This New Year Requires Pro-Active Small Business Resolutions

Four 2021 pro-active small business new year resolutions.


It’s the second week of January and I don’t know about you, but a couple of my New Year’s resolutions are already on life support (I’m looking at you, 5AM workouts).

I’ve always liked the idea of starting a new year armed with a list of things I would like to change and/or try.  Some items are lofty and some playful, but all are meant to challenge my day-to-day routine and put me on a path to,

I don’t know, enlightenment, good fortune, better fitting jeans….

At our literary agency, my business partner, Jane Dystel, has for many years asked that we all do quarterly goals.  Some staff members love these and can’t wait to wrestle with income projections, number of books they will sell, number of clients they want to sign up, etc.

Others, myself included, find this to be a tedious exercise in wishful thinking at best and clinical depression at worst.

I like vague goals like, “make more money this year than last” or “find a novel to fall madly in love with” and tend to get all fidgety when I have to pin these down in a quantifiable way.

I enjoy making business resolutions

So, it seems like a contradiction that I enjoy making business resolutions at the beginning of the year, but I actually do.  Maybe it’s purely semantics, but unlike goals, resolutions feel more flexible to me, they give me more breathing room while still allowing me to think globally about what I’d like to see us accomplish in the new year.

Like the over-reaching personal resolutions that are so hard to keep, small business resolutions might be unrealistic, but often they involve changes we want to see on an attitudinal level that can then carry over into areas where more formal goals can be stated.

My top four 2021 pro-active small business resolutions:

  1. Spend less time on minutiae and more on big picture items. See the forest, not just the trees.
  2. Make e-mail communications more focused and succinct. Some of those e-mail loops go on for days.
  3. Initiate contact rather than wait to be queried about new projects. Active vs. passive approach; make things happen.
  4. Bring the staff together more often for open discussions about what our common goals might be. Getting feedback from employees is crucial for keeping your finger on the pulse of your business.

Obviously, the nature of your business and what stage it finds itself in, will determine what your resolutions will be.

Mine are purposely vague so that they work just as well during the crazy busy times as well as the slow periods.  But, also, their very vagueness allows me to be creative about how I will try to carry them out. Oh, and I also try not to make too many so that the possibility of failure is contained.

And, speaking of failure, what happens when, inevitably, you fall off the resolutions wagon?

Despite our best intentions, in business as well as day-to-day life, we get lazy, sloppy, tired, sneezy…and we go back to our bad habits and old patterns.

That’s okay too.

The fact that we resolved to be better counts for a lot.  The things you resolve to do will stay in your mind, even if they get shoved to a corner of your overtaxed brain.

You can always pull them out and dust them off at the end of the year and maybe your accumulated wisdom from twelve months in the trenches will allow you to do better next time.

So, make some New Year resolutions for your small business.  Write them down somewhere and check in with yourself on December 31stand see whether you actually stuck with any of them.

You might surprise yourself.

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Miriam Goderich
Miriam Goderich
Miriam Goderich is a partner in Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC, a well respected, New York based literary agency with an impressive client list. Her areas of interest include literary and commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, psychology, history, science, business books, and biography/memoir. Miriam received a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in English from Columbia University. She was born in Cuba and grew up in Spain and Miami, Florida.

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