What’s one New Year’s resolution would you recommend to a budding young entrepreneur for 2012?
–Wendell P., Albany, NY
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Founded by Scott Gerber, the YEC is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
A: Act, Reflect, Repeat
If you are just thinking, it’s time to act. Commit to something that is measureable. At the end of March (Q1) reflect on how things are going and then decide what your next action will be. There is so much to be learned by acting and reflecting. You will be amazed at the opportunities and doors that open up, just because you acted and were visible to the public.
A: Learn to Cut the Fat
We’re facing unpredictable economic times that can create sudden swings in consumer and production trends. This is enough to run top heavy companies into the ground. The businesses that do well, however, will be those that run lean. Discover any possible points of monetary and emotional waste and cut them from your operations. This will allow you to remain flexible amidst market shifts.
A: Get More Organized
Being an entrepreneur means that you have to wear many hats, get a lot done and think on your toes. There’s no way one can be productive without a sophisticated organizational tool that keeps your entrepreneurial life in check. Improve in 2012 by investing in a to-do list strategy that you will remain faithful to that will also hold you accountable if you ever start being less productive.
A: Start Something!
There is no better way to learn to be an entrepreneur than by doing it. You don’t have to set out to start the next Google on day one. Just solve a problem you see and try to get other people to use your product. Even starting a small company can pay dividends when you start bigger ventures and make you more appealing if you want to work at a startup.
A: Stick to Your Mission, Even In a Difficult Economy
Many businesses have felt the pinch of the difficult economy. Do not make the mistake of deciding to change the fundamentals of your business to trim costs during this time. Cutting corners on materials or providing less service to customers will only cause your company to lose credibility. Don’t do it! Reputation damage is hard to repair.
Vanessa Nornberg of Metal Mafia
A: Exercise Every Morning
Being an entrepreneur can be stressful. Don’t settle in to bad eating habits and lethargy in front of your computer screen. Instead, make the commitment in 2012 to do a workout each morning, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. This is one of the best secrets of the world’s top CEOs. It’s not about waistlines, it’s about blowing off steam and having a dedicated, daily opportunity to plan and reflect.
A: Resolve to Focus on Revenue Generating Activities
Most entrepreneurs spend their time planning, tweeting, emailing, hiring, invoicing, having meetings and networking. The problem is, very little of that time is being spent on billable hours or sales. Aim for 80 percent of your time to be spent making money. If you do this successfully you might even be able to hire an executive assistant to take care of the rest.
A: Make New Friends (But Keep the Old)
As the song says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” As an entrepreneur, silver and gold are both pretty great, so commit to reaching out to one person every day — current clients, former classmates, business owners you admire, etc. Relationships are the most important assets of your business, so make them your top priority in 2012.
A: Move Forward
Outline one major goal you wish to accomplish in 2012, and daily determine one task that will help bring you closer to completion. Keep moving forward. Far too often we hold ourselves back from execution. If you can continually challenge yourself to move forward in some way, you’ll be well on the way to accomplishing great things in 2012.
A: Don’t Wait for New Years to Get Motivated About Goals
I kind of despise new years resolutions. I used to do them, it’s just what we do … right? But, then I realized, “Why put off my big changes and big goals to new years.” Rather than setting New Years resolutions take time each month to reflect on progress that month, and on your vision and goals for the next 90 days. If you can’t commit to a big goal today, doing it on New Years won’t help.