Image via Flickr user SashaW.
Early January is a great time for watching infomercials on television. As consumers promise themselves they will "lose the weight this year," marketers tap into the New Year's resolution psyche. There are infomericals and BUY NOW!! ads on every other channel hawking fitness equipment, crash diets and even medieval undergarments, all to make people appear slimmer. While fitness goals are important, freelancers and small-business owners need to be thinking about business resolutions for 2011 to improve the way they work. Below are three ideas for business resolutions to improve your bottom line and your work-life balance in the coming year. What are your New Year's business resolutions? How do you plan on monitoring your success in carrying these resolutions out? 1. Continuing education
Have you ever wanted to take a class at a local college? You could finally learn Flash programming or brush up on your design skills. You may even want to take an accounting class to help better manage your business and finances. Or, perhaps it's a creative-writing class or even a history class to just expand your horizons? There are so many options out there for continuing education classes. Many programs are geared toward working adults and meet at night and on weekends. There are also many online courses, which allow you to go at your own pace. Make 2011 the year you enroll in a class. It will enrich your professional life, expand your skill set and add a new spark to the daily grind of the workweek. 2. More networking
Whether it's virtual or face-to-face, make business networking a priority in 2011. Online you can enhance your LinkedIn
presence, join groups, start discussions and ask and answer questions. Attending conferences and industry events virtually, or in person, is another great way to network with colleagues. Many conferences now have social media fully integrated into their marketing mix. This makes it easy for attendees to stay connected with each other and with presenters from the conference (a great way for you to grow your social media following). Finally, look for events held by your local chamber of commerce, advertising networks and small business or local business associations. Attend these gatherings with business cards in-hand and ready to meet new people. You may just end up talking to your next client. 3. Get fit
This resolution is on a lot of people's personal lists, but I'd argue that getting fit is a business priority, too. If you are in good shape, you will have more energy when you're working. Exercise releases endorphins and gives you that positive attitude and mental clarity that freelancers need in order to survive the hectic ups and downs of workflow. Plus, if you work out and stay in shape you will have more confidence and feel better about yourself. This will make it easier for you to approach clients and partners in person and online to pursue business relationships. Finally, many health insurance plans have incentives built-in so that if you go to the gym a certain number of times per year, you can log those visits and save money on your insurance premium. What are your business New Year's resolutions? How will you re-energize your business
? Will you finally leverage Twitter for social media marketing
? Will you start a business blog
? Will you tackle the long-overdue office reorganization? Please share your ideas in the comments below!