January eNewsletter

Happy New Year! Welcome to our January business eNewsletter focusing New Year Resolutions for your business.

Quote of the month:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

In this Issue…

New Year’s Resolutions for Business Owners in 2019
By Taylor Wright

The new year is the perfect time to take stock and set goals for the year ahead. You may have plans to eat better, exercise more, or finally take that trip to Europe you’ve been talking about forever. For business owners, making new year’s resolutions can significantly impact their success. Here are a few of our favorite new year’s resolutions for business owners in 2019.

1. Find a Buddy

This may be the most important item in this list of new year’s resolutions for business owners. The American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability. They found people are 65% likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Pretty good increase. That chance of success increases to 95% when they build in ongoing meetings with their partners to check in on their progress. That’s a huge difference!

Bottom line: write down your goals, find a buddy, and then make sure you regularly meet with them. You’ll be checking those items off your list faster than ever!

2. Communicate Better

Essentially, turn your focus to quality over quantity. You can blast out 10 Facebook posts every day and retweet all night long, but there are ways you can connect with your current and potential clients better by doing less. Instead, focus on posting interesting, timely information that encourages your audience to interact with you or share your content.

Quick ways to do this:

  • Respond to comments on your posts.
  • Leave comments and like content on other pages.
  • Include personal notes on pictures or posts that you share.

Take the time to make a few real connections every day and you’ll see your relationships strengthen.

3. Extend a Hand

Think back to when you were first starting out in your career. You were probably excited and hopeful while simultaneously feeling nervous and unsure. Did you have support, or could you have used more?

One of the best new year’s resolutions for business owners is to pay it forward. Reach out to someone in your industry just starting out and who could use mentoring or a sounding board for advice. Your generosity will not go unnoticed, and you will be seen as both an expert in your field and as a person people want to work with.

Not sure how to find someone? LinkedIn has a great feature called Career Advice. Answer a couple quick questions and they’ll match you with someone based on your preferences.

4. Think Ahead

As you think about your new year’s resolutions for 2019, consider 2020 and beyond. Just the idea of this task can seem daunting, so start by making a list or marking up a calendar. You can go the old school paper route and find a planner to use. If you prefer to keep things digital, check out some of these goal tracker apps.

Write out what you’d like to see your business become. Include goals both personal and professional you’d like to achieve. Think about what steps you can take to make those dreams a reality. Use this plan as a motivator to stay on track with goals throughout 2019.

Interested in digging into improving your project management? Check out these tips from a pro.

5. Prioritize Balance

The workday for a small business owner doesn’t always end at 5 pm on a Friday and pick up at 9 am on Monday. In addition, burnout is on the rise. Burnout affects both your mental and physical health, so it’s important to make sure you take the time you need to recharge.

Great ways to work in balance:

  • Exercise as often as you can.
  • Spend time with people you care about.
  • Get some sleep at night.
  • Carve out time for yourself.

Shifting even a small percentage of your free time to yourself will have big benefits. With your mind refreshed and your body energized your personal success will benefit.

6. Consider Delegation

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are used to doing everything, but should they? Shifting work to someone else can be difficult, especially for those who are used to wearing every hat needed to run a business. However, delegation can open you up to focusing on what you love and what you do best.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you dread doing?
  • What overwhelms you?
  • Can someone else do in minutes what takes me hours?

The answers to these questions may lead you to work that you can and should delegate to someone else.

If delegating marketing is one of your new year’s resolutions for your business, let OutboundEngine’s automated marketing help. Click here to set up a live walkthrough and find out how we can help you succeed in the new year.

Read this article at the OutboundEngine

New Year’s Resolutions: Small Businesses Share Their Goals for 2019
By Salesforce Essentials

We’ve reached the time of year when people review the last twelve months and plan for that next trip around the sun, often resolving to focus on things like exercise, weight loss, and self care. It’s equally important for businesses – especially small businesses and startups – to assess their progress and set new goals. Study after study shows that, like people, businesses that identify their goals are more likely to achieve them – and the secret sauce to achieving your goals is writing them down in a clear and measurable way.

Because it’s helpful to hear what others are thinking, we asked several small business leaders to share a few of their business resolutions for 2019. Perhaps their lofty goals will inspire you to develop a list of your own. Enjoy!

Focus on Inclusive Leadership

“In 2019 we’re focusing on inclusive leadership. Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their national industry median, and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform. Lunar Startups has audacious goals for the next 5 years, and we see the development of a diverse and inclusive environment as essential to our success.”

— Danielle Steer, Managing Director, Lunar Startups

Share Knowledge

“In 2019 we resolve to reduce the number of times we have to say, ‘I am not the all-knowing Magic 8-Ball of ICS+.’ It takes time and mental energy, and just frustrates the team member who holds that particular piece of knowledge. So we’re going to focus some resources on developing an internal knowledge base and employee online community.”

Bernard Morgan, President Lead Developer, Intelligent Control Systems +

Adopt a Nonprofit

“In 2019 we’re going to adopt a nonprofit that we support not just financially, but also with our time and resources. We’ll also encourage our staff to take a full work day to volunteer for an organization of their choosing during the year.”

Natasha Miller, Founder & CEO, Entire Productions

Define Goals Quarterly

“Our 2019 resolution is to roll out a quarterly Objectives and Key Results (OKR) process. We’re also thinking about a new North Star decision making process: WWGD, or “What Would Gritty Do?” And we vow to launch our first annual Office Dog Olympics – no participation trophies allowed!”

— Rick Nucci, CEO, Guru

Take Time for Professional Development

“In 2018, we started a no-recurring-meetings-on-Fridays policy. Now any meeting scheduled on a Friday must be a brainstorm focused on innovation, improving results for clients, or improving the way we operate internally. These ‘Brainstorming Fridays’ have been a great success and a positive way to end the work week. For 2019, we’re evolving Brainstorming Fridays into personal and professional development. We’re asking each employee to purposefully set aside 1-2 hours every Friday for things like Trailhead courses, conferences, volunteering, and training. We believe providing time and structure for personal development will help employees boost their knowledge, expand their thinking, and realize the company cares about their futures.”

— Debby Rizzo, CEO, Revenue Storm

Create a Healthier Work Environment

“A basic resolution is that I want to create a healthier food work environment for our team in 2019. Right now we have way too much junk food on hand.”

— Clarence Bethea, Founder & CEO, Upsie

Optimize the Customer Experience

“As a customer-focused organization and an app of apps, we’re dedicated to designing for, listening to, and partnering with customers to come up with smart solutions that drive business value. In 2019, we’ll focus on reliability to ensure that our customers have the access they need, when they need it.”

— Courtney Harrison, Chief Human Resources Officer, OneLogin

Improve Resource Planning

“My business resolution is to spend more time on resource planning. Our dynamics shift rather quickly, which means we need to analyze the underlying business drivers to stay on top. Getting the drivers right will make or break the year and solidify our investment strategy, hiring plan, and growth expectations.”

— Aric Bandy, President, Agosto

Build a Community

“Being in Minneapolis, an annual business resolution is to extend our reach geographically from coast to coast, but specific to 2019, our resolution is to put together a better community engagement plan and then implement it.”

— Caroline Karanja, CEO, 26 Letters

Prioritize Philanthropy

“Building on our message of inclusive communities, one of our New Year’s resolutions for TONL is to give back to local charities surrounding art and photography.”

Karen Okonkwo, Co-Founder, TONL

Keep the Calendar in Check

“Reducing our carbon footprint is always a personal and business resolution, but this year I also resolve to calendar more time for myself. I say yes to too much and need to be more disciplined about saying no to things that aren’t critical. I’ve compromised my wellbeing for things that ultimately don’t need to happen now.”

— Jessica Barrett, Managing Director, Pymetrics

Improve Relationships

“Several of our resolutions for 2019 have to do with increasing engagement and facilitating relationships with both our external and internal parties. To get there, we plan to boost our social media exposure and implement a customer community.”

— Patty Mah, CFO, Rethink

Add Retirement Planning

“This year we’ll switch from a simple retirement plan to a traditional 401k so our employees can put more aside for their retirements. We couldn’t afford or justify a 401k plan before, but now we’ll be able to open up the amount of retirement savings everyone can do and we’re doing a matching program to support our employees both to thank them for their incredible work and to invest in their future.”

Natasha Miller, Founder & CEO, Entire Productions

Develop a Culture of Learning

“The future of our success lies in our ability to create a culture that’s all about learning and adapting, so a major part of our 2019 plan is centered around empowering our employees with the tools and resources they need to improve themselves.”

— Courtney Harrison, Chief Human Resources Officer, OneLogin

Read this article SmallBizTrends.com

4 IT New Year’s Resolutions to Start 2019 Off Right
By Juliet Van Wagenen

From bridging divides to seeking out value, here’s how you can build a better foundation for tech in the new year.

Between managing assets, staff, budgets and expectations, businesses and IT departments have a lot to tackle on any given day. So, it’s not surprising that despite best intentions, best practices and systems often fall by the wayside.

“The greatest mistake businesses make is that they neglect IT,” says Greg Schulz, senior advisory analyst at technology advisory and consulting firm StorageIO.

But it isn’t just businesses that prevent IT from reaching its full potential.

“One of the greatest mistakes IT departments make is that they neglect themselves,” Schulz continues, noting that often IT is focused on improving the workflow for other departments and not for themselves, which can leave data and practices siloed and inhibit innovation and transparency.

But with a new year ahead, there’s no better time than now to refocus the lens on IT and commit to your business putting its best tech foot forward. Here’s a few places to start:

MORE FROM BIZTECH: What will 2019 hold for business tech?

1. Bridge Barriers Between Business and IT

To start off on the right foot, IT teams and business counterparts cannot live siloed existences; they must understand each other’s needs and capabilities in order to implement the most efficient and cost-effective tools available.

“Business needs to understand IT. But, more important, IT needs to understand the business,” says Schulz. “It’s business that needs to take the lead, grab IT by the shoulders and immerse them into the business so they can learn and understand what it is business is doing, so IT can support the business better.”

For IT teams in particular, this collaboration can help them, among other things, determine the difference between wants and needs, which can inform investment.

“IT often thinks they hear the business say ‘we need,’ when what we often are hearing is ‘we want.’ There’s a big difference: I need – I’ll pay for it; I want – you’ll pay for it,” says Schultz.

A strong relationship between business and IT can help make these discrepancies clearer and help teams forge a cleaner and more direct path forward when it comes to IT investment.

2. Invest in Value, Not Just Technology

Many companies make the mistake of looking at IT as a cost center and not as an innovation center, says Schulz.

“But instead of just seeing the department as overhead, they should instead be investing in IT and in that infrastructure, looking at where they can derive value,” he says.

This means focusing not just on how to get by with the least amount of investment, but how to actually get the most from an investment. Especially for small businesses, it can be tempting to go with the cheapest option when selecting new IT solutions or services. But the least expensive option may not actually offer your business the best bang for its buck.

“There’s often a focus on cost cutting at the expense of waste and rework. But the opposite of cost cutting is not overspending. What the organization really needs, wants and should be doing is focusing on cost removal and maximizing the value per dollar spent,” Schulz says. He notes that often investing in something that costs more on the outset can actually save money in the long run because it will work better and require less maintenance.

VIDEO: How IT can meet user demands in the workplace.

3. Encourage a Healthy Cybersecurity Culture

Security is paramount to the survival of any business, especially because breaches can seriously cost companies. The billion-dollar question, then, is what does it take to shore up defenses?

While security software, strategies and next-generation security tools are vital to building strong defenses, what’s paramount is creating a culture where all employees and departments feel responsible for helping to ensure cybersecurity.

“As we move to more software-defined systems, we also begin to see all these software-defined threats. Some of which are technology-based, but most attacks involve some amount of the human element,” says Schulz. “Most attacks involve behavioral engineering – phishing, spoofing or even physically walking into an office.”

The best antidote against these types of attacks is to encourage a strong culture of cybersecurity.

“If you see something, say something,” says Schulz. “That has to be the mantra, not just for physical security, but for cybersecurity within a company as well. People have to feel comfortable participating.”

4. Innovate IT from the Inside Out

Sticking with the same old IT is a recipe for ending up with antiquated and legacy systems. Meanwhile, seeking out emerging tech for no reason other than to stay on the leading edge can be a sure way to end up with unnecessary investment.

While businesses should always be looking to innovate, they need to do so carefully and thoughtfully, taking smaller risks along the way without letting systems run out of control or stagnate.

“Leverage new technologies in new ways, not in old familiar ways. And on the flip side, use old technology in new ways. Start evolving it,” says Schultz. “Learn from the past so you don’t make those same mistakes in the future.”

Read this article at the BizTechMagazine.com

Most People Fail to Achieve Their New Year’s Resolution. For Success, Choose a Word of the Year Instead
By Maria Tabaka

80 percent of us will fail to achieve our New Year’s resolution. Join Melinda Gates and others around the world by choosing a word of the year instead.

If you’re one of those rare people who actually achieve your New Year’s resolution each year, congratulations. Seriously, you are rare indeed. According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be about 80 percent, and most lose their resolve by mid-February. If this is true, it’s clear that there is nothing wrong with us; the problem is in the tradition itself.

Why Resolutions Don’t Work.

You’ll find psychologists and research firms online that cite any number of issues to explain away this massive failure rate of 80 percent. Anything from lack of clarity to setting expectations too high. I agree, but I think there’s more to it than that.

One problem is the psychology behind the word itself. Resolution. It’s a strong, demanding word. It screams, I must! It’s a demand that we place upon ourselves, and there is no room for failure. Yet, failure is pretty much inevitable. Most of us simply don’t respond to this word, and when we don’t, we feel disappointed in ourselves – even ashamed. Why, oh why, would anyone do this to themselves?

We are Unreasonable about Resolutions.

Have you ever started off the new year resolving to do something that either you’ve never succeeded at before, or haven’t done since a major life change? Ask yourself if your New Year’s resolution coincides with who you are, as well as where you are in life. Are you asking yourself to be more disciplined about your business by achieving a list of things you’ve never done before? Bad approach. It’s likely that it has nothing to do with a lack of discipline at all, it goes deeper than that. Perhaps you lack passion, clarity, or inspiration. This is where the focus needs to go.

Try a New Approach.

Here’s what I’ve done for years, and it works. I’m in good company with Melinda Gates and many others who practice this far more effective, gentle method of creating positive change.

Identify a word of the year. Yes, a single word that reminds me how I can fully support myself in creating a positive life change and achieving my most important goals. A word of the year can also identify something that you need or want to equip yourself to move to the next level of success.

Examples of a Word of the Year.

Four years ago, I was stuck in a business model that was no longer working for me. (Yes, even coaches get stuck!) I struggled to find the answers, even though I knew that struggling with something never works. My mind needed to relax to allow the answers to occur to me; the tension created by my mental struggle was pushing these answers aside.

In one word, what I needed was clarity. There are many ways to define most words and my definition of clarity meant that I would relax and trust that the answers would come. That I would soon be absolutely clear about my next steps.

I wrote the word on heart-shaped sticky notes and put it everywhere. I repeated it like a mantra many times a day. And, most effectively, I created a little statement (you could call it a prayer or intention) that I read out loud twice a day – before sleep and upon waking.

Within three weeks I woke up with the answer. As the solutions occurred to me, I knew, with absolute faith, that these changes would work. Within days I’d made the adjustments to my business model and they began to work almost immediately.

Melinda Gates chose the word, grace, for the second year in a row. “What I love about grace, at least the way I define it, is that by pulling us up out of ourselves and onto a higher plane, it makes us more open to the world, to new experiences, to each other,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “It creates connections and encourages empathy,” she said.

How to Determine Your Word of the Year.

Determine your realistic goals.

Think about the things you’d like to achieve this year. Be realistic and be kind to yourself – don’t tempt failure by burdening yourself with unrealistic expectations upon yourself.

Identify what will inspire and support you.

Now think about who you need to be to feel inspired and develop the character to achieve these things. What mindset will help you to move forward? For me, clarity meant that I needed to let go of the worry, still my mind, and trust that the answers were right in front of me and would surface at the right time. In 2016 Melinda Gates chose the word, gentle. It functioned as a reminder to go easy on herself, to fight the pull of perfectionism, and to encourage others around her to do the same.

What one word encapsulates what you want and who and how you need to be to get it? What is one word that describes the mindset that best supports your overall goals? What word might inspire you to be your best self? Because, when you are your best self you will achieve your goals.

Here’s what to do once you select your word of the year.

Get creative.

This year I am creating a piece of art to hang in my office, one that visually captures my word of the year. What creative means can you use to keep your word top-of-mind throughout the year?

Write about it.

Define what your word means to you. One simple word can capture limitless inspiration and many meaningful feelings. Your definition will go far beyond what the dictionary has to say about it.

Use your word as a mantra.

Whether or not you create an affirmation, prayer, statement, or whatever works for you, use your single word as a mantra throughout each day. See it in your mind’s eye by creating a mental image that captures its meaning.

Share it if you like.

Sharing your word could serve a purpose. For some, the act of putting it out there on social media, #wordoftheyear, is like a proclamation of intended success. Sharing your word with your partner or best friends may give them an opportunity to support you in some way.

Let go of the resolution mentality.

The word of the year process is meant to be a gentle one, but don’t confuse gentle with weak. In my personal experience, as well as many of my clients and social connections, this is a powerful practice. It’s far more effective to gently focus on a word like “health” than to command yourself to get to the gym. As you inspire yourself toward good health, it’s likely that you will find a way to achieve it. Make sure that your word feels good to you, not pushy and demanding.

What will you choose as your word of the year? Tweet it! Hashtag it. Include me in your tweet so I can mentally support you, @MarlaTabaka.

Read this article at the Inc.com

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