Small Business Owners Say They’ll Do More to Improve Companies in 2014

It seems that many small business owners across the country feel that they didn't do enough to make sure their companies were as successful as possible in 2013. However, rather than dwell on the mistakes of the past year, they've decided to make the coming one an opportunity to improve significantly.

More than half of all small business owners say they make New Year's resolutions every year, but only one in three say they're actually successful in keeping them all, according to a new survey from Constant Contact. Interestingly, the same number of owners who make such promises to themselves say that it's easier to keep those related to their companies than it is for those related to their personal lives, and more than one in four say it's actually harder.

"I think most of us can relate to the treadmill gathering dust in the basement, or the long-abandoned pledge to stop procrastinating, so it's easy to see why the majority of people surveyed think business-related New Year's resolutions are easier to keep than personal ones," said Christopher Litster, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Constant Contact. "Business resolutions can be easier to measure, as can the rewards if you stick to them, so I think staying focused on them can feel a bit easier."

What do they plan to do?
Of course, owners will obviously see success for their companies as happening in some rather specific and different ways, the report said. For instance, 26 percent of owners say they've resolved to do all they can to increase the revenues they see throughout the year, while 18 percent want to get their enterprises to run more efficiently. Another 16 percent say they want to generate more customers or clients, while 10 percent each favored trying to plan better or change up their marketing tactics. Finally, 8 percent noted that they'd like to improve the experience their customers see.

However, these are simply pragmatic resolutions, and may not necessarily reflect the ways in which companies would try to improve themselves under ideal circumstances, the report said. When asked if money were no object, many owners polled said they'd buy out their competitors, retire, or build up their cash reserves significantly, but most instead said they'd simply bring on more workers, which reflects just how much they value their employees and ability to hire overall.

Other resolutions imparted by owners ranged in a number of directions, with some saying they'd like to focus on social media and reaching out to prospective customers and clients more often, while others wanted to make sure their staffers were properly trained or their operations were streamlined, the report said. Further, a number of entrepreneurs say they've been able to stick to some of their resolutions they've made in the past, and that they've certainly helped their companies succeed as a result. Among the things they've stuck with and improved as a result of are seeking out more help or advice when necessary, getting more involved in social media, planning better, and doing more to reach out to employees and customers alike.

One thing owners might be able to do that can go a long way toward helping their companies improve is taking into account the money they spend on small business insurance every year. If they think they're paying too much, shopping around for more affordable coverage, such as general liability insurance, can certainly improve their bottom lines by saving them thousands of dollars every year, which can then be devoted to other, more pressing business needs.