Be realistic with your goals in 2016

With every New Year comes a list of resolutions; goals that we set for ourselves to achieve throughout the year. I have stopped making personal resolutions, because I found if I did not achieve the sometimes unrealistic goals I had set for myself, I felt like a failure.

However, setting realistic, achievable goals for yourself on the business front can help to develop your business, and yourself as an aspiring entrepreneur. For me, I look at those business resolutions as a long-term plan that I strive to achieve, and also as an investment into moving my business to the next level.

Here are a few business resolutions I set for myself on an annual basis that have helped me throughout my career and that can also benefit other entrepreneurs:

Health comes first

As you look to improve your business performance, your health should be a priority, because your business performance depends on how healthy you are. How do you expect your business to be profitable if you are stressed, enjoying little sleep and feel fatigued all the time? Set aside some time for exercise and ensure you eat well-balanced meals. Doing so will not only improve your cognitive ability, but will also mean less sick leave and time away from work.

Harness the power of social media

If you believe social media is of no benefit to your business, think again. Social media is perhaps one of the best channels to raise awareness about your company, announce new products and, most importantly, to interact with your customers. It is also an effective way to network with like-minded individuals. You do not have to wait for the next networking event to talk to person X, you can do so now in the comfort of your own home. Invest some time in social media channels to raise awareness about your business. Many of your customers will expect you to be there.

Stay up to date with current affairs

Make it a habit to tune into the latest news in your city or industry. It will offer insight into your market, help you improve your business and let you know what customers are interested in right now. It is also a good way to find inspiration for your next product. The world is more connected than ever. What is happening in China, for instance, can easily affect your small business here. Do not underestimate the trend.

Make time for yourself

Staying late in the office can mean you miss out on what is happening out there, and often results in stress and feeling burnt out. Dedicate some time to catching up with friends and family. I know from personal experience they can help you be more productive, and also help inspire new ideas. By tuning into to what others think of the market you are in, what they think is missing, and what they believe could improve their lives, you will be better equipped to run your business.

Never stop learning

Whether it is attending a design class or learning different skills such as public speaking, programming, or budgeting – this can only help to enhance your business. Abu Dhabi has numerous workshops on offer around town, with many free of charge. The National’s listings section is a good way of keeping up with the events in the emirate, from business talks to classes. You can also read different free journals and articles online or watch YouTube videos around your topic of interest.

Remember why you started

Never forget the passion that drove you to launch your business. We all go through rough patches or times of poor performance, but it does not mean that your business has failed. I started my communications consultancy because I wanted to help businesses better communicate their messages to UAE clients. Others tell me that their motivation to launch a business came from wanting to help make the world a more sustainable and enjoyable place for everyone to live in. Whatever the reason, keep it in mind as you start the year and let that passion and drive guide you as you move forward.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

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