Lose weight? Go for Michelle Obama arms? Those kinds of resolutions are for the everyday person. Possibly because many entrepreneurs tend to underemphasize "work-life balance," for better or for worse, most entrepreneurs will devote most of their energy to meeting business goals in the new year. So, in that vein, 2015 is all about resolving to make wise business choices. In 2014, it became more and more important to have a mobile strategy (which means it's time to get that responsive design, app, or mobile version of your website in order). The economy continued to recover, the housing market steadily improved, and "crowdsourcing" became even more of a household word.
What does the coming year have in store for entrepreneurs? That's up to you--but here are a few resolutions to get you started:
1. Improve Your SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO can constantly be improved upon, whether you're a startup or one of the biggest retailers in the country. Since Google is constantly making updates to its algorithm, you're never "done" with SEO. You may want to review some of the best SEO companies out there in case you need help. Many SEO professionals claim that you soon may need to start optimizing for Amazon in addition to Google and other major search engines. Unless you have the top ranking for all of your keywords (you don't), SEO should be a top priority.
2. Maximize Your Deductions and Credits
This can only be done with a skilled CPA. Are you sure yours is up to the task? While many Americans miss out on deductions and tax credits throughout the year, nobody enjoys more of them than small business owners. Start shopping around for a killer CPA if you don't already have one, and meet with them before tax season gets crazy to see where you can save.
3. Get Mobile Ready
Chances are, most every entrepreneur could look at ways to build a more thorough mobile strategy next year, complete with creating a more responsive design for your site. Maybe the site would benefit from a mobile version, or maybe you should add an app to your digital presence. It is highly recommended that your site load beautifully and quickly on every single device (mobile or not) and browser. Your web developer or manager should be testing for this on a regular basis.
4. Revisit Your Business Plan
Whether you just drafted it last month or it's been three years, go back to your business plan and see where you've succeeded, where you haven't, and re-draft it to reflect your current situation. Haven't drafted a business plan yet? Q1 of 2015 is the time to get on it. If you need help, the Small Business Administration has offices around the country that offer complimentary services.
5. Aim for Work/Life Balance
No matter where you are on the entrepreneurial journey, there's a good chance that you're leaning a little too heavily on the work side of this balancing act. If you felt over-worked in 2014, commit yourself to carving out at least one day per week that's work-free, and a certain number of hours per day for sleep (it's crucial!) and no-work, friends/family/hobby time. After all, what's the point in working for yourself if you can't enjoy the life you've built?
What resolutions do you have on deck for 2015? As an entrepreneur, yours might be a little different than others, but as long as they're feasible, achievable, and still a bit of a challenge, you'll be on a better business track by the end of the year. Focus on resolutions that set a better foundation for your business, and you'll ensure that every new challenge (and resolution) goes a little smoother.