It’s time to act. Right now is the perfect time to reflect on your achievements and frustrations from the previous year and develop new goals for the upcoming year. If you want to focus on organizational growth, grab a seat because the team at FUNKY BROWN CHICK, Inc. wants to share a few ideas about your goal-setting efforts. Our goal? To set you up for success in 2019 and beyond! Use these tips.
1. Listen to women. Literally.
It’s an all too familiar scene – a woman speaks during a meeting. Others at the meeting casually nod their heads, supposedly listening but apparently distracted. A man then speaks a short time later, repeating the finer points the woman previously mentioned. Meeting attendees appear focused and agree with all the points the male participant just brought up.
Whether it’s “mansplaining,” “bropropriating,” or “manterrupting,” the phenomenon is the same – if someone identifies as a woman, they are less likely to be listened to, or have their ideas taken seriously, particularly in a work environment. However, it’s 2019 and it’s long past time to seek out, support, encourage, value, and implement ideas from women. January 20th marks our founder’s birthday, and it is her fervent wish that this year, people of all gender identities make a goal to truly listen to women and sincerely acknowledge their contributions.
Not sure how exactly to support women? Learn about women’s experiences. Read blog posts by woman thought leaders. Advocate for women. Hire women. As the leaders of the Women’s March state, “[t]he #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us.”
2. Re-evaluate your organization’s marketing strategy.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you more than likely have a business website and a profile on at least one of the major social media platforms. And, if you’re like most businesses, you send out an email newsletter somewhat regularly. But are you using these tools to their greatest advantage, or should you be using different digital platforms altogether? Are the responses you get from the public through these platforms useful in developing products or services? Are you using data to inform and evaluate your efforts?
One way to uncover the answers to these questions is to complete a marketing audit. When done well, an audit will allow you to not only evaluate the success of your overall marketing approach, but will also help you determine how to better allocate your resources. Once the audit is completed, you can then focus on developing a marketing plan that addresses your current marketing goals and hits the key performance indicators that are relevant to you.
So in 2019, commit to rethinking and updating your marketing efforts. If you need a little help during any step in this process, consider working with a consultant.
3. Take a nap. No, really.
In a society where our value at work is often measured by what we produce, napping is not just excellent self-care, but can also be viewed as an act of resistance. As a solopreneur, entrepreneur, small business owner, or executive director, you work hard, and more than likely undertake very long hours, so if you’re not already taking advantage of this form of self-care, you may want to integrate a little sleepy time into your workday.
While napping has recently become a sort of self-care “trend – there’s even a National Napping Day – scientific evidence and conventional wisdom alike have long recognized the power in a power nap. Think about it – napping heals, energizes, and recharges body, mind, and spirit, even as we’re seeking momentary relaxation. And it’s free!
Don’t just fall asleep in front of your computer. Physicians and other sleep experts suggest dimming the lights, making the room a comfortable temperature, and minimizing noise. Try to get more than 10, but no more than 30, minutes of sleep. In addition, it’s also thought best to try and nap between late morning and early afternoon.
So, if you’re able, don’t sleep (we know, we know) on taking a good nap.
4. Seek knowledge and feedback – and give some, too.
It’s been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing – but this shouldn’t apply to small business owners and nonprofits. Per research done by European-based software provider, Visma, only 20% of small business owners consulted others when starting up their businesses. What a way to keep reinventing the wheel!
It’s not unusual for people to talk to friends, family, sometimes even strangers about life decisions big or small (for example, our founder is currently soliciting opinions on what she should wear for her birthday brunch), so why not seek the counsel of others when it comes to running a business? This year, make it a priority to reach out to others, particularly when it comes to more substantial decisions such as undertaking new risks. (See #5, below.)
Also, think about the impact of paying it forward. Consider sharing your knowledge/skills/successes/feedback with other small business owners. Arrange an event for your local small business community around Swap Ideas Day on September 10th. Become a mentor, start a blog, speak at conferences, join committees, or simply share articles (like this one!) on social media. Not only is this a good way to increase visibility, it’s also a great way to simply meet new people and grow as a businessperson.
5. Flex your risk-taking muscles.
As small business owners, the effort to ensure that we maintain or increase profits can be all-consuming, meaning we’re less likely to undertake any action that could potentially impact the sustainability of the company. Sometimes we’ve ignored taking any sort of business risk for so long, our risk-taking “muscles” have actually atrophied! Whether it’s utilizing new technologies, implementing a different marketing strategy, offering a new product or service, or simply expanding your business network, try to make a risk or two this year.
While undertaking something new may be, well, risky, embracing well-planned, thoughtful, calculated risks can often lead to growth – in visibility, customers, and profits. If your muscles in this area are a little “flaccid,” start by evaluating your own knowledge and experiences in your area of business. And just like you may have done when setting up your business, doing some research is essential to wise decision making. And finally, just as it’s vital to share with others the lessons you’ve learned while running your business, (see #4, above) seek out pertinent advice from mentors or a trusted colleague.
What if your new endeavor doesn’t pay off? There are many, many inspirational quotes about failure. While some of these are little bit cheesy, it doesn’t invalidate the most important point: you can truly learn as much or more from your failures as from your successes. Learning the art of picking yourself up and starting again is invaluable. After all, “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” — Ellen DeGeneres