Whether it's the end of a calendar year or fiscal year, business leaders are stumbling upon an opportune time to evaluate success and determine areas for growth in 2014. From an individual performance to companywide perspective, we all have a desire to improve ourselves and our work. Here are six proactive and manageable resolutions for any business, no matter the size or success.
Invest in Your Team. Good people are the lifeblood of any organization. The investment of time and money taken to find exceptional employees is lost when you do nothing to keep them. Turnover has an extremely negative impact on any business, both internally and externally. Attracting and retaining talent is not just about paying competitively, which you should, but creating an environment where people feel valued and want to stay and grow with you.
Listen to Your Gut. Almost every bad decision is followed by that sinking feeling of "I knew it." Any high profile business leader will tell you about a risk they just knew they had to take, one that was instrumental in getting them where they are today. Sometimes you know on a gut level when the exterior circumstances don't match up -- a new business opportunity that looks great on paper, but you get a sinking feeling while meeting the executives or a campaign idea you know will be great, even though it doesn't have reams of data to validate it. We spend so much time looking at so many screens, taking in so much information we forget to just stop and tune in to our own intuition. There's wisdom there. Listen to it.
Seek Inspiration. Bring in creative thinkers from outside your organization for a brainstorming session. Spend time enjoying music and art that speaks to you. Get outdoors. Look to innovations from other industries. Read widely. Travel. All of these nuggets can fuel and refuel your thinking, help you look at problems differently, and keep you from getting stale or burnt out.
Get Clarity on What You Are Good at (And Commit to Doing it Even Better). There are usually one or two things every company does great, even if they offer five or 10. Those one or two things are your reputation builders and door openers. Don't just be good at them, be the best. If you don't intuitively know what those are, spend time analyzing your business. The numbers should make it obvious.
Form New Connections. Networking can feel like a huge waste of time, and it will be if not done thoughtfully and with clear purpose. Conversely, staying within your own four walls and never getting out in the world puts you at risk for becoming obsolete. Plan out three to four events or conferences that would be valuable for you to attend. As event marketers, going to the Event Marketer Summit is a staple, but we also go to SXSW and TED. Meeting inspirational, like-minded people and making new connections not only keeps your thinking fresh, it also can result in an interesting partnership or opportunity down the road.
Do Some Good. There are entire companies whose existence is born from the desire to do good. Not everyone can be TOMS Shoes, but every company should think about what their version is of giving back. Is it a volunteer day for employees? Getting together corporate teams to enter walks or marathons to raise funds for a worthy organization? A percentage of proceeds from a limited edition item? Whatever it is, commit to bringing a little good into the world. It can never have enough.
It will be extremely satisfying to check off these goals at the end of 2014. What business resolutions do you recommend?