According to the experts, business growth will continue in 2013. A report from the National Association for Business Economics predicts the economy will expand by 2.1 percent in 2013, compared to 2.2 percent in 2012. When it comes to franchise businesses, a similar scenario is taking shape, with a 1.4 percent growth projected, compared to a 1.5 percent increase in 2012, according to the International Franchise Association. Franchises, which account for 3.4 percent of the GDP, are expected to add 162,000 jobs to the economy before 2014.
Any growth is good growth. And if you’re a business owner who has managed to weather the storm, you know as well as I do that it’s been a humbling experience. But the hard work has just begun. Now that we’re starting to see some consistent growth, it’s more important than ever to capture that momentum and take your business to the next level.
To help you do that, here are nine resolutions that every business owner should make in 2013.
1. Take control. One of the best things about owning your own business is it’s yours. It’s easy to forget that during day-to-day operations. As you move into 2013, don’t just be a business owner, act like a business owner. Commit to making decisions that are best for your business.
2. Ignore the doomsday hype. Between the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff, 2012 has been rife with panicky buzzwords. There’s no telling what doomsday scenarios will crop up in 2013. Whatever those situations are, keep your nose to the grindstone and move your eyes away from the television. Focus on the important tasks at hand and don’t seek out additional worries.
3. Do less with more. In business, the beginning is always the most challenging. Once your workplace is up and running, adding to the existing framework can actually get easier. Consider opening a second, third or even fifth location. With just a little more effort, you may be able to multiply your returns.
4. Distinguish yourself. You’ve committed to running your own business, now take it seriously and succeed. Research needs in the community that your business can fill. Talk to your clients and ask if they’re satisfied with what you’re offering. Really listen to their feedback and apply it towards building your own successful brand—one that is unique from any other.
5. Promote, promote, promote. Every business owner should be active on social media. With so many choices out there—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.—business owners have access to a constantly expanding audience. Update your status frequently, tweet specials, blog about your business and remind people of the ways that you can help them out.
6. Give back to your community. Without the support of your community, your business truly is nothing. Give back in the best way you can, whether it’s donating products for an auction, serving on a board or simply volunteering your time. Not only is this a feel-good thing to do, it also helps make your business more visible and introduces you to people you might not otherwise meet.
7. Delegate. Running a business is no small task, and it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Make lists of areas where you excel and areas where you don’t. Then, figure out if there’s a way to hand off duties to someone else, whether it’s an employee or a subcontractor. Business owners are naturally doers, so delegating can be one of the most challenging tasks. But since it frees you up to follow your true talents, it can also be one of the most rewarding.
8. Be consistent. Whether you’re a franchise, a large business or a mom-and-pop store, your customers all want the same thing: consistency. Devise a business protocol and work to ensure that you and your employees are on the same page. Your branding, messaging, services, products and even your success depend on consistency.
9. Know your numbers. How can you strive to do better if you don’t know where you stand now? Data is the lifeblood of your business. Know it. Study it. Understand it. Set goals to improve upon it. And if this isn’t an area where you excel, find someone who does and bring him or her on board to help develop your 2013 success plan.