It’s January, and that means you’ve probably seen hundreds of articles and tips on personal and business renovation. They might even have motivated you to try something new or post a list of office resolutions.

The problem with resolutions is that even though we want to become better business owners, we’re not willing to make the changes necessary to take us where we want to be.

As many of our clients can confirm, being a great business owner is a massive balancing act, and the last thing you need is the added pressure of ridiculous resolutions.

What you need is sound advice and strategies to help you take the next step and stay at the level you want to. So here are 5 Merchant Capital strategies for making 2017 your best business year yet.

Define your success

Every business owner has different ambitions and goals, and success looks very different to all of us. The best way to start your year is to reflect on your situation – how you’re performing financially, forecasts and trends within your sector and employee morale – and decide what success looks like for you.

It could be as simple as a 2% increase in turnover, or as drastic as opening a second location.

Be honest and realistic with yourself and set that single goal. You will find that when you’re feeling a little hopeless come the mid-year slump, you always have an overall goal to focus on.

Thought-starter: As a business owner, you are personally invested in the performance of your business. Try to set separate goals for yourself as a person to ensure that you don’t pin your whole identity on your work.

Schedule recharge sessions

Most of us expect our team to come home from the December break feeling fresh and ready to give it their all, but this is unrealistic.
People get back to the office feeling lethargic and wishing they were still soaking up the sun on a beach. Work is the last thing on their minds.

To kick-start their performance, spend the first day of work on relaxation and recharge exercises. This could be meditation, a staff outing (make sure there is physical activity involved) or even just a quick stretch that becomes a daily ritual before you open for business.

Another great idea is to move away from a year-end function and set up quarterly breaks. Create an extra weekend or spoil your team with a night out – it will do a world of good, plus they will always have something to look forward to.

Thought-starter: Not sure how to energise your team? Ask them for suggestions, and do some research online. Why not host a Friday afternoon with boerewors rolls for your team or order some pizzas as a staff lunch to promote relaxation and boost morale?

Reach out to your community

More businesses are focussing on empowering their local community through donations or outreach programmes.

Investing in the people around you does more than just generate positive PR for your business. Reaching out will give your team a new perspective on their world, and helping others is a great way to release feel-good hormones.

Community upliftment spreads awareness of your business and will often make you feel a little more human, which will only prompt to better business and people decisions.

Thought-starter: Start small. You can help someone disadvantaged with a job helping you part-time, or collect client donations for a charity. Every bit helps.

Grow your skillset

The best business owners are always learning new skills and trying different ways to improve profits.

There are several online courses out there designed to help independent owners to succeed. Whether it’s project management, basic accounting, digital marketing or conflict resolution, you can add an array of useful skills to your knowledge base – for free.

Services like LinkedIn Learning are a great resource if you want to get back into the swing of “studying”. Don’t worry – you won’t be forced to take any exams, but the skills you learn could give you the edge you need in 2017.

Embrace every day

Every day is an opportunity to try out new and exciting ways to make your work experience better.

Why not spend each one trying something new? If you have read about switching off your emails at 16:00 or only working 5-hour days, try it out.
Remember that although there are other businesses like yours, your business faces unique challenges, and that means it’s going to take some time for you to find exactly what works.

Instead of making sweeping changes, spend 2017 looking for your best way of working, and don’t be scared to fail.

Thought-starter: Try a new change for a week, every week, for 2017. Before long, you’ll develop an understanding of what works for your business.

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