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Are you bouncing around some big ideas for your business this year? Regardless of whether your resolution for your business is to launch a new idea, grow your business, or finally land that dream client, here’s how you can hit the ground running for maximum success in a year like 2017 and beyond…

1. Set SMART Goals to Hit the Ground Running

You have a big idea. You’ve taken time to plan your next big project. Now, you just need to set some goals. If this sounds familiar – and it should – take time to make sure you’re setting the right type of goals for your continued success. S.M.A.R.T. goals are: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-based. Instead of resolving to increase your sales this year, come up with the specific amount of profit you’d like to make and calculate the number of new clients you’d need to gain in order to hit your sales goal. Define exactly what you want to achieve, the specific steps you can take to achieve those goals, and how you will measure your success. Consider numbers that sound realistic for a certain length of time. Can you boost revenue by $1,000 this month? How long will it take, realistically speaking, to get 10 new clients? With SMART goals, you’ll find it much easier to measure your success when you look back at your accomplishments at the end of this year.

This is where you should apply the 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s law, and ask yourself: “What 20% of activities/customers/products are producing 80% of the profit?”. What it will show you is that 80% of your outcomes are the result of 20% of your actions. Find out which 20% of your tasks produce 80% of the desired results.

2. Talk About Your Business

You know how the first rule of Fight Club is to never talk about Fight Club? Well, Entrepreneur Club is exactly the opposite of that. By putting the word out there about your business, you’ll instantly have accountability. This is especially true if you publish blogs, articles, or social media posts on the Internet. Sure, it can be scary discussing your vision with other people those first few times – but if you push through the fear of vulnerability, you’ll find that most people will be cheering you on. When you have the support of others, including clients and prospects, you’ll feel encouraged, confident, and be more likely to follow through on your plans. So go ahead, craft your perfect elevator pitch, and start talking up your business this year!

3. Automate Social Media

Social media is a wonderful business tool, but if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, it’s good to explore your options. Instead of giving up on social media, you can use one of many social media automation tools to share your message across multiple sites at the same time. There are several of these tools out there. Pick your favorite one, connect it to your desired social networks, and – boom! Social media is no longer tedious or frustrating, and now your time and energy can go towards other tasks.

It shouldn’t be about the tool, but rather the outcome you are looking for. A rule of thumb to be applied is always testing something manually. Find out the flaws, make it better, and only then search for the right tools or software and automate it. Nonetheless, it doesn’t need to be black and white. You could semi-automate it.

For example, an automation freak friend of mine created a newsletter subscribe automation, where the new subscriber is A) added to the Mailchimp newsletter group, but also, B) a draft email is created in my friends Gmail, so he can personally reach out to the new subscriber.

4. Get Some Help

Entrepreneurs are not lonely wolf. It is just a myth. Although being a “solopreneur” gives you the freedom to do a lot of things on your own when it comes to your business, it doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Take a look at how you’re spending your time each day. Are there areas where it might be beneficial to have some help? A business coach? A web developer? A virtual assistant? If money is tight, maybe a talented intern could help you in exchange for college credit. Whatever the case may be, consider whether it might be time to collaborate with other people in your journey to success.

Dare to ask! Vulnerability is not a weakness, but a strength!

5. Make Time for YOU

Even the busiest business owners need to take time to reset, unwind and unplug. Running your own business can be a lot of work – and it can also bring a lot of rewards. It’s all worth the stress when we take time for ourselves to enjoy the freedom that it brings. If work-life balance feels like a struggle and you’re not used to taking time for self care, try to start small. Even if it’s just five minutes per day, find a realistic and doable amount of time that you can commit to unplugging from your business needs and just living your life. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you work from a home office, you can also reduce stress by optimizing your workspace to do so (which can free up more “you time” in the long run).

If you look at my calendar, you’ll find entries like ‘Me Time’ or ‘Maker Time’ – marked as busy. Sometimes close business partners ask me why can’ I make it to X and Y? The question seems obvious, taking the fact that they see my calendar and it says ‘Me Time’. One could assume that I’m not busy, but actually I am. I’m busy having a meeting with myself or completing a task that only needs my presence. First things first, so respect your own time!

Regardless of what your business goals might be for the new year, your continued success as a business owner ultimately depends upon your ability to plan your next move.

Co-authored by Julie Morris