New Year's Advice Small Business Can Ignore

The dawning of the New Year is an advice maven’s favorite time. The Internet is awash with helpful tips for small business owners. What should Main Street make of the annual flood of articles prescribing New Year’s resolutions to small business owners? Here’s some, er, advice.

It’s hard to go wrong with the easily achievable resolutions offered by the National Federation of Independent Business, which suggest that the New Year is a good time for routine maintenance. It shouldn’t take much time to make sure insurance coverage, corporate records, or employee documents are up to date. You might as well schedule a dental cleaning and get an oil change while you’re at it.

Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to rethink your website, or conduct a cybersecurity audit, but keep perspective. You won’t suddenly have more time to increase your social media presence when the calendar turns. It’s worth noting that many of the experts dispensing resolutions at this time of year are entrepreneurs hoping to promote their services. And research has shown that January is actually the worst month to try to change your behavior. (You’d be better off in August.)

The point isn’t to ignore the need to work on your business, but that there’s no reason to turn your resolutions into a list of tasks you don’t have time or money to complete. Along those lines, the Shreveport Times has a nice piece on 10 local business owners. Not one resolved to figure out mobile payments, or to use data to better understand their business.

Instead, they used the call for resolutions to reaffirm customer-friendly values. Eddie Brumfield, who owns computer troubleshooting business Jace Consulting, offered an idea that should resonate with business owners everywhere: “Operate with a lot of integrity, treat people right and keep my prices reasonable.”

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