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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Entrepreneurs in 2009

Growthink

Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, January 7, 2009

200910) Keep Launching, Innovating and Growing

2008 was a tumultuous year, and most observers agree that we're now in one of the worst recessions in decades.

... Don't let all the negative news stop you from moving forward with your entrepreneurial initiatives.

History has shown that a downturn can be a great time to start a new venture. General Electric traces its roots to the Panic of 1873. William Hewlett and David Packard founded HP during the Great Depression. Microsoft launched during the recession of the early 1980s. Disney, Oracle, and Cisco, and countless others took the leap during difficult economic times, and reaped tremendous rewards for their efforts.

One reason that recessions provide opportunities for entrepreneurial companies is because established firms decide to cut back on innovation and growth plans. ... The key is to be running and growing your business successfully before the market comes back -- so that when it does, you have gained market share and are poised for explosive growth. ...

For more thoughts on launching a business during a recession, read entrepreneur and investor Andy Liu's excellent entry The Secret to Starting a Successful Company.

9) Maximize Your Time and Resources

Running and growing a successful business requires that numerous jobs be performed at once, and well. ...

Learn how and when to delegate or outsource certain tasks and responsibilities.

8) Build and Improve Systems and Processes

... As Michael Gerber points out in The E-Myth Revisited, it’s critical that entrepreneurs build businesses, rather building an ever-increasingly stressful and taxing J-O-B.

Especially if you're interested in selling your business, you want to be able to walk away from the business and have it continue to run.

7) Build and Nurture an In-House Email List

...One way to improve the efficacy of your website is to offer an email newsletter via an online email submission form.

Building and maintaining an email list could be one of the best ROI decisions you make in 2009. Constant Contact and AWeber are two recommended resources for email communications. And, if you run a blog, you can set up blog-to-email newsletters using services like FeedBlitz.

6) Participate in Online Conversations

If you haven't already done so, start a blog, create an account at Twitter, sign up for Facebook, join LinkedIn... Issue press releases using PRWeb. For an excellent tutorial in online marketing and PR, I recommend reading David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Marketing and PR, as well as his blog Web Ink Now.

5) Meet More People (Out in the "Real" Offline World) Join new networking groups to establish relationships and potential partnerships with people and firms in your area. One great way to jumpstart your offline networking is to leverage MeetUp.com. MeetUp.com has thousands of business networking groups. If you don't see a group in your niche, you can even start your own.

4) Get a Life (Outside of Work) It's critical that you take breaks from your business to enjoy life. Make a resolution to enjoy physical as well as mental vacations from your business every once in a while. ... You'll gain relief the stresses of growing your business, and once you return, you'll be reinvigorated with a new perspective on your challenges and opportunities.

3) If It's Not Working, Ditch It

... If you tried something in 2008 and it wasn't working, you might want to admit that and move on. Focus your energy and resources towards those priorities that will deliver the greatest return on investment (both in terms of time and money).

2) Learn Something New, Again and Again

Make a commitment to continual education. ... An easy way to incorporate learning into your every day routine is to listen to interviews, audiobooks and podcasts. Summary.com is a great, convenient service for integrating business education into a busy schedule.

1) Continually Update Your Business Plan and “To Do” Lists

Update your business plan weekly, monthly and quarterly, depending on what’s changing in your industry and what you’ve accomplished in your business.

Updating your plan can be a critical factor in both your ability to raise capital and your ability to properly execute on market opportunities. The sections that typically require periodic updates include the milestones, competition, management team and financials sections.

To increase your personal and corporate productivity, take advantage of tools like Basecamp which allow you to track tasks and milestones online in a collaborative "wiki" environment.

For a great read on productivity, we recommend The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. As Chet recommends, focus on the daily tasks that are most critical to your growth, and keep the daily “to do” list brief (no more than 6 items).

That's it! I hope you found this list to be helpful for growing your business. Here's wishing you a prosperous 2009!

What is your New Year's resolution?