Next month brings not just the start of a new year, but the start of a new decade, too. If you've struggled to make or keep resolutions in the past, perhaps the obscure, once-in-a-lifetime fact of the repetition of double digits in the year (the first time since 1919!) will be the thing that makes those promises finally stick.
Whatever it is that lights a fire under you, let next month be one in which you make the changes you've been wanting to make, in both your personal and professional life -- and then see your business flourish.
We gathered our top five paths to improvement so you can take action and make 2020 your best year yet.
If you've recently started an enterprise or gone out on your own as an independent contractor, one of the first things likely to get put on the back burner is your physical health. Early mornings, late nights, and constantly burning the candle at both ends usually mean there's not a lot of time left for exercise, adequate sleep, or healthy eating. In the new year, make a concerted effort to change all that.
Need more of a reason to make the time? Besides being good for everyone, exercise is particularly beneficial to the ambitious. In one study, physical activity was closely linked to the accomplishment of various tasks. Plus, since exercise ups your stamina, with regular workouts you can expect to get more done each day.
As for healthy eating, that drive-through burger and fries might fit your tight budget and hectic schedule, but it's not doing your business any favors. Choosing nutritionally sound foods instead can increase your productivity by 20 percent, according to the World Health Organization. So swap out your deep-fried nosh for fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fats.
Maybe last year you were timid when it came to business decisions. Make 2020 the year you speak up and move courageously. That doesn't mean throwing caution to the wind and splurging on custom-made suits when you're on a thrift-store budget, though, or saying yes to a risky-sounding investment when your inner voice is screaming no.
Rather, it means listening to your intuition and making choices that, while not always a sure bet, point to being the best ones. Have confidence in yourself and your decision-making skills. After all, you've done the hardest part: starting your own operation. As fashion designer Misha Kaura says: “The best tip I have for being confident professionally is knowing your own worth. When applied, this means sitting up straight, looking people in the eye, giving a firm handshake, charging what you deserve, maintaining a positive attitude -- and keeping a private victory log of things you’ve done well. These simple changes have done wonders for my confidence, productivity, and overall happiness levels, and have helped me get to the absolute top of my profession.”
Often, type-A personalities and other go-getters who start their own businesses want to rely on themselves to get things done. That's all well and good -- until it's impossible. “Many business owners make the mistake of growing first and hiring second,” says Jodie Shaw, chief marketing officer for business-advisory consultancy The Alternative Board. “The truth is, it can take six to 12 months to get a new hire up to speed on your business and allow them to acclimate to your culture.”
So not only will the time you spent trying to wear every hat in your business end up wearing you out, it could end up costing you more once you do hire outside help. Instead of trying to maximize profit by not bringing anyone else in, as soon as you start to get stretched too thin and your coffers can handle it, start looking to bring someone else on board. You may well find that with the lightening of your load, you're able to do more successful prospecting and/or expand an existing business. Plus, remember that you can and should still be realistic with yourself and potential employees or contractors about what you can afford when it comes to compensation.
True, exhortations about the evils of letting oneself off the hook call to mind cheesy fitness-center posters and discount-store-notebook covers, but those are popular for a reason. They make a good point. You can always come up with a 'why' for not making a bold move or not starting (or continuing or finishing) hard work.
However, when you look back on your career, you don't want to recall times when you could have forged ahead with something to great success but didn't because you were scared, nervous, tired, etc. So what if the CEO of a company you've been eyeing as a potential customer 'looks busy' at that cocktail reception? Wait a few seconds and find a way in. So what if you're nervous about swinging by a customer's office unannounced to drop off a muffin basket 'just because'? Buy the muffins and go. You have no idea what kinds of future business the gesture could win you down the road.
Remember, less can be more
Lest anyone read this post and conclude there should never be a moment they aren't working, thinking about working, or schmoozing with the hope of being able to start working more, we've saved our best tip for last. As with all things in life, remember that moderation is key to success. "If you’re already an overachiever, have been dubbed a “workaholic,” or are generally exhausted, then you need to slow down and break the habit of setting impossible goals for yourself in the New Year," writes Jacquelyn Smith on Forbes.com. Remember, burnout is no joke, and it could take you months to catch back up if you work yourself into a poor-health situation. To be a successful business owner, you need to take care of yourself first.
It's a new year! Get new (and affordable, convenient, and fully appointed) office space to go with it. Browse Metro Offices locations today to find your perfect 2020 office space.