A lot of people don't believe in New Year's resolutions. They think that it's a way for people to feel good about themselves without doing the hard work to follow through on the commitment. And in many cases they're right. How many of those people you see in the gym next Tuesday are going to be there in February?
I'm a little bit different. I don't make resolutions unless I plan on carrying them out. As Warren Beatty said in the movie Buggsy, "Everybody deserves a second chance." Many of the people who make things look so easy took advantage of their second chance. Look no further than Steve Jobs.
New Year's resolutions are opportunities. As I tell many of the younger people I work with, "I can give you an opportunity. It's up to you whether you take advantage of it or not." That's the same way you should think of New Years resolutions - they are opportunities that you need to exploit.
You will notice that I titled this blog post "4 Resolutions I'm Making To Generate Revenue In 2017." That may seem like I'm a shallow jerk who just cares about money. I hope that's not the case.
I used that title because Generating Revenue is the survival level need of any business. If I can generate revenue in my business, I can do many things to help people - I can give people jobs, I can invest in products and services to help my business perform and I can donate time and money to worthy charities. But without revenue generation, none of that can happen.
Lastly, I try to be brutally honest with myself about my shortcomings and what's keeping me from achieving the level of success I strive for. The resolutions that follow are a result of an honest self-reflection on myself and business. So with no further ado, here are the 5 resolutions I'm making to generate more revenue in 2017.
1. Delegate and outsource everything I possibly can
This is the difference between a freelancer and an entrepreneur. A freelancer gets paid, sometimes very handsomely, for the work she produces. An entrepreneur generates revenue by creating systems and processes that other people execute and generates a profit from them.
Many entrepreneurs subconsciously sabotage themselves by executing tasks in the interest of expediency or from not wanting to pay someone else to do them. This is a sure way to limit your possibilities. There's only one of you and there are only 24 hours in a day. That's the limit.
My first resolution is to spend as much time and possible managing and improving my business processes and selling and nurturing relationships. Somebody else should be doing just about everything else. I'm responsible for managing the process and delivering a quality end result, but other people and partners will execute the processes.
2. Create and execute a process for every important business function
Every customer is unique. That doesn't mean you should have a different business process for every customer. With well-defined processes that can be customized, you can efficiently provide a great customer service experience that scales as you grow.
Too often, we re-invent the wheel for every new customer. While some may think that's the key to a tailor-made customer service experience, it's actually an untested way to work your way towards an acceptable customer service experience.
With tested processes, you can quickly ramp up a successful customer relationship. You know what to measure and what to look for. This will help you quickly generate results for your customers.
It's not enough to have processes. You need to document them and share them amongst your team. As with anything else, your processes will be updated and improve as you accumulate more experience.
The beautiful thing about processes is that they are not dependent on any one employee. As long as you find people with the required skills and attitude, you can increase your capacity by hiring and training new people to execute your processes.
My second resolution is to develop and document processes for as many as my business functions as possible.
3. Focus on my target and avoid distractions
As with most SMBs, I learned that the more focused my business approach was, the more I grew. I'm pretty clear about what I do and who I can help. If you look at my homepage, the first thing you will see are the following words.
We help professional service firms grow with inbound marketing delivered on the HubSpot technology platform
That's pretty clear. I'm confident that I can get results for professional services firms that are using HubSpot for their inbound marketing efforts. I've been working with HubSpot for five years and I was a management consultant for 25 years before that. I know both of those angles really well.
I've learned that it's not worthwhile for me to chase opportunities outside of that target market. I had one experience in particular last year that hammered this principle into my mind. No more chasing rabbits down holes, I'm look for professional services firms that want to use HubSpot to help them meet their growth objectives.
Professional services is a fairly broad business category, there are plenty of opportunities. My third resolution is to only work on opportunities within my target market.
4. Never give up
Running your own business is incredibly difficult. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, "About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. As one would expect, the probability of survival increases with a firm’s age. Survival rates have changed little over time.”
For us bootstrappers, it's even more difficult. We're spending our own money, not someone else's. Just like life, any business has its ups and downs. Sometimes the downs are really low. But the people who are successful are those who take a second to lick their wounds, and then get right back into the fight.
I've recently had an experience where I really learned the value of resilience. In any case, my fourth resolution is to never give up, but to find a better way to get around whatever obstacles present themselves to me.
So there you have it - this is what I'm striving for to be a better entrepreneur in 2017. So to everyone else out there who is sharing the lonely journey of entrepreneurship, best of luck in 2017!