The Art of Setting Business Resolutions for the New Year

The more I talk to business owners, the more unique I realize I am in that I write business resolutions each New Year’s. And yes, I know everyone thinks that resolutions are bunk; after all, they never come true, right?


I have a very specific strategy when it comes to setting resolutions, both personal and professional. It’s a well-kept secret that I’m going to share. Ready for it?

Make Them Realistic

That’s it. Honestly. People get upset when they set unrealistic resolutions (I want to become a millionaire overnight! I want to lose 30 pounds without exercising!), and they blame it on the resolutions themselves. But resolutions (call them goals, if you like) are only the tools to organize your thoughts toward what you want to happen.

Make Them Quantifiable

Last year, I set a resolution to attend at least two local business events a quarter. That’s easily quantified, and easy enough to measure. There’s no vagueness in what I wanted, and I can only blame myself if I didn’t meet this goal. If your goals are about the number of new clients you want in 2012, or how much you want revenue to increase, assign a number to it. Go on. Don’t be afraid. Make it a number that’s reasonable to achieve, but still just a bit out of reach so that you have to stretch to achieve it.

Don’t Sit Around

Resolutions don’t just come true by themselves. You’ve got to create action items to achieve them. For instance, if I want to increase sales by 30 percent in 2012, what can I do to make sure that happens? Action items might look like this:

  • Increase marketing spend on social media, blogging and advertising by 30 percent.
  • Send marketing staff to a minimum of one trade show each quarter.
  • Guest blog on two new blogs each month.

Your list of action items will look different than mine. Just ask yourself: How can we achieve this resolution? Who’s involved? And make sure you assign the task to the person who will help get it done.

Don’t Expect Miracles

Every year, I list “hire a full time employee” on my resolutions for my company. So far, it hasn’t happened. But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying. This year, I added four freelancers–who, in all honesty, probably equal one full-time staffer. So I’m getting there. I’m not afraid to shoot for the moon, but when I fall short of my resolution, I dust myself off and start on next year’s list.

Here are a few of the resolutions I’m making for 2012:

  • Find four more small business blogging clients.
  • Delegate 20 percent more of my work to my writers.
  • (Really) stop working at 3 p.m. each day.

Do me a favor. Share at least one of your business’s resolutions for 2012 below in the comments. Let’s commit together to making them become realities!

Resolutions Photo via Shutterstock


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

9 Reactions
  1. Martin Lindeskog


    Great advice. Sound much like S.M.A.R.T goal setting.

    My resolution is to implement my own productivity method, F.I.X IT!, into my daily worklife and publish a description of the workflow on my site.

    All the Best,

    P.S. What is “Auantifiable”? 😉

  2. Great resolutions setters Susan. I especially like the one about being realistic. Most of the time we’re not realistic of our goals which is exactly why we get disappointed when we don’t reach them. This is the importance of breaking your goals into long term, mid term and short term. That way, you can measure your progress.

  3. Fantastic advice! Achievable goals but just out of reach to make you stretch to achieve it! It will be an exciting 2012!

  4. Love this! Setting goals (resolutions) is so very important in growing a business. Setting realistic, measurable, and actionable goals is the key. If you don’t plan to go someplace, you won’t!

  5. Thanks for the great post, Susan!

    One of my goals for this year is to finally create my own digital information product(s) starting with an ebook.

    I actually just posted today with a few of my goals for 2012:

    Thanks & have a great year!

  6. @Martin–
    Glad you liked it. And if you don’t know what “auntifiable” is, you should look it up! (But seriously: thanks for drawing my attention to the typo!)

    If they’re achievable, we’re more likely to set more next year, right?

    Thank you! You can’t do better if you don’t try!

    That’s a great goal! Keep us posted as to how it goes!


  7. Resolutions make a huge difference when it comes to business events. After making resolutions, a person is determined to do everything possible to market products and make the business known to locals. But then whatever resolution a person makes should be realistic enough as it is not possible for anyone to become a billionaire overnight!