The 6 Worst Ways to Start the New Year and What to Do Instead
It’s official—2015 has arrived, but are your entrepreneurial tracks on point? Probably not, since the holidays have a tendency to foster bad habits from your professional life to your personal (a few too many eggnogs, perhaps?).
January often feels like the longest month of the year, and summer seems eons away. It’s not. Starting the first day of 2015, this is your brand new chance (and tax year) to grow your business and make positive entrepreneurial decisions. Don’t waste them.
You might be nursing a hangover, feeling remorseful about that holiday weight or taking it easy since your quarterly tax payment was just mailed. However, take a cue from Mind Body Green and get motivations on tap. How you start the New Year can set precedence for the next 12 months. Here are some of the worst ways entrepreneurs tend to spend January, and what you can do instead:
Don’t “like” resolutions? Don’t call them that, but the reality is that it’s time to re-visit and re-draft your business plan or finally get a final draft done if that’s where you are on the entrepreneurial journey. This is your blueprint of goals, challenges and the ultimate checklist. It’s often one of the most dreaded tasks, too, unless you happen to be a writer or still in MBA mode. Fortunately, the Small Business Administration offers free help (online or in person), so there’s no excuse. Take it from these 8 kids making big bucks, you can do it.
2.Without a CPA appointment.
It’s January, which means the last quarterly taxes are due for the 2014 year and April will be here before you know it. A CPA is an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs, and the ticket to saving as much of that hard-earned income as possible. If you don’t have a go-to expert, research one now and book an appointment. They don’t have time for newbie entrepreneurial clients when peak season hits, and it’ll be here sooner than you expect.
3. With an undecided corporation status.
Have you carefully assessed your situation and think sole proprietorship is the best “corporation” for you? That’s fine, you don’t have to do anything fancy (or with paperwork) to keep the IRS happy. However, if you’ve been mulling over a LLC, S-Corp, or other type of status, get that filing done now. Make sure you consider the geographic location of your business (different states have different rules) and act accordingly.
4. Still in holiday mode.
Just because January is a long month with 31 days and you don’t have a long weekend or vacation planned for a while, that doesn’t mean you’re still on break. Actually, for early stage entrepreneurs you shouldn’t have had a long break in the first place. There’s more to starting 2015 right than following Reader’s Digest’s tips for losing that holiday weight—you also need to trim the fat from your business.
5. With the same problems as 2014.
Not all business problems can be ditched overnight. However, sometimes they can. Whether it’s letting a subpar employee go, changing to my free hosting company (shameless promotion!!!), getting mobile readiness actually ready, or sending out the same press releases, take a moment to assess what didn’t work last year -- then tick them off your list. A fresh start is what the New Year is all about, so get rid of the stale stuff from 2014.
If you're someone who is always putting things off, try putting your New Years resolutions online for everyone to see. I've put my goals online for years and it's kept me accountable to all my family, friends and website readers.
6. Without motivation.
Getting motivated or re-motivated isn’t always easy, but as an entrepreneur you need to figure it out. Discover what kicks you into high gear and which “tricks” just aren’t cutting it. Without motivation, you’re running on empty and that’s no way to ring in 2015.
Entrepreneurs are in a class by themselves when it comes to resolutions and starting new year off with a bang. Get on board (whatever that means to you) and make the most of the next 12 months. Become what you're destined to become.
Related: Richard Branson on Self-Motivation