The end of the year is always a time for reflection for me, and I know the same is true for many entrepreneurs. As we share our achievements and challenges with family over the holidays and wait for our clients and customers to return from their breaks, it's hard not to start planning for how to make 2017 your best year yet.
I spoke to some fellow entrepreneurs, marketing masters, business owners and friends to see what they are resolving for themselves, their teams, and their businesses in 2017. Check out their resolutions below and share yours too.
1. Level Up With Masterminds
Grant Baldwin, Founder of The Speaker Lab
Masterminds have been invaluable to my business. Being around like-minded entrepreneurs who can help you, support you, encourage you and even kick your butt from time to time is extremely worthwhile. Being an entrepreneur can be very lonely and isolating, so it's helpful to have other entrepreneurs you can go on the journey with. I've been in the same mastermind for over 2 years now, and it's been one of the biggest factors in our business success.
John Lee Dumas, author of The Mastery Journal: Master productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days
For once and for all, I will FOCUS (follow one course until success) for 4 sessions every day using the pomodoro technique. Thanks to Parkinson's Law, I know tasks will expand to the time allotted, so having a start and end time will ensure I produce quality work in an efficient and timely manner.
3. Set Smarter Goals
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute
I have my goals split into six groupings: Career, Financial, Spiritual, Family, Philanthropic and Physical. Under each area, I've written 3-4 measurable goals that I wish to accomplish, but I write these in the present tense like they've already happened. Then, each morning, I read and review the goals. This activity has probably been the single greatest thing that has improved my life as an entrepreneur.
Byron White of WriterAccess, a marketplace that connects customers with freelance writers, editors, translators and content strategists
We're aiming to take the art and science of listening to our customers wants and needs to the next level, in creative ways. And let's face it, customers are orbiting at high speeds these days, surrounded by lots of marketing noise, so creative tactics are required for success in delivering the information they want, when they need it. Well start our efforts by gathering all our departments together to create and develop a Customer Journey Map that helps us understand what customers are thinking and feeling at various stages of their journey with us, ranging from Discovery to Consideration to Purchase to Perception to Sharing and more. But that's just the beginning really, listening is something all our team members need to practice all the time. And it's what you do with that all that listening that really matters.
5. Invest in YOU
Dorie Clark, Author of the forthcoming book "Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive"
I'm also resolving to spend a half-day each week on in-depth professional development, such as watching a webinar or reading a business book (short form content like blogs or podcasts, which I already consume regularly, don't count!).
6. Give Yourself Permission To Relax
Brian Honigman, CEO of Honigman Media, Content Marketing Consultant
For the last three years I've taken December off to recuperate from the work year, pausing all clients and trying my very best to calm down with email and social media. Most organizations shut down for the last two weeks of the month anyway, so taking off an additional few weeks makes for a lengthy recharge period that every entrepreneur should consider if they have the option.
7. Stop Sleeping With Your Phone
Ben Young, CEO of Nudge, a native content platform
My lifelong goal is sustainable peak performance; how can I always be at my best consistently. So my tip for 2017, get an old school alarm clock, one with no internet!
Two years ago I got myself this beautiful Sony Cube alarm clock, it's the best $22 I've spent in years. Overnight I had removed the biggest excuse for taking my phone to bed, which is so detrimental to sleep. It's way too easy to justify picking it up and checking email, twitter, oh Instagram. Give it a go, go old school and enjoy better sleep.
8. Stop Making Boring Videos
Amy Schmittauer, YouTuber, Speaker and Author of Vlog Like a Boss
Stop making boring videos -- Just because the content exists and you committed to video in your marketing plan, doesn't mean it's helping you. Instead of contributing to the noise of social media, every video should be something so good that you would share it with your own friends and family whether your company had anything to do with making it or not.
9. Be Exceptional
Jay Acunzo, keynote speaker and host of Unthinkable
Spend more time honing and trusting your intuition. Today, it's never been easier to be average. But as a result, it's never been harder to be exceptional. To be exceptional, you have to be an exception to all that enticing, ubiquitous, gospel-like advice. And there's no list article for doing that kind of work. To stand out in a noisy world, you have to trust your intuition. You and your team are the only true differentiating factors, since, in the end, we all have access to the same lists and the same tools. We have to understand, hone, and apply the ability to think for yourself and create more differentiated work.
10. Embrace the Evolution of Marketing
Marketing is transforming into the core of a companies success in multiple areas. As you create more engaging content, it becomes more valuable to multiple areas of the company like recruiting, investor communications, sales enablement, etc. A great New Years Resolution is to look at how you can take some of the engaging content you are creating and utilize it across the company rather than in one area. The winners in 2017 will be the ones that are able to distribute and leverage content in the best ways.
11. Protect Your Time
Mandy Davis, Owner of Ingrain Social Media?
Block out a few hours on a specific day each week to exclusively work on your own social media and blog content. We all get busy with client work or important business tasks and it can be hard to prioritize creating content for our own business. Scheduling a pre-determined time each week will ensure you stay consistent and don't fall behind.
12. Look To The Future
Shayla Price, B2B Content Marketer
In 2017, more businesses should invest in machine learning to forecast trends. There's too much data floating around for humans to process. By using algorithms, marketers can pinpoint the consumers' needs to increase sales and improve customer loyalty.
13. Drive Fast & Take Chances
Kat Macaulay, TAKCAM
Resolution: One of my dads favourite sayings is "Drive fast & take chances" (of course, he's actually a slow driver himself.) Similar to marketers, some of us like to move fast & take risks, trying out new technology and tactics, while others prefer steady & predictable, at least until the new stuff proves an ROI. But in 2017, let's resolve to drop the hammer and take chances on things that aren't mainstream (yet.)
14. Create Your Own Opportunities
Louie La Vella, Music and Nightlife Marketing Expert
When I wanted to break into radio, no stations were hiring. That door was closed for me at the time. So instead of waiting it out and continuing to knock I decided to learn how to produce my own radio show and syndicate it. Great content and a lot of hustle later and I was heard on over 350 radio stations globally. We live in a world where opportunities exist everywhere. Knowledge, learning and the ability to create something out of nothing is at our fingertips. When doors aren't opening, build a new one beside it and break that one open instead.
15. Listen To The Data
Neal Schaffer, CEO of Maximize Your Social?
I will remove emotion from my marketing decisions and base them on the cold hard data. This is especially true in social media marketing, where many have emotional ties to one social network or another, but since social media marketing is a never-ending experiment, we must rely on data to make our best decisions.
16. Stay True To You
Chris Del Grande, President & Co-Founder of ValuedMerchants
In 2017, resolve to be more genuine, more human and to show how much you care.
17. Support The Causes Close To Your Heart
Ryan Bilello, leader of the Succeed with Social Community
Resolution: My 2017 resolution is to use my social channels, brand, and marketing efforts to raise awareness and support for the issues and organizations that mean the most to me; Specifically, foster care, and people who are in need of a donor for an organ transplant.
18. Be Omni-Present & Cross-Platform
Justin Wu, Growth Hacker
The digital marketplace is rapidly evolving with new platforms, mediums and networks. 2016 proved that rapid changes can happen on social network. It is important to now expand your marketing channels to different platforms, mediums and networks to reach your audience. Users are congregating on different places and their behavior might differ between days or even specific hours! Think Livestream, Social Stories, Videos, Blog Posts, and more. Be aware & figure out the logistics on how to run a single channel. Once you figure out you can scale to another. The brands & marketers that will win will develop a process of being able to both create content, syndicate it and engage customers cross-channels.
19. Growth, Growth, Growth
In 2017, I'm looking to at least double the audience (per episode downloads) of Where There's Smoke, giving us the leverage to be taken on by a podcast network. And to hit a significant milestone in my speaking fees; not for the money, but for what it will say about the value I am creating for my clients. One of the keys will be to make time for personal growth and future strategy, and not let current sales/delivery become all encompassing of my business time.
20. Put Your Customers/Users First
Mordecai Holtz, Chief Strategist and Founder, Blue Thread Marketing
Think like the user and market with their needs in mind. Engage with them. They don't want automated content. They want real people!
21. Don't Be Afraid To Go Long
Phil Gerbyshak, LinkedIn Sales Speaker & Trainer, Make It Great Institute
A resolution every marketer should be making in 2017 is to produce longer, higher quality content, with a call to action to get a useful content upgrade, and test and retest to see what is most valuable for your perfect audience.
22. Listen To Your Audience
Karla Campos, Mom Entrepreneur
Marketers and entrepreneurs should make a resolution to listen more. Listening sounds like a kindergarten skill, but it's extremely important in business. Unfortunately listening is many times given lesser value than other job priorities. Employees can get away with ignoring customers because managers/supervisors can't watch employees 24/7. Unanswered phone calls, social media messages, and emails start to pile up. Customer morale begins to degrade. If caring about the customer is not enough motivation for listening, how about the sound of losing customers to the competition? Let us not forget about the importance of listening to customers in 2017. I don't mean hearing/reading, I mean really listening.
23. Lead By Example
Randy Milanovic, CEO of Kayak Online Marketing
I resolve to lead by example. I will keep my mind open to learning and sharing. I will fight for the less fortunate. I will be a positive force in the lives of my family, my clients and their clients. I will strive to make a difference.
24. Think "Human" First
Ivan Temelkov, Chief Human Marketer & CEO of Razor Sharp Digital
Marketers need to forget about selling and focus more on human centricity. Omni-channel advertising will play a huge role in 2017 especially since the average consumer absorbs five pieces of content through different multiple channels during their buying journey. Companies that invoke emotional engagement in their advertising initiatives will have better luck with interest and demographic identification of their potential customers. Mobile will play an even more intricate role and therefore a mobile marketing strategy will become a necessity for any brand. Persona identification in early campaign planning stages will help companies ensure that they are targeting the correct audience.
25. Honor Your Gifts
Ann Marie van den Hurk, Principal at Mind The Gap Public Relations, LLC
I'm not one for resolutions; however, it seems like the right thing to do for 2017. Refreshing focus on me and where I want and need to be in the future since I feel like I am a transformation point in my life. So here goes, my resolution as an entrepreneur is to search out my path where I am using my skills and gifts to affect positive change for people while bringing me peace and happiness... and income of course. Will it be in PR/Marketing? Or something totally different. Or am I already there and just need to become aware capitalizing on it that I can take my business to the next level. At this point I don't know what that is; however, the journey needs to happen.
26. Don't Sell; Help
Fiona Birch, Chief Digital and Social Media Strategist at Tonic Global
"Stop Selling. Help Them Buy.™" Is our tagline and continues to be relevant in a time when Raw is Real and marketers must serve, serve, serve.
27. Put Process First
Monika Jansen, Head Kick-Ass Copywriter and Strategist at Jansen Communications
I resolve to create and master a sales process. Sounds so basic, but I started my business because I'm an awesome a copywriter. I'm not an awesome sales person! I've learned (the hard way) that you can't grow a business without solid processes in place, and unless you are in sales, selling isn't innate. Hence the sales process.
Lakshmia Ferba, Founder & CEO of LMF Consulting Group
Be willing to collaborate with others within and outside of your niche! There are enough clients for everyone!
29. Have A Plan
Rebecca Councill, of CLR Digital Media
I feel that marketers are just jumping on Live Streaming (FB, Twitter, Periscope, SnapChat) with no marketing plan on how to use it. I think that they really need to incorporate that aspect into its own strategy and plan. They are using it as a way to "show" others with they know. But they are doing is SELLING from it. They need to find a way to add value in what they are streaming about.