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10 New Year's Resolutions to Grow Your Business in 2018

Many people make personal New Year's Resolutions. Some even keep them (no judgment). This year, consider making some resolutions for your business. Here are 10 suggestions, each designed to propel business growth in 2018. To succeed, business owners must avoid pitfalls that can cause costly setbacks while building new capabilities each year. I draw on my law degree to keep clients from falling. But my MBA education and construction equipment business ownership experience are what inform my business growth insights. I can't promise that these ideas will help you drop a few pounds, but they will improve your business health. Here's to a happy and prosperous 2018. Call me anytime at 651-484-4412. -- Bill Gschwind
  1. Stay strategically optimistic.

    The odds of reaching your company's greatest potential increases exponentially when you are committed to a clear and concrete destination. By loudly and repeatedly declaring where you're headed and when you'll get there, you keep yourself focused and your team motivated to reach that destination. You have all the resources you'll ever need to take on all the challenges you'll ever face. When the toughest obstacle looks like it will force a change in direction is when the real you will emerge to keep you on track.
  2. Identify the most powerful benefit your company offers prospects, and then deliver it.

    Your prospects will become your customers only when they believe that your company will deliver the benefit they most desire. Take the time and ask enough questions to understand what motivates your prospects. Once you understand that you're not in the business of doing what you do, but instead are in the business of delivering what your prospects want from the things you do, your prospects will become your customers.
  3. Get the business of your business in order.

    Being good at running your business requires much more than knowing how to do what your business does. Real success demands an appreciation for the importance of business fundamentals - accounting, marketing, sales, HR, and yes, production. Contractors start construction companies because they like production, but struggle because being good at 20% of their business will never compensate for weakness in the other 80%. Be great at what you do, and surround yourself with others who can fill in where you're not as strong.
  4. Be habitually generous.

    Success in your business is not something you pursue; it is something that you attract when prospects and trade partners want to do business with you. The more you give of yourself, the more support you'll attract from others. People have a deep-seated desire to give back. The more your company helps others get what they want, the more others will look for ways to return the favor. More referrals, better prices, and higher-quality work are your reward for taking care of those around you.
  5. Eliminate stinkin' thinkin'.

    You will become what you believe you can become. We are surrounded by people with low expectations who think they're doing you a favor by holding you back from unrealistic expectations. "Go along to get along" might be good for a corporate employee, but it is a death knell for a business owner. Resolve to use language of winning, not settling; of constant improvement, not complacency; of challenges to be overcome, not obstacles that prevent reaching your goals.
  6. Be an engaged citizen.

    Government regulations and politics have a greater impact on business success than lots of people realize. Regulations limit one person's performance to advance another person's agenda. Politics is a participant sport; victory goes to those who play. When you find politics distasteful, you turn off and tune out. Business owners can't afford to sit on the sidelines while their opponents engage. Opportunities abound; trade associations and chambers of commerce offer excellent opportunities to meet and engage with others who share your challenges and concerns.
  7. Increase your creativity by letting go of the familiar.

    Nothing holds your business back more than the fear of change. Improving your systems, your forms, your processes, and your expectations is not an admission that you've been doing something wrong. Becoming complacent, too comfortable doing what you're doing, keeps you from becoming what you can become. Try something new. Commit to it. Change is hard, but the rewards are worth it. Renew your purpose by picking one thing you're doing now, and create a way to do it better.
  8. Be the best you that you can be, because the others are taken.

    Seek the advice of business owners you admire and learn from them. That's not the same thing as mimicking what they do. Successful people are successful not because of the tasks they perform, but because of the way in which they approach those tasks. Take what you learn and massage the information to fit your personality and the business you want to build.
  9. Increase your human connectedness.

    We've all heard that it's not what you know but who you know that is the difference between winning and being an also-ran. The business owner with the best connections wins. The better others know and trust you, the more opportunities they will send your way. Building a personal brand that helps others think of you when someone says, "Who do you know to help me . . ." will help you reach your ultimate destination. The best way to achieve human connectedness is to help others within your network find opportunities. Build your network, build your brand. Don't just hear what others are saying, actively listen for opportunities to help. And burn your fear of rejection. Others are not rejecting you, and the fear is burning your chances to succeed.
  10. Take control of your destiny.

    No one else is going to do it for you. Live in the present. You can't change the past and the future is yet to be written. Your happiness today is the only thing you can truly control, so truly appreciate the many blessings that surround you every day and find the silver lining in every grey cloud. Your happiness is contagious; it keeps you focused on making good decisions and elevates everyone around you. People want to be with those who make them feel good. By helping people around you be all they can be, and finding happiness in doing so, you will arrive at your ultimate destination, the destiny you create for you and those you love.

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