Image courtesy of [FrameAngel] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s that time of year … a new year equals new starts. We all resolve to do things differently.
How about really doing something different in 2013? Instead of the same old resolutions, how about some Un-Resolutions?
Un-Resolutions? What are those?
Instead of focusing on a list of things ‘to do' – do better, differently, more of – in our personal and professional lives – let’s think about the things that we know have NEVER worked for us and vow to stop wasting time doing them. That's an Un-Resolution. Free yourself personally, professionally or both.
What might you STOP doing?
No, no, no. That’s not realistic, it’s not achievable and it’s not terribly smart. [You know about SMART goals, right?] How about telling yourself to stop feeling guilty about that piece of really good chocolate you might have once or twice a week? Or try telling yourself to stop bingeing on chocolate? More reasonable, right?
But what about in business? If you are a small business owner, a freelancer, consultant, or an entrepreneur (or just think like one) – What will you stop doing this year?
Un-Resolutions for you and your business:
- Stop thinking it’s about ‘you’.
It’s not. The truth that most won’t tell you is our customers and clients do not care about us. They care about themselves – they care what we can do for them. We’re there to help them solve a problem and that’s what they care about. So stop focusing on you – what degrees you have, what experience you have, what you did lately, and put the language and emphasis on ‘them’. How you are best positioned to be the one to help them.
- Stop making things more complicated than they need to be.
Sometimes that old mantra of KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) is really the best. So think about what aspects of your business are draining you, taking too much energy and time to do – what can you simplify? What can you delegate? Can you hire a virtual assistant for some things? Is a task really essential? Is it truly moving you forward to a specific goal and can you measure what you are getting out of it? It’s a bit like that closet organizer’s trick – if you haven’t worn it in 18 months, get rid of it. Same principles.
- Stop talking just to ourselves.
If you’re a small business owner you can often spend your time just talking to others in your niche. Or perhaps if you’re a really small business owner just starting out you might be taking the ‘talk to yourself’ thing a little too literally!It’s too insulating. Get outside! (metaphorically and literally) Talk to your customers or clients. Talk to friends and colleagues in other fields. Ask them what they’re doing, what’s working and what isn’t. Listen. Talk to people in roles different from your own. Talk to the information tech folks, the marketers, the accountants. Talk to people in fields or interests you don’t know much about – and listen. You’ll likely learn something that can change what you are doing or bring new insights. There are more points of commonality than we all think.
And by all means get out and talk in person as much as possible! And if that’s really, really not your style – then do some research. “Talk” to your customers via surveys, polls, emails and more. Dig up some tidbits from other fields, join a different group on LinkedIn, read a new blog, watch a webinar.
- Stop undervaluing yourself.
Stop under charging. Take yourself and your business seriously, so others will too. [This may be one of the hardest un-resolutions for all small business owners, freelancers or solopreneurs – TheInfoHound included!]. But do the research among your peers and similar businesses and know what you are worth in the market. Know what your time is worth. Stop taking the first offer that comes especially if it’s a lowball one. Target clients who respect what you can do for them – and will pay you appropriately to do it.
- Stop holding on to the past.
Business is different now. Have you changed with the times? Customers are more informed than ever before. Buyers know more before purchasing and a sales person is likely not the first place they turn for information about your product or service. They are studying you. So give them the information they want while they are studying and deciding. They are also talking about you. So go out on the social platforms and listen.
- Stop trying to do it all alone.
Go collaborate with like minds. Partner up, trade services, share recommendations and referrals with synergistic partners. Connect with other small businesses or solopreneurs – some might be in your field, some might be in connected fields who have similar client targets. Figure out ways to mutually benefit each other. Ask what you can do for them. That’s right, it’s not about you (remember Un-Resolution #1?). By offering first to see what you can do to help another business grow, you gain in reputation, credibility and general positive goodwill. And goodwill can be good business.So, what will you be NOT doing in 2013?
h/t to Forbes, for inspiration http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2013/01/02/7-things-marketers-should-stop-doing-today/ and http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemaddock/2012/12/30/ten-resolutions-the-most-successful-people-make-and-then-keep/