December 30, 2019 Practice Points

Twenty Business Resolutions to Consider in 2020

It’s a new year and a great time to improve your business.

By Kelsey Heino
  1. Get active on social media. 366 million new people started using social media in the past year. That’s more than a million new people joining social media every single day.
  2. Review your employee handbook, or implement one if needed.
  3. Join a listserv that gives you quick blurbs relevant to your industry or the country as a whole—think Law360 or theSkimm. Staying up to date in your field puts you on the leading edge, and it’s always helpful to have small talk topics!
  4. Check out your firm website. Is it time for an update? Is it easily navigable? Is the color scheme outdated?
  5. Implement a wellness-incentive program, like Blue Zones.
  6. Revisit your subscriptions. Are there better programs out there now? Are there any services you’re no longer using?
  7. Keep track of your firm’s successes monthly. Gather win stories from your attorneys, catalog firm involvement in the community, etc. At the end of the year, you’ll have a Year in Review newsletter ready to go!
  8. Mentor a fellow small business leader/owner.
  9. Give back to your community. Encourage your employees to take an hour or two each month for volunteer work. Consider doing a monthly fundraiser drive for different employee passion projects.
  10. Optimize your inter-office communication. Have you considered messaging apps like Slack or Teams? Would a weekly or monthly team huddle be useful?
  11. Update your office décor. Whether you’re in a corporate space or working from home, adding a new decoration or updating your wall color can provide motivation.
  12. Outsource. Small business owners often have difficulty delegating, so force yourself to consider whether you really need to be doing it all yourself. Can you hire a temp or part-time employee to help with bookkeeping? Does your office need a runner or clerk? Find the one part of your job you dislike the most, and if you’re able, find someone else to do it for you!
  13. Bookend. Schedule time at the beginning of your day or week to plan ahead. Then, at the end of the day/week, review your priorities and prepare for the next.
  14. Be SMART with your goals. Make your goals for the next week/month/year
    1. Specific (simple, sensible, significant);
    2. Measurable (meaningful, motivating);
    3. Achievable (agreed, attainable);
    4. Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based); and
    5. Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
  15. Crunch the numbers. If you’re a contingent-fee firm or have difficulties collecting your AR, there are going to be lean months. Figure out if there are ways to give your firm a cushion so you never have to worry about making payroll.
  16. Review your rates and salaries for market competitiveness.
  17. Train early and often. If you have employees, you have potential HR nightmares—it’s a sad truth! Providing regular and preventative training on issues like sexual harassment and race discrimination can not only act as a CYA move, but it can also help prevent issues from arising in the first place. Consider implementing a bystander intervention or civility training policy.
  18. Let go. Maybe you started an unlimited PTO program and have realized nobody is taking as much vacation as they should. Maybe you dove into a new practice area and are beginning to realize it’s not for you. Whatever it is that is having a negative impact on your bottom line or firm morale, get rid of it!
  19. Focus on your clients. It is significantly easier to get business from people and businesses who already know and trust your brand. Think about starting a regular contact system—whether that be making quarterly calls to your top clients or starting a firm newsletter for broader reach. Focus 90 percent of your time and energy on those clients that bring you 90 percent of your work, but don’t forget the little guy.
  20. Reflect. It’s so easy to get caught up in planning for the future and forget what you’ve already accomplished. If you don’t already do it, begin keeping track of your firm’s successes and changes on a monthly or annual basis. This timeline can be your motivation if you hit a slump!

It’s a new year and a great time to improve your business. Not every change has to be monumental; just get started and see where it can take you. Don’t catch yourself saying “hindsight is 2020” next year!

Kelsey Heino is an employment litigation attorney at Woods Aitken, LLP, in Omaha , Nebraska. 

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