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Many business owners are not just making resolutions for their personal
lives, but for their businesses, too. The problem with most resolutions is that
there is no strategic plan behind the wishful thinking, and there are no
metrics with which to mark success or checkpoints to adjust so as to refine the
execution to drive the required outcome.

As you enter the new year, take look at some of the most common resolutions.

I resolve to get my finances in order.
While you are bringing down your personal debt, take a look at your
business debt. This is more than just a review of your income and expenses. The
beginning of a new year is the perfect time to review how you bill, when you
bill and how you collect. Are you keeping your own books? How much time do you invest
in looking over your accounting? What is your time worth? Now is the ideal time
to think of outsourcing your accounting and investing in a bookkeeper or
accountant. Professional services are tax-deductible and a fresh set of eyes
never hurt.

I resolve to lose weight.
Even businesses need to take a look at how much extra weight they are
carrying. How many of your employees are reaching their full quota? Do you need
to invest in new training or education for your employees to assist them in
reaching and exceeding their annual goals?

Dead weight can also be more than just a human resource issue. Where are you
spending your marketing dollars? Are you investing in the same programs with
limited results? Your employees are your best marketing weapon. They are
walking brand ambassadors for your company and can increase the power of your
marketing dollars when you train them appropriately.

I resolve to be a better member of the community.
This is my favorite resolution. When it comes to business, you can resolve
to be a better community member and create an environment where employees are
not penalized for community projects. Support a local Little League team. Take
on a community service project. Donate to a local charity. The time you invest
in your community is time invested in finding new clients.

I resolve to be a better partner.
You can resolve to be a better partner. Get involved with your vendors. Do
not wait for them to come to you and ask how they can help you—ask them for
their help and engage in proactive planning to grow your business together.

When it comes to your customers, invest in the time necessary to understand
their business and be more than just the hardware or software provider. A good CRM
system and the discipline to update customer information as provided can allow
you to increase your business with your current customers and identify new
customers as necessary.

I resolve to increase my MDF funding.
Resolve to be better at tracking your market development funds. Do not miss
the opportunity to participate in MDF programs, but do not participate in
programs that are not worth your time investment. Dedicate the resources or
invest in a contractor to assist you in making the most of your available
funding opportunities.

Resolutions are more just wishes. Strategic planning, measuring and
reporting can grow your business and increase your profit margins.

Kathleen A. Martin is a project coordinator
for Channel Insider.