Last week, we looked at New Year resolutions of 30 small business owners and entrepreneurs for 2010. The response was well received and a lot of readers actually told me that the list inspired them on where to get started with their own business resolutions for 2010.
Apart from drafting a plan and resolutions to grow your business, you should realize that as an entrepreneur or business owner, you should be improving yourself continuously on different aspects of business.
21 small business owners and entrepreneurs from last week’s blog posts have agreed to share how they plan to improve themselves in 2010 so that they can become a better leader and manager for their business.
Learn and Tap Web 2.0 Opportunities
I am looking to improve myself by learning more about the power of social networking. I am amazed at the capabilities and branding opportunities from Web 2.0 initiatives, and this seems to be the most logical – not to mention, economical-way to market your product and service in the 21st century.
I have already hired a Director of New Media who has experience with Web 2.0, but one of his responsibilities is to train me to be more involved with this new medium.
Thanks: Todd M. Schoenberger, Managing Director, LandColt Trading, LLC
Work Hard Towards Success
I want to continue to recruit talented writers, photographers and artists as contributors. We’re planning to reach out to prospective advertisers upon the release of our first print edition – these would be companies that share Dunce Cap‘s target demo of under-45 city dwellers and sympathizers. It’s no secret that publishing is incredibly competitive these days, and we’re not blessed with trust funds nor a kindly deep-pocketed benefactor.
Everyone invested in Dunce Cap has an outside source of income, and whatever gains we make in the next year will come off the sweat of our backs. Hard work, organic collaboration, outreach and networking – that’s the model we’re using, and we hope it’ll bring us big things in 2010.
Thanks: Ben Fuchs, Publisher, Dunce Cap Quarterly
Build a Better Team and Acquire New Skills
First and foremost, I want to focus on building the right team to grow our enterprise. We are hiring a director of sales and plan to add our outstanding team of freelancers to more permanent roles. I want to ensure that I keep our collegial culture in tact while bringing in new talent. We want Behind the Burner to continue to be an organization where people can grow and learn, while having fun.
I plan to craft a strategic plan for 2010 so that I can stay focused on key initiatives and not get sidetracked by ancillary opportunities. I also plan to spend at least 2 hours a month getting 1-on-1 business coaching from my mentors who are successful entrepreneurs. I want to discuss my daily challenges and issues and get their advice and guidance on these matters.
I also plan to become a more web savvy entrepreneur as I will be educating myself further on search engine optimization and search engine marketing as we grow our presence online.
Thanks: Divya Gugnani, Founder and CEO, Behind the Burner
Give Back and Getting Back the Focus
It sounds a little malicious to say, but as an entrepreneur I need to become more "selfish." With already a tightly packed Google Calendar directing every single one of my daily appointments, I still feel obligated to speak at events at my school, Drexel University, speak at entrepreneur events, attend fishbowls and networking sessions, awards lunches and dinners, and the like.
As much as I truly enjoy doing all these, and i try to give back to my school as much as possible for all their help with the development of my business, I need to start taking back "my" time and work on the actually product and the business that has gotten me all this attention. Not only that, I need to start sleeping more!
Thanks: Bradley Ericson, CEO, 3SecondReceipts
Focus on Income Generating Activities
The number 1 area I want to improve in myself is to be wiser at how I spend my time. I need to stop doing busy work that does not generate income (i.e. checking my email 25 times a day, playing on Twitter too much) and focus my time on the types of activities that generate income and growth for my company.
This means delegating more of my non-income producing work to other employees (or outsourced contractors) and focusing my time on activities that grow my company – publicity, marketing, and sales.
Thanks: Peter Geisheker, CEO of The Geisheker Group Marketing Firm
Improve on Human Resource Management Skills
To sustain our growth in 2010, I would like to expand our recruiting and hiring practices. In addition to matching skills, experiences and career objectives, we will also work with a number of HR experts and staffing agencies to use new hire assessments, meaningful interview questions and personality tests that will allow us to assess employees using criteria that is important to the culture of our business.
Thanks: Crystal L. Kendrick, President, The Voice of Your Customer
Delegate and Focus on Strategic Growth
I hope to bring on more support staffs and delegate some day-to-day responsibilities so I can focus on the strategic growth of Mom Corps and our franchises.
Thanks: Allison O’Kelly, CEO, Mom Corps
Strive Forward to Fulfill Company Purpose
I would like to improve communication and organization among our employees in order to complete an ambitious list of projects, maintain a high level of customer service and improve the reach and effectiveness of our advertising efforts.
The ultimate goal remains the same as it was on day one: be the best and easiest place to find quality private instruction. With our WyzAid program, we hope to make the same service available to qualified non-profit organizations.
Thanks: Andrew Geant, CEO, WyzAnt
Improve Conversion and Pitching Skills
The area that I’d like to see improved is my conversion rate from website visits to phone calls to actual appointments. My closing rate of sale, from face to face meetings, is about 95%, but I need the former to get those meetings.
I’m also working on a series of email responses (not auto responses, but along the same idea) that will send press releases about me, testimonials, and articles about picking an officiant. I am also working on a "juicy initial offer" that will be presented at the in person meeting.
Thanks: Celia Milton, Wedding Pastor and Celebrant, CeliaMilton.com
Maintain Work/Life Balance and Continuous Learning
In 2010, I would love to run this business in a balanced way while I create an authentic life for myself, rather than carrying out a “role” (my last job in government seemed to require that). I will also spend time developing my creative writing skills and learn all I can about bookkeeping and taxes.
Thanks: Joyce Wilde, Organizer and Transition Coach, Joyce Wilde Services
Learn How to Say No! and Focus
I’d like to be more focused on a few things instead of a little bit focused on a lot of things! It’s so easy to dive into every request I receive and explore new opportunities, but I’d like to create concrete strategic goals to stick to and let the other things fall off if they’re not in line with those goals.
As an entrepreneur, it’s hard to say no to anything, but I’m seeing now that saying yes too many times can lead to a business that is not profitable and growing! In essence, I want to put on tunnel vision, but maybe the sides of the tunnel are made out of mesh so I can still see what else is out there?!
Thanks: Angela Lussier, 365 Degrees Consulting
Build Relationships with Charitable Foundations
As a business owner, my goals for 2010 are to expand productively in the beauty industry. I would like to build strong relationships with charitable foundations who’s missions are to aid women and families to live a better life. I want to empower all women to look their best and take care of themselves.
Thanks: Ebony Sparks, Etsetera Lash Studio
Close the Gap Between Owner and Employees
I want to be more involved in my employees lives. I make it a point to be truly interested in their lives outside of work, but I want to expand on that. I feel that it can only help employee relations and make them more motivated to do a great job for Virtual Assist USA.
Thanks: Danielle Cuomo, Owner, Virtual Assist USA
Learn How to Let Go and Build a Leadership Team
I would love to grow my capacity to not be in control. Like just about every business owner, I’m a bit of a “control-a-holic”. To successfully scale a business, the owner must learn to let go of things to systems, intelligent business controls, and a core team of leaders who run parts of the business.
In order to accomplish that, I will continue to develop my leadership team and help them be better business people and business leaders.
Thanks: David Finkel, CEO, Maui Mastermind®
Become a Professional Paid Speaker
I’m improving myself as an entrepreneur by getting training on how to become a professional paid speaker. I think that training is essential to success. A business owner or entrepreneur needs to be learning new skills related to business all the time and the best way to do that is get involved in training of some type that fits your professional goals.
Thanks: Taylor Ellwood, Business and Social Media Coach, Imagine Your Reality
Manage Teams and Selecting Potential Leaders
As a small business owner, I’m involved in every aspect of the business, which can make it difficult for me to focus on other areas, such as business development.
One of my goals for 2010 is to step back and have key players on my team take on more leadership. I hope to change the company dynamics where team leaders can report to me directly. I think this will result in greater company productivity and free up my time to forge new relationships, partnerships and areas of growth for the company.
Thanks: Mary White, BnBFinder.com
Help Others with Professional Development
In 2010, I am making a personal commitment to professional growth of the students and associates around me. I believe it is ok for people to “not know” as long as they know they “don’t know”. With that realization I want to help people preserve with integrity to always continue learning as they strive to reach their goals and vision. I feel this is best demonstrated by working closer with people helping them to see what they don’t know and helping them to overcome.
Thanks: Mario Tricoci, Founder/Owner, Tricoci University of Beauty Culture
Acquire Better Listening Skills and Go Green
In art, it is important to project a strong personality, but it is just as important to be a good listener. I want to get better at listening to my clients to understand more clearly what they expect from me.
I also want to establish some new working relationships with Green Entrepreneurs. For many years, I have put forth visionary environmental designs. I want to work with some green manufacturers this year to turn some of my concepts into reality.
Thanks: Pablo Solomon, Artist and Designer, PabloSolomon.com
Support the Small Business Community
As a small business owner, I know it’s important to provide support to others to ensure we all move forward as a community together. We already have initiatives in place to enhance our firm’s non-profit and outreach efforts in 2010.
Thanks: Ed Lubbers, Partner, Lubbers & Borg
Understand Social Media Integration for Business
One area I really hope to improve upon in 2010 is my own understanding of implementing social media into our more traditional marketing efforts. While I have set up a Facebook and Twitter account for my business, I know that I am drastically under using them as a marketing tool. My goal in the coming year is to become an expert in using them to augment any of the more traditional marketing methods I may be using.
Thanks: Matt Robison, Owner, Jump Around Fun Zone
Balance Work and Life
I definitely want to get a clear boundary between work and personal lives. I’ve been working on both of my companies non-stop and it has seriously killed my personal life. I went on a date a few months ago and the guy asked what do I do for fun. I completely blanked and couldn’t remember! All I could remember was work!
Working non-stop also burnt me out. It becomes more and more difficult to muster up energy to work. Or worse, feeling uninspired. I also don’t have time for things that enrich my soul. Because of that, I have become unbalanced and stressed, which affects work. It’s a vicious cycle.
Thanks: Cindy Lin, General Manager, EcoJoe
What Are Your Self Improvement Areas for 2010?
How are you planning to improve yourself in 2010 so that you can become a better entrepreneur? Are you going to learn a new skill? Will you be talking to your employees and customers more? Perhaps you might want to improve on your writing skills!
Share with us your self improvement areas for 2010 in the comments section below.
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Photo Credits: mikebaird