2018 New Year's Resolutions

A new year is upon us, and for many of us that means taking inventory of our lives, deciding where we can improve and making resolutions to guide us through our journey to improvement.

While we typically think of resolutions as personal promises, the sentiment can and should extend to professional organizations. By making company-wide resolutions, small business owners, managers or individuals in other leadership roles can promote growth, increase the bottom line and improve company morale.

Not sure what types of resolutions you should make? Here are seven that will be important for a strong 2018. 

1. Connect With Your Employees

Owning or running a business comes with a unique set of challenges and responsibilities, many of which are fundamentally different from those that your employees will encounter over the course of a year. And while the job titles and responsibilities may be different, connecting with your employees on some level is essential if you want to have a successful year.

Hold a semi-regular “all-aboard meeting,” host company activities or simply be present to show your employees that they’re valued, that you recognize the effort they put in and that you’re accessible and available to them if needed. Employees who recognize these values in their leaders are more likely to take pride in both their position and the company.

2. Become a Better Delegator

Learning to effectively delegate (and avoid micromanaging) is a challenging task for individuals in leadership positions. However, it’s also a practice that should be embraced. Not only does delegation free up time, energy, and mental space for other tasks, it also works to develop and hone the skills that your employees will need if you want your business to run smoothly.

3. Focus on Education & Development

Learning a relevant new skill will make you a more efficient leader, and the same is true for your employees. By focusing on education and growth throughout the year, you can improve operational efficiency, increase product/service quality and foster an innovative and creative environment. Further, the opportunity to improve or develop new skill sets can translate to employees who are more confident and satisfied in their current positions.

4. Understand & Improve Your Finances

Do you know your credit score? Are you needlessly wasting money or leaving dollars on the table? For some, the financial aspect of owning a business can be daunting, but failure to become intimately acquainted with your financial situation can lead to big problems in the future. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to evaluate things like your credit score and spending. Doing so will empower you to make important and impactful decisions about future efforts, improving your YOY financial report.

5. Make Energy Conservation a Priority

There are a lot of costs associated with running a business, and though there are many ways to cut down on spending, one variable expense that often goes unaddressed is energy. By focusing on energy efficiency, business owners can cut unnecessary spending while creating a more consciousness workplace, something that can improve your brand perception over time.

Conservation can be as easy as working with employees to create an energy effiicieny plan, or, if your budget allows, replacing outdated equipment or making structural changes that decrease usage.

6. Make Every Meeting Count

Love them or hate them, meetings are an essential part of any successful business. However, poorly run meetings, or too many meetings, can have an adverse effect on productivity. Take inventory of existing meetings and determine their overall efficiency and effectiveness. You may find that some meetings are simply unnecessary, while others are necessary but should be more structured.

Depending on the size and structure of your business, you may not be involved (or even know about) ever meeting held, and so it’s important that this resolution trickles down to your management team.

7. Become a Better Communicator

Effective communication strategies are important in our personal and professional lives, and as a business leader, your ability to communicate effectively impacts both internal and external relationships. Clients, vendors and other partners rely on your ability to communicate needs, wants and expectations, and the same is true for relationships with your employees.

When implemented as a company-wide goal, improved communications will lead to stronger employee and interdepartmental relationships. As such, teamwork becomes more efficient, goals are achieved and positive change takes place. In fact, each of the resolutions you make will become much easier to keep when communication is improved.

Start the New Year off right by seeing it as an opportunity to make a fresh start. Take the time to review your company from a cultural, financial and operational standpoint, and identify where you can make positive improvements. With those insights, you’ll be well equipped to make resolutions that focus on the goals and values necessary to move your company forward over the next 12 months.

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About the author: Jennifer Lobb is an alum of the University of Denver. While in the graduate program there, she enjoyed spending time identifying ways in which non-profits and small businesses could develop into strong and profitable organizations while promoting strong community growth. She also enjoys finding unique ways for freelancers and start-up businesses to reach and expand their goals.

This article originally appeared on Nav.com.