Sunday, December 29, 2002

Make list of goals for 2003

By Rhonda Abrams
Gannett News Service

As I was writing this column on New Year's resolutions, I asked a colleague for his business resolutions for 2003. He replied, "Why bother? Nobody ever keeps resolutions." Not true. A number of years ago, I made a resolution to drink more champagne. And I've kept it ever since.

That exchange made me realize that it's easier to keep resolutions if you adopt resolutions that make your life more enjoyable. So I've decided to focus this year on things that will increase the joy I get in my work:

1. Make more money. Being able to support yourself, whether from a business or a job, adds tremendously to your sense of self-worth. And when that money comes from a business you created yourself, then you get a particular sense of pride and accomplishment. So, in 2003, I'm going to focus my energies on those things that directly bring in cash. That means I'm going to concentrate more time and attention on sales activities, and I'm going to find ways to leverage our best-selling products into additional income.

2. Get big projects finished faster. I'm very goal-oriented, so when I'm in the midst of a big project, I generally hate going through the process (for instance, writing books), so I tend to drag my feet and take too long completing them. This year, I'm going to keep reminding myself of the final goal as a way to spur me on.

3. Have more business lunches. It's critical to make periodic phone calls or have occasional lunches just to touch base and say hello. In 2003, I'm going to make a list of people who could potentially bring me more business and have lunch with each of them.

4. Go to more networking events. When I was first building my business, I went to lots of trade and entrepreneur events. Over the years, as I've gotten busier, I stopped attending. Well, it's time to join industry and community associations again.

5. Reduce time I spend on stuff I hate. As a publisher, we ship lots of books. Years ago, every order used to be a big production. Then we got shipping software from FedEx, integrated the invoicing and shipping with our QuickBooks, ordered supplies of appropriate packing materials, and voila! Now it takes only minutes to fill a big order. If there is stuff you hate to do but have to do over and over again, look for ways to make it routine.

6. Bring fresh flowers to the office. Brighten up your work atmosphere.

7. Accomplish one challenging, important new thing. I love learning something new and solving problems. But I often take on too many new things at once. The result? None of them gets fully completed. This year, I'm going to choose one new project that's really important for my business - a new product or a new sales channel - and make it the primary focus of my restless energy. That way, I know that by Jan. 1, 2004, I will have accomplished at least one major new thing this year.

Whatever you choose to do for your business in 2003, I hope you have a fun, prosperous, and healthy new year.

Rhonda Abrams is the author of "The Successful Business Organizer," "Wear Clean Underwear," and "The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies." To receive her free business tips newsletter, register at

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