Tips for Making, Keeping Business Resolutions

At 28, entrepreneur Kelli Caulfield is thriving. She owns stakes in two Quiznos Sub Shop franchises, one in Alabama and the other in Louisiana, and is a founding partner at real estate company Caulfield Properties.

Her businesses have experienced much success over the last year, but with so much responsibility, Caulfield is stretched.

So as she looks to the new year, Caulfield resolved to “take any mistakes made over the course of 2010 and not repeat them, but instead use them as educational tools."

Now is the time for entrepreneurs to reset their business goals and examine what worked and didn’t in 2010. For Caulfield, her list of resolutions included staying on task, being more organized, growing, watching accounts better and becoming a better leader and manager of her employees and business partners.

Resolutions are easier said than done and accomplishing new promises requires much more dedication and thought.

We asked small business coaches from across the country to weigh in with their tips for successful goal setting and resolution fulfillment.

Here’s what they had to say:

Be Specific: 

“Business resolutions need to be specific and they need to have regular feedback built into them. Most resolutions fail because they're too vague and have no clear feedback mechanism: ‘I want to grow my business.’ What does that mean? Grow what aspect of it? How will you know if you're getting sustainable growth versus a quick bump? How will you know when you succeed?”

- Stephen Balzac, 7 Steps Ahead, 

Identify Your Obstacles:

“What is critically important is to identify your obstacles and then categorize them and also to identify the ‘human factor.’ Before setting out to accomplish a goal, you must determine what has derailed you in the past, or may derail you in the future so you can plan around these things.”

- Beverly D. Flaxington, “Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior.”

Hold Yourself Accountable

“Create accountability and support by finding another small business owner to talk with each week or create a mastermind group.”

- Jaime Tardy,

Set Up An Action Plan and Reward Yourself

“Set up a detailed list of the steps that need to be accomplished to get each of the goals completed - ensure each has a specific date, specific criteria of what needs to be completed and is broken down into steps that take 1 hour max. Then, provide a “Reward” system and a "Punishment" system for each goal since it’s easier to stay true to the finish line with motivation.

- Malla Haridat ,

Track Your Map Backwards and Display It

“I sometimes refer to the goal as a mountain, for some it can feel that huge and impossible. So we [clients] work it backwards. For example, if we know X is where you want to be in December 2011, we look at what are the monthly goal posts, working it backward [from December 2011].  Then we set up a weekly action plan…..I also suggest clients take a big poster and draw out their map so they can actually see it. Something about seeing it on a daily basis will help you remember where you want to be in a year.”

- Jane Schnurr, Awesome Coaching Enterprises

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