Stronger Resolve: 7 Resolutions for Business Owners

     We all survived 2016 with varying degrees of success, and whether you are morning or celebrating the passing of another year one thing is certainly true: it’s time to move forward. How can we walk in to 2017 with clear eyes and bright expectations? 

     Lofty resolutions have always felt like a trope, I have never felt more or less ambitious or hopeful on January 1st than on any other day of the year. Albeit, while I always try to enjoy the present I find it helpful to always assume that the best is yet to come. And so, January is a good a time as any to reflect on the trials and successes of years past and to lay your best intentions for the future. 

Here are 7 actionable resolutions for you and your business in 2017:

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The More You Give, The Richer You Are

The giving economy is about the value of establishing human connections. Money is a good marker for business exchanges, but it doesn’t include or give acknowledgement to the real human value of service. To be giving means to offer your gifts for the exchange of that connection (which, despite what some may say, is valuable). In my community we’re lucky to have a good, functioning time-banking system; where members can trade their time with each other via an online platform that advertises their services offered or requested. People trade massages for garden-weeding, dog-walking for a ride to the airport, and in my case - I offer a couple of days of my time per season to helping someone bring new life to their home landscape. 

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Good Design is Good Business

Functionality is a key component of design. My favorite example of a design disaster was Steve Harvey’s now famous crowning of the wrong Miss Universe. Every visual designer knows that english speakers read information from left to right, and from top to bottom. This a rule that guides the composition of everything from magazine covers to gas pumps. Poor Miss Columbia suffered at the hand of a poorly designed note card, which put her name immediately to the left the Miss Universe Title, and the name of the real Miss Universe on the bottom right of the card - just under Steve Harveys thumb. Design is not how something looks, but how it works. Important details should always be designed with care, no matter how large or small the project. 

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4 Quotes to Guide Your 1st Year in Business

By Madeline Virginia Coite, co-founder Apartminty

The past two years have been the most challenging and rewarding time of my life.  Major milestones include getting married, moving from my home state to Washington, DC, and starting a business - all while maintaining a full time job!  When my Aunt asked me to partner with her in creating a start-up company I never could have imagined the path that would unfold before me.  

We created Apartminty to relieve the frustration and overwhelm that renters experience while apartment hunting.  As the industry currently exists there has been very little innovation over the past decade or so, which makes for a less than stellar experience for everyone involved.  Don't believe me? Try doing a twitter search for the term "apartment hunting sucks".  We did, and then started reaching out to those people and offering our help.  Before we knew it we were facing overwhelming demand for our eHarmony style apartment matching service and knew that we had to take this pet project of ours to the next level.  Today, we're right in the middle of securing some major national partnerships and are projected to be profitable by mid-year.    

Almost everything I do for Apartminty is either a result of lessons from my business partner and mentor Holli or hours spent watching youtube tutorials and scouring help forums to teach myself the variety of skills and tools I now proudly carry in my tool belt. I've pushed myself harder than I ever have and it has taught me a few things about motivation, productivity and destiny. I’ve learned that when you're doing what you're meant to be doing if you continue to power through moments of uncertainty and near burn-out, things have a way of just falling into place. This will only happen if you do your work then get the hell out of the way and let greater forces guide the journey. It’s important to keep your eye on the end goal but let go of rigid expectations. STOP RESISTING and let go of your expectations!

I am lucky to have a partner in the start-up grind but even so we require these daily reminders: 

1) "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" - Parkinson's Law

-I've learned to work smarter, not harder.  It is so true that the longer you give yourself to get something done, the longer it will take.  I've become much more disciplined about keeping myself on track and am still working on my compulsion to become completely absorbed in tweaking things.  I'm slowly coming around to the concept that "done is better than perfect" 

2) "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it."

- ‘This is the way it's always been done’ has become a completely unacceptable mentality in my world.  We knew there had to be a better way, so instead of waiting for it, we created it.  

3) "Don’t worry about people/the competition stealing your design/ideas, worry about the day when they stop."

-We've already had our fair share of mini panic attacks as we see our ideas seeping into our competitors messaging, but we always come back to this quote.  If we have their attention, we must be doing something right!

4) "If you don't take risks, you don't drink champagne." 

-Anyone who knows me knows that I don't save the bubbly for special occasions- every day is something to celebrate, but essentially, "no risk, no reward"!  

If you're thinking about or are already in the process of starting a new business or taking on a new project, you are in a unique position that not many people will ever experience. You will get to set your own hours, explore your own thoughts and ideas, and will most likely be accountable only to yourself. I will leave you this advice: Push yourself, use this as fuel to work harder than you ever have and not as an excuse to slack off.  Honor yourself, respect your own thoughts and ideas by putting them into action every single day and you'll create something you can truly be proud of and call your own.  Stay focused, work toward achieving what you set out to do but remain open to the possibilities and opportunities that present themselves along the way.  Evolve yourself, don’t be proud to adapt to new ideas and be open to collaboration! If you do these simple things I promise you will find success.