January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, setting targets and preparing for the year. But what kind of resolutions are entrepreneurs setting for 2017? We caught up with a few to find out…
“Last year, I was reminded that face-to-face networking is equally important as online and that it is vital to nurture relationships in a natural way – people do still buy from people,” Rebecca Newenham, founder of virtual agency Get Ahead VA, says. “My business resolution for 2017 is to have meaningful interactions – to spend time with the right people, to read the right material and not to worry about what other people are doing. My time is precious and I intend to make every second count.”
To help make sure she achieves her goal, Newenham says that she’s already analysed how she spent her time last year and this year she will prioritise activities that are productive over things that she should leave behind in 2016. She adds: “We produced a goal wheel for 2017 which I have printed and mounted on the wall in my office. That way I am constantly reminded of the tasks ahead.”
Through 2016 Amy Jordan, founder of POP Content, had a similar experience and learnt the importance of being personal in business. “Business is built on relationships, and I found it much easier to get more leads and business when I switched from being a faceless brand to one with warmth and personality,” she says. “You’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea; but being bland and faceless sets you up to be no-one’s first choice.”
This year, she’s resolved to be more organised. “I love working on my own business and marketing, but it has fallen to the wayside a little when I’ve put clients’ work ahead of my own,” she admits. “I feel like I could make much bigger strides if I was more organised and set aside specific time to work on my own things.”
To help her, she’s set up Google’s Gsuite and calendar to help schedule and organise her time. “All I have to do now is pencil in the time to pencil things in properly!”
For Kate Gaskin, director at Right Angle Events, 2016 was a big year. It was the year that saw the business expand in terms of staff, turnover and profit, range of products and countries that they work in. As such, her resolution for 2017 is to ‘rise above the rest’. “In a crowded market it is important to put your head above the parapet,” she says.
For The Sterling Choice, 2016 was a year where they brought in lots of new team members – director Lukas Vanterpool says that they tripled in size. “Now it is about the continued development and upskilling of our people in order for them to achieve their potential,” he says. “We invested heavily in our training and induction programme for new starters, one thing that will be the focus now is taking our consultants to the next level and training them more on people management and account management.”
Stu Campbell, founder of Mash PR, says that he doesn’t normally set resolutions. “I think it puts a huge amount of unfair pressure on the individual,” he says. Instead, this year he’s committed to focus on running “a smarter thinking and operating business”. He says that he’ll be looking at “what we actually do, how we do it and how we can make it better” and applying that model to everything.
“Another small change we’ve made is that we now do ongoing appraisals – which the team prefer immensely, as they work towards progression at their own speed, without the huge hurdle of a six monthly performance appraisal,” he adds. “This is achieving more and our rate of growth is on a steady upward curve.”
For Scott Sherwood, founder of TestLodge, his aim is to improve the core of his product – and that means more time coding. “One of the main bugbears I encountered through 2016 was just how easy it is to get distracted,” he says. “So much happened this year, the news alone was enough to send your mind wandering. We have a real culture of listening at TestLodge, to our users and our associates – but sometimes that can distract from the work you already have planned.”
To combat this, Sherwood’s cutting down on the external distractions. “This isn’t about necessarily withdrawing from other things as it’s important to be able to switch off at times, but more about keeping a culture of focus when work needs to be done.”
What New Year's resolutions have you set for your business? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @Virgin.
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