a "Happy New Year" party hat

5 Ways to Make the Right New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

176807825A New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year. (Wikipedia)

As 2013 comes to an end, people will be making resolutions, from losing weight to saving money to volunteering more. Unlike individuals, though, businesses often forget to take time to reflect and set goals for the year ahead on a company-wide level.

Here are some tips to help you create the right New Year’s resolutions for your business.

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Andy Bailey at Petra Coach has taught us the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Each goal should have an assigned owner and a plan, include a way to track your progress, and have a time frame or end date. They should also be goals that you know are possible to accomplish – with serious focus – and that are relevant to your large, long-term business objectives.

2. Learn something new.

You know your business better than anyone, which means you probably know where you need to improve. The world is changing every day, and your industry is no exception. Become an expert on a new technique, product or process. Attend a conference, read a book, participate in webinars. Then come back and share your knowledge. You multiply your expertise exponentially just by telling your colleagues what you know.

3. Give something back to your community.179230227

As mentioned above, one very popular personal News Year’s resolution is to volunteer for a local organization. Translate that to your business and make it a company-wide initiative. Find an organization that matters to you and your co-workers and donate your time. Pick angels from the Salvation Army, set up a toy drive, or find a local organization that strikes a chord with you. (For Parthenon, it’s Our Kids, and you can read all about them here.) Not only will you help improve your community, but you’ll build the team dynamic as everyone rallies together around something they believe in.

4. Do more.

Vow to be more productive. Not just you, but your entire organization. Learn the time of day you do your best work, when you are the most focused, and schedule important tasks and meetings for those times. Take breaks, as they help you stay on task when you are focused. Set a realistic deadline and track your progress. Here are some other tips by business leaders to help be more productive at the office.

Parthenon flag football5. Have fun.

Schedule time to hang out with your co-workers, and don’t feel guilty about it. A company where people are happy is a company where they want to stay, so building in fun is an easy way to boost retention and rejuvenate your workers. But you have to make time for it – at Parthenon, we schedule one hour of fun every two weeks (yes, seriously). Sure, we have fun at other times, but we’ve learned that if it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t get done, so we put different people in charge every month and we see what happens. We haven’t been disappointed yet.