January 2, 2019

As you reflect on the past year and mull over the personal goals you want to achieve in 2019, why not add to that a list of New Year resolutions for your company? The best way to grow your business is by setting goals—but not vague goals like “increasing the bottom line” that are just as immeasurable as “doing more exercise”. Most of us rarely follow through with our resolutions because of how broad they tend to be. The trick is to define each objective specifically, make them actionable and set a timer for each one. It also helps if you break them down into smaller steps that can be achieved month by month to avoid being overwhelmed. If you are looking to improve productivity or to simply work smarter, here are a few business resolutions to consider for 2019.

1. Partner with a Competitor

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. When it comes to business, this can be a wise move. It’s not about defeating your competitors and stealing their customers. It’s about collaboration—joining forces and pooling resources together to reach new heights. A strategy that benefits both parties is to cross-sell. You can also support charitable causes together, which gives your corporate social responsibility profile a good boost too. Start with identifying a competitor that excels in something your business lacks, and vice versa. This way, instead of spending all your energy to achieve a competitive edge, you can form a strategic partnership to complement each other.

2. Empower Employees

No company can survive without employees. Likewise, the success of your firm relies on how effectively your employees work. A few ways to create a workplace of happy, high-yielding workers include promoting open communication, defining each person’s roles clearly, rewarding staff for good work, appreciating their efforts, and allowing for more flexibility. Freedom and flexibility can increase motivation, and help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. According to research by Cisco Systems Inc, the majority of employees said the quality and timeliness of their work, and their level of productivity improved when they worked remotely.

3. Ditch Long Meetings 

It’s common knowledge that the more productive you and your employees are, the better the business does. Yet, many firms are wasting precious hours of the day with multiple, unnecessarily long meetings. In fact, research shows that the length and frequency of meetings have ballooned from less than 10 hours a week in the 1960s to about 23 hours a week today. Imagine being “in the zone” with an important task, only to be interrupted by a meeting, causing you to lose your focus and momentum. The Ohio State University also published a study that revealed we are less productive during the hours before a scheduled meeting or appointment because time seems shorter and we don’t think we can get much done. Cut out recurring meetings this New Year, set clear agendas, and stop the ramblings that drag a meeting.

4. Go Mobile

It’s time to optimise your business for the new generation of mobile users, especially if you’re in the service sector. According to a study by Hootsuite and We Are Social, there are about 4.3 million active mobile users in Singapore, as of January 2018—an 8% increase from the previous year. So far, this accounts for 75% of the country, and these numbers are set to keep climbing. To keep your company relevant, your website has to be mobile friendly (at the very least), and you might want to consider launching an app to increase user engagement and to promote brand visibility.