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5 New Year’s resolutions every entrepreneur should make

At last, we’re headed into another new year! Most of us just want to forget 2020 and hope that 2021 fulfils the promises of economic recovery. January 1st is always seen as new opportunity and below, you will find 5 New Year’s resolutions that are perfect for entrepreneurs to start off the year on the right direction.

Consider your resolutions as goals to accomplish during 2021. Goal setting is an important exercise for everyone, but specially for founders: without goals, startups and teams would just drift along. 2020 was a year where it seemed that we just leaped from one crisis to another and that uncertainty just demotivated many of us. So, this time around, goal setting will allow you to be proactive, instead of just being reactive, and these New Year’s resolutions can help you steer your team and bring your business to the next level.

1. Improve your leadership

Although it seems a somewhat vague resolution, leadership is an ongoing learning process. 2021 will be a testing year for most startups and it will demand a lot from founders as leaders: new business challenges, conflicting personalities and evolving work habits and routine. With so many different ways to lead, the leadership style you use, will influence your startup’s culture and its ability to grow. Communication was one of the main issues in the last months, and it will continue to be one of the key tools for any leader in the coming year.

So, how can you improve your communication skills? How to better balance schedule requests, meeting and overall team agenda? Are you good enough at delegating and reporting? Can you practice on taking faster decisions and avoid procrastination?

Take a least one of these topics, and commit yourself to whatever you decide to improve in 2021. You’ll be amazed at how much farther you can go because of such decision. Become as inspiring leader, as this is the year to shake things up, get a little uncomfortable, and learn fresh new ways to lead your startup forward.

Here are some books to help you learn a bit more, as well as check out our leadership tips for founders article.

2. Practice creative problem-solving  

One of the keys to running a successful business is being as efficient as possible. And the best way to increase your efficiency is to be as lean as you can be when problem solving. If you encounter a problem it’s easy to have a mindset of: “if only I had a larger budget, this wouldn’t be a problem.” It might be the case, but most startups have to find creative problem-solving and it may take different approaches: building a culturally diverse team, or experimenting with sources of revenue, or finding ways take advantage of networks and partnerships.

Set yourself periodically objectives to assess your companies processes and procedures. You don’t have to identify as being a ‘creative’, just discipline yourself to look from a different perspective and test: proposing a new way for team collaboration; laying out a new process that will improve customer service; implementing a customer feedback; or just review old ideas and start a new project of your own, etc.

  1. Learn something new

To be an ambitious entrepreneur, you’re told to be creative and think outside of the box. One of the best ways to do that is by expanding your perspectives: whether it’s attending a music class or taking an online course. Committing yourself to learn something will add to your skills and bring a new dimension of interest to your life. Besides being a useful strategy for achieving a healthy work-life balance, it will indirectly benefit your wellbeing and focus.

Try stepping outside of your daily routine and learn something that has nothing to do with your startup. Running an advertising agency? Try piano lessons. Have an e-commerce company? Learn how to speak a foreign language. Launching a new software? Why not signing up for cooking classes.

How will you find the time to learn something new? Delegation and planning. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may even meet new and interesting people, who may become customers, colleagues, or friends. Doing something completely different from your daily tasks will also force you to think in different ways, which can improve cognitive functioning and actually create new connections in the brain.

  1.   Take time to yourself and improve your health

You’re reading and thinking: the recurrent join a gym, get fitter, lose weight… why bother? It’s clear that entrepreneurship is a demanding path, that drains a lot from the founders physically and emotionally. So, it’s vital to look after yourself in order have strength and energy to lead. The reason that most fail is because we set the goal without increasing the capacity for self-discipline, which takes time to develop. Apparently, the problem is one of self-sabotage, so making a resolution to improve your health is a step in the right direction and slow progress is still progress. Be persistent and find motivation in coaches and groups.

Another objective you can set yourself is to read more. Remember that ‘reading’ isn’t just sitting with a book for three hours, as it also includes poems or news articles. Can’t get yourself to sit still for too long? Try audiobooks, or podcasts. And If you’re not into sports neither the reading type, there are many other activities you can start: yoga, meditation or writing a diary/journal.

  1.   Give Back

Giving back as a volunteer or mentor can be one the most gratifying things you can do. As part of a community, connect and reach out to someone who’s just starting and that can learn from your advices. You’ll be seen as both as generous and as a person people want to work with. Sharing a few hours to help others, will be satisfying and allow you to practice empathy and remember why you became an entrepreneur.

With the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about resolutions. As an entrepreneur, it’s time to make a commitment to the resolutions on this list.

Happy New Year!

Jorge Pimenta
Jorge Pimenta
Innovation Director at IPN (Portugal) and passionate about technology and startups. He actively participates as a speaker, jury and mentor in acceleration programs. His main interests include space, sustainability, eHealth, and active aging.

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