It’s a brand new year, and that means making some decisions about your future. Have you made your personal New Year Resolutions yet? Setting achievable goals for yourself is a great way to stay on track and make sure that you improve your quality of life. Why shouldn’t you do the same for your business? So, alongside those personal New Year Resolutions like drinking more water and spending more time with family, be sure to jot down these 10 New Year Resolutions for your small business.

1. Going Green

For most businesses, “going green” could be impractical. Even in our business, where most things are done entirely on a computer, we still print documents on a daily basis. However, there are ways you can reduce your consumable usage. You can switch to direct deposit for your employee paychecks. This will cut down drastically on the amount of paper your business uses to produce physical paychecks. You can also use recycled paper for your printing needs. This paper is widely available now, and while a bit more expensive, is not drastically so. Lastly, be sure to recycle all your paper, glass, and plastic products. This is especially important for cardboard.

2. Carbon Footprint

Along these same lines, reducing your business’ carbon footprint will not only help the environment, but it will also save you money in the long run. Change out your office lighting with LED bulbs--these light bulbs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Also, make sure those lights are turned off when you’re not in the building. In fact, make sure all electrical devices (within reason) are shut off before you leave. This tip is impractical for computers, however, so instead of shutting them off entirely, it’s safest to keep your computer locked and in energy-saving mode so that the monitor goes to sleep when you’re not using it. Additionally, keep work-related driving to a minimum. If possible, you may want to think about working from home occasionally to reduce vehicle emissions.Z

3. Disaster Recovery Plan

One of the most important things you can do for your business is to make a disaster plan. What will you do if your building burns down? If the electricity goes out? If your office is flooded? While your insurance may take care of replacing the carpet or fixing your roof, the same can’t be said for all the data you keep on your computers. When planning for disasters, don’t forget your network. Ensuring you have consistent backups, and perhaps even a device like a Datto which can run your business in the cloud in case of an emergency, is vital.

4. Redundant Internet Service Provider

Consider a second ISP for 2017. How much of your business is conducted with the use of the Internet? If you’re like us, all of it. Occasionally, the Internet just fails. This can happen when an ISP’s Internet cable is cut during construction or a car accident. Sometimes, the weather knocks out an ISP’s electricity. In cases like these, having a failover is important. It may cost you a bit more, but by having two ISPs like Frontier and Comcast, will benefit you in the long run.

5. Increase Security

You’d never leave your office unlocked once you leave for the evening, so why would you compromise on other types of security? Virtual security is getting more and more important. Make sure your employees change their passwords frequently, especially after an employee is terminated or retires. Never walk away from your desk without locking your computer. You can do this quickly by pressing the Windows key + L. To help prevent viruses, use a trustworthy antivirus software like Trend Micro. Along this same vein, don’t use free cloud services like Dropbox to store sensitive workplace files. These are easily infected or copied.

6. Password Policy

If you get nothing else from this article, implement a password policy at your office. Require your employees to change their password every 90 days (or more often). The passwords should be at least 8 characters long, but 15 is better. Passwords should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. They shouldn’t contain obvious things like names of pets or children. Remember, if your password can be guessed based on your Facebook page--you’re doing it wrong.

7. Increase Social Media Presence

These days, businesses without an Internet presence aren’t taken very seriously. In fact, the first thing I do when discovering a new business (particularly a restaurant or service) is Google them. Make sure you don’t miss out on potential clients just because you aren’t up to date online. Create a Facebook business page. It’s super easy, and entirely manageable from your current, personal Facebook account. A Twitter is important, too, when communicating with your clients, community, and industry. Have products or events you want to share? Instagram is perfect for you, and is widely growing as an advertising platform. As always, LinkedIn is a great place to promote your business and network with others in your field. If you focus on the social part of social media, you will steadily see an increase in traffic to your company’s website. Don’t forget, more clients are gained by personality than products.

8. Don’t BYOD

If your employees are using their personal devices (particularly computers) to work at the office or from home, buy them new devices this year. While the Bring Your Own Device strategy might seem like the financially responsible way to go, it’s totally unsecure. You’ll be inviting trouble by allowing your employees to access sensitive data on the same computer they use to browse the Internet and read their junk mail.

9. Employee Education

Everyone should learn something new everyday. Don’t let your employee’s minds grow stagnant. Whether you have them reading industry-related books, taking webinars, or other related training--an employee that is constantly learning something is an employee that will earn you more revenue. Outside of industry education, you should also make sure that you teach your employees about their workplace technology. Educating your employees on password policies and internet security strategies will ensure that your business stays running smoothly.

10. Community Outreach

Finally, you and your business should make a point to give back to the community. Support those around you who cannot support themselves. Choose a charity (or several) to help in the coming year. Whether you donate your time or your money, these charities and community outreach programs will be more than grateful. We are particular fans of the Great American Cleanup, Coats for Kids, Habitat for Humanity, and the Ronald McDonald House. Supporting your local community is always a good idea.

If you want some help or some advice on how to make these New Year Resolution goals, {{cta('8304ef6b-5c03-4dad-a0de-dad8f373135e')}} and we’d be happy to talk to you.  

What are your New Year Resolutions? Let us know in the comments, or tell us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.