Put 2020 vision to good use: Resolve to do better

Tired yet of the jokes about 2020?

Stop me if you’ve heard the one about a friend who asked where I see myself in the new year. How would I know? I don’t have 2020 vision. The year is going to be filled with so many puns about perfect vision. I can’t wait to see them all.

Resolving to do better is no laughing matter, though, especially for business owners and managers. The start of a new year constitutes a great time for renewed efforts, an opportunity to start over and bring fresh energy and, hopefully, enthusiasm to the tasks at hand. This new year constitutes an especially good time for Grand Valley businesses because of what are widely seen as improving economic conditions that should bolster sales and profits.

Here are some suggestions to help. These have appeared in this space before, but bear repeating:

Take time to take stock. Given the busy schedules of most business owners and managers, it’s understandable to focus on the details of day-to-day operations without considering the bigger picture. It’s important, though, to take regular breaks to think and talk about what’s happening — not only what might be going wrong, but also what’s going right. Involve employees in this process and incorporate their insights and suggestions. Compile a short and specific list of things to do. Schedule the next break in a week or a month or two, then review what’s been accomplished, what’s yet to get done and what additions or subtractions might be needed.

Make and maintain connections. Good business depends in large part on making and maintaining good relationships — between managers and employees, between businesses and their suppliers and certainly between businesses and their customers. Taken advantage of leads groups and networking events to cultivate relationships. In fact, take advantage of every encounter as an opportunity to foster relationships that could benefit your business. You never know when they might. Remember, though, the one rule that remains golden: Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Seek out assistance and advice. No business owner or manager has to singularly shoulder the responsibilities of their operations, even if they work alone. Ample assistance and advice is available in the Grand Valley, a lot of it for free. The Business Incubator Center and its Small Business Development Center in Grand Junction offer a range of resources. So do the Mesa County Workforce Center and local chambers of commerce. The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers a variety of information and training online through its website at www.sba.gov.

Give back. Businesses that do well invariably also do good in supporting local philanthropic organizations and causes with time, treasure or both. Employees like to work for businesses that are involved in the community. Customers like to purchase goods and services from those businesses. What goes around comes around.

Take advantage of the Business Times. While this might seem like a shameless plug, it’s still good advice. Advertise. Submit news releases about your business. If nothing else, read stories about what other businesses are doing and the advice columnists offer. The resources are there. Use them.

One more thing: enjoy a prosperous new year. Here’s hoping you can turn your 2020 vision into reality. And that’s no joke.