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You were not alone last week if you toasted to 2016 dying a fiery death. You are also not alone if you are going into 2017 with a furrowed brow and a million questions. What will happen next? Will the new president bring triumph or ruin? Will legal cannabis offer economic growth or will it fuel community collapse? And how on earth can we stop the rest of our legendary celebrities from dying?! So many important questions.

We all know that I think the only path to prosperity is through small business. In honor of that belief, I have put together a list of 5 habits and tips that I believe can help grow small businesses to be more successful. Some of these tips might apply even if you don’t own a business or if you are just looking to embolden your new year. Let’s get started:

Get up Early

This one tip is life changing. It is really hard at first, kind of like changing from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. The act just doesn’t feel right. But little by little you start to embrace the bitterness. Your body will eventually adjust and after that you won’t look back. The extra few hours in the morning are wonderfully useful! Meditate, write, reconcile your business checking account or post an article on your business blog. No matter what you do the fact is that you are doing something. In small business, every something counts.

Cultivate Your LinkedIn Account

Content is king and LinkedIn is your castle. Decorate your digs with as many details as possible and don’t be shy about them. Now please understand that you do not socialize on LinkedIn like you would Facebook. This is a professional forum and selfies are somewhat frowned upon. You should however have a profile that showcases your skills and talents. Include all organizations that you are affiliated with and most importantly, ask for and post peer recommendations. That critical content will help to establish you and your business as experts in your field.

Review and Commit to a Budget

This is the perfect time of year to reflect on how much money you spend. Where does your money go? Do you reinvest your hard earned dollars or do you splurge on eating out almost every night like I do? If you’ve been a little budget lazy then join me in making a change this year. Review your spending over the last six months and take a hard look at where your money went. Success will never come by spending more than you make and if you aren’t making enough, then let’s find a way to get you back on track. No business left behind!

 

Inspire Your Workforce

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey The most successful business owners I know consider the people they work with to be like family. They recognize momentous occasions, they support them through hardships and they even have to dish out tough love at times. I cannot stress enough how important it is to recognize and appreciate the people that you work with. Make it a goal to help them grow personally and professionally and I promise that your investment in them will show in your bottom line.

 

Volunteer

There is something incredibly rewarding about the giving of yourself because you want to, not because you have to. You act on choice and therefore gain an entirely new perspective. I encourage everyone I know to volunteer even just once a month. Pick a cause, roll up your sleeves and get started. This is bound to be your best year yet!