am, going to try to keep my meetings low-cost and short, and will schedule them at a productive place like – oh I don’t know – an office! Sometimes this is difficult if you don’t have office space, but try to find somewhere that allows you to be productive and not drift from the purpose of the meeting. Having a meeting at a Mugg & Bean, where you end up spending most of the time ordering and settling bills, is not productive.
3) I will respect my social media as a powerful tool for my business. Please don’t have words like ‘hustler’ and ‘business man from the streets’ on your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profiles if you want to be taken seriously. It makes you look stupid. People will not do business with you. On the same note, do not confuse any popularity you may have on social media platforms with success!
4) I will learn to take things in smaller chunks. As much as you would love to think of yourself as Superman, most people (including you and me) can only do one thing at a time. This applies to business too! Focus on getting one company off the ground at a time, and focus on smaller chunks of tasks.
5) I will have an actual to do list. Use project plans or spreadsheets that allow you to zone in on your tasks. This ties up with the learning to take things in smaller chunks. I admit, I struggle quite a bit with this. I usually write my tasks for the day in my notebook, and carry over whatever was not done to the next day. This is not good enough – ever! Find a system that works for you, but have that list and stick to it!
6) And finally, Fire someone. Even if you only have a couple of employees, there is almost always someone someone who is not adding value to your vision and business. One of the greatest stumbling blocks to growing your business is an under-performing employee who sabotages the future of your company. As the boss, you have the right to get people on board who will work for their pay, and help you achieve your goals – are ditch those who don’t. You cannot afford the cost of under achieving employees as an entrepreneur and small business owner.
I would like to close off with a concept Entrepreneur.com came up with to help entrepreneur’s focus in 2013: ‘Don’t write a book, but write a story about a memory. Don’t get in shape, do pick up a 5K run to train for and complete. Don’t get rid of debt, do pay an extra 5% of what you owe next time. Don’t get organized, do review, purge and clean one shelf at a time. Don’t manage your time better, do get used to working in blocks of 15 minutes. Don’t become a better person; do schedule the next volunteer event to spend half a day helping. Don’t learn more, do invite someone you respect to meet for a coffee or lunch five times over the year.’
Last but not least: Be a happy, focused and successful entrepreneur in 2013!
By Ntokozo Khumalo – Ntokozo is an Africa business writer, reporter and producer – and a regular Thought Leader on YBL. She has worked for CNBC Africa, Africa Business Review and eNCA Africa Edition and is passionate about entrepreneurship.She is also the Founder and CEO of Hot Content Media.
Follow her on on Twitter (@NtokozoInStereo) or check out her tumblr page NtokozoKhumalo.tumblr.com