The end of the year is a good time to reflect on your business's progress over the past year and plan how you want your business to develop. Do you want increased success in the coming year or more chances to enjoy the success you've achieved? These top New Year's resolutions are designed to help you do both: strike a better work-life balance and increase your business success in the New Year.
1. Learn to Delegate and Do More of ItThere are so many things to do when you're running a small business, it's easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we're so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else. Let someone else do some of the tasks for a change. Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance.
2. Promote Your Business Regularly and ConsistentlyToo often the task of promoting a small business slips to the bottom of the to-do list in the press of urgent tasks. If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. One of your top New Year's resolutions should be to hire a marketing expert or take the time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through. Try some of these low-cost ways to promote your business to get started.
3. Make Business Planning a Weekly EventPlanning is vital if you want a healthy, growing business. Business planning lets you take stock of what worked and what didn't work, and helps you set new directions or adjust old goals. So why do it just once a year or once a quarter? Set aside time each week to review, adjust, and look forward—or even better, make business planning a part of each day. Not only will this help you avoid costly mistakes and stay on track, but you'll feel more focused and relaxed.
4. Learn Something NewWhat you choose to learn may be directly related or completely unrelated to your business. Learning something new will add to your skills and add a new dimension of interest to your life—another important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance and increasing your business success. Business consultants, trainers, and business coaches can help set you on a path to adopting new skills. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may meet new and interesting people, who may become customers, colleagues, or friends.
How will you find the time to learn something new? Delegation.
5. Join a New Business Organization or Networking GroupThere's nothing like talking to other business people for sparking new ideas, refining old ones, and making contacts. Whether it's a group specifically designed for networking or an organization dedicated to a particular type of business, in person or over the internet, making the effort to be a part of a group will revitalize you and your business. Approaching networking events with a strategy will make your next time out a more successful experience.
6. Give Back to Your CommunityThere are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Those who give get. Nothing will seed and grow goodwill for you and your business better than giving back to your community. So make one of your top New Year's resolutions to find a cause that matters to you and give what you can. Make this the year that you serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in your community that try to make the place you live better.
7. Put Time for Yourself on Your CalendarIt's so important to take the time to recharge and refresh yourself; a healthy work-life balance and your small business's success demand time out. All work and no play is a recipe for mental and physical disaster. So if you have trouble freeing up time to do the things you enjoy, write time regularly into your schedule to "meet with yourself" and stick to that commitment. If you won't invest in yourself, who will?
8. Set Realistic GoalsGoal setting is a valuable habit if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Resolve that the goals you set will be achievable, rather than unrealistic pipe dreams that are so far out of reach they only lead to frustration. If you have trouble setting realistic goals, there are ways to map out a formula that makes sense for you.
9. Don't Just Make Do; Get a New OneIs there a piece of equipment in your office that's interfering with your success or something that you lack that's making your working life harder? Whether it's an old fax machine that's a pain to use or the need for a new employee to lighten your workload, stop putting off getting what you need. The irritation of making do just isn't worth it.
10. Drop What's Not Working and Move OnAll products aren't going to be super sellers, all sales methods aren't going to work for everyone, and all suppliers or contractors aren't going to be ideally suited to your business. If a technique, product, or business relationship isn't working for you, stop using it. Don't invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.
BONUS- Four Photography New Year’s Resolutions You Should Adopt for 2019
Another year has come and gone, and as such the time has come to reflect on the road ahead. BSBD is launching a new business platform: we’re refocusing our work dedicated to our wedding photographers! We know your business and want you to succeed. With that being said, we will be adding bonus content for you creatives to get solid business information and advice from. With the New Year just a few days away, now is the best time to do some soul searching and adopt some resolutions that will help improve your photography going forward. This road is often a challenging one, based on the forever hunt for ever greater photographs. With the goal of always improving our craft in mind, these New Year’s resolution suggestions will help get you out to an amazing start in 2019.
Focus Less on the Technical and More on Story
Photography has such a deep technical element to it that we often let ourselves get lost in it. It can be all too easy to find yourself focusing on f-stops and pixel peeping when the photo is actually suffering from poor creative direction. As photographers, your goal is not technical perfection, it is compelling storytelling through the lens. Going into 2019 I challenge you to take a step back from the technical aspects of shooting. Simplify your shoots so that the technical burden is lessened so that you can refocus on creative storytelling. Your results may be marginally less perfect but the resulting images will almost surely be more compelling.
Make a Commitment to Do as Much in Camera as Possible
As content-aware features in applications such as Photoshop become increasingly intelligent, the instinct to simply fix many issues in editing continues to become stronger. This is working against the quality of your work. Sometimes fixing in post is the only option, but when it is not the better solution is almost always to get it right in camera. The vast majority of photographers began because they had a passion for creating imagery with the camera. Post production is simply a means to an end. Unfortunately, many photographers spend far more time sitting in front of a computer screen than looking through the viewfinder. By becoming more adept at solving as many issues as possible during the shoot you can vastly reduce the time wasted in Photoshop allowing you to focus on what you love.
Refocus Your Creative Vision Based on Your Creative Goals
When a photographer gets their first camera and initially starts shooting, everything they do is based on creative self-discovery in directions dictated by the photographer's inspiration. Unfortunately, in the beginning, it’s common they lack the technical skill to effectively execute on that vision. As time moves forward they expand their technical skill set while becoming more aware of the expectations of others in relation to what "good" photography is. These expectations tend to wear away at the pure creative inspiration that first drew us to photography. In 2019, make a point of trying to push those expectations from your mind so that you can focus on creating images based on the creative goals that you find compelling. You might find that you are able to find magic within your own style that you didn't even know existed.
Stop Letting Social Media Dictate Your Self-Worth
Social media has become a truly brutal double-edged sword for photography. On one hand, it has both empowered photographers with exposure opportunities as well as educational channels that have never before been available to photographers. The unfortunate downside of social media, though, is that the currency of likes and follows has a nasty tendency to become a driving force in how and what we shoot. Instead of shooting to scratch a creative itch, far too many photographers find themselves shooting so that the little counter under their name becomes a bigger number. While this can be a boom for business-minded artists, it can have a horrid impact on the motivation to create images that inspire us. Going forward make a point to maximize the positive benefits of social media while actively working to mitigate the negative impact it can have.
To a Better YearDon't forget to celebrate! Have fun, enjoy the holidays, and take some time to simply enjoy shooting for the sake of shooting. Let go of all the stresses of photography and simply create. Even if you never show the images to anyone, right now is a great time to leverage some time off to recharge. You never know, you may end up creating your best photo of 2018 on the eve of 2019.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is like maintaining a good relationship; you have to keep working on it. But if you apply these top New Year's resolutions throughout the year, you'll not only feel better but you'll have more energy to put into your business and make it the success you deserve.