Many things that contribute to the ultimate success (or failure) of a small or micro business happen behind the scenes. These are things that people seldom think about because they don’t directly impact the business. They’re virtually secrets!

When a savvy business owner sets up these processes, they run quietly in the background as support systems. But research has identified 8 simple but specific actions that have the most (indirect) impact.

  1. Stay positive.

A positive workplace means people are probably more resilient. They get sick less often and can handle whatever comes along without it affecting the mood for a week. This makes a more stable working environment, which is better for productivity and your state of mind. Sure, negative things happen. In a negative environment, you can get stuck dwelling on them. But in a positive environment, you address them, you deal with them, and you move on.

As an example, I know a family that runs a food truck. During a storm, the wind threw a big tree branch right through the side of their truck. You’d think they’d be upset, but no. They just added a second service window where the hole was!

  1. Focused vision.

You may have dozens of goals for the new year. But you know what happens when you try to do everything at once? Nothing! Focus on just one or two at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and paralyzed. You may even find that once you start prioritizing your goals, achieving one gets you a big head start on another one.

  1. Live the values.

Every business owner has values that they want to see the business embrace. But if the owner doesn’t live those values, the business can’t implement them. As the saying goes, you can’t be a good leader unless you’re a good person first. Try to keep in mind what you want your business to be known for, then show that to your team and your customers.

  1. Assemble.

You may not have a team of superheroes available. It’s okay, I don’t either. Yet. (I’m looking at you, Tony Stark.) But ideally, you should know a few professionals you can call on if you need help. These include the obvious financial, legal, and maybe marketing folks – and also people you might be able to use for outsourcing/freelance/temporary work.

Of course, professional services aren’t cheap, but don’t despair! In many areas, professional bartering is making a comeback, especially among the self-employed.

  1. Internalize win-win.

This strategy can help businesses avoid (or at least resolve) conflict when it’s part of the core mission. We’re in business to solve people’s problems, right? What’s a better part of problem-solving than a win-win strategy?

  1. Clarity.

Things can get vague in very small businesses, like roles and accountability. In the daily view, it’s not too much of a problem…until it is. Systems theory helps with this. Think of every role and process as a component of your system (the business). Draw it out on a big whiteboard or just a sheet of paper. You’ll easily see how everything connects. (Bonus tip: this is also useful for auditing your business productivity because see inefficient processes and bottlenecks.)

  1. Stop at Milestones.

Not stop as in quit! But take a break from the drive, stop and look around, and take a picture! Not many businesses track milestones. This year, I want to measure and celebrate them. You and your team should, too – it’s fun (duh!) but it also reinforces better morale and sense of belonging. Share the occasion on social media so your audience can also join in.

  1. Adapt and innovate.

This could be a make-or-break resolution, as it’s already been identified as a key trend for micro and small businesses. Be alert for new tech to make your business more efficient or more accessible. Check out new ideas, encourage input and creativity from your team and supporters, and be quick to embrace anything that could be beneficial.

I hope your new year is off to a positive and productive start. As always, I invite you to stop by and say hi on Twitter or Facebook, or leave a comment here. And as always, your likes and shares are always appreciated, as well as any suggestions or requests!

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