The end of the calendar year is a good time to reflect on your company's success over the past 12 months, as well as your personal success as its owner. It's also a good time to think about the ways you might better your business -- and yourself -- in the coming year. With that in mind, here are a few resolutions all small business owners should consider for 2019.
1. Be a more attentive boss
When you're tasked with running a business, it's easy to let minor workplace issues fall by the wayside. But having a loaded plate isn't an excuse for being too hands-off. As we head into the new year, pledge to spend more time digging into workplace problems and making sure your employees are having their concerns addressed. If you don't have time to meet with your workers individually to discuss their needs and challenges, hold companywide meetings and encourage attendees to provide feedback either in a public forum, or anonymously after the fact. The key is to be in tune with the things your workers are happy about and the areas that need improvement.
2. Get better at delegating
As a small business owner, you can't do it all -- there simply aren't enough hours in the day. Going into 2019, pledge to give yourself a break by delegating more tasks to others. That could mean entrusting your junior managers with things you may have previously handled, like accounting and payroll, or it could mean outsourcing certain specialized tasks, like marketing and website maintenance. In doing so, you'll free up time in your schedule to focus on what you do best.
3. Strike a better work-life balance
When you're a regular employee, achieving a decent work-life balance can be challenging. When you run a business, it can seem downright impossible. But if you push yourself too hard, you risk damaging your personal relationships, compromising your health, and reaching a point where you're too burned out to be effective at what you do. Rather than go that route, pledge to strike a better balance in the coming year. That could mean more efficiently scheduling and managing your time, or it could mean training yourself to not feel guilty about taking breaks when you need them.
4. Ramp up your retirement savings
Just because you own a business today doesn't mean you'll want to keep at it when you're older. But if you don't make an effort to save for retirement, you'll risk having to work for the rest of your life. A better bet? Start prioritizing your long-term savings, especially if you've yet to build much of a nest egg. Small business owners have several tax-advantaged savings options available to them.
One you might consider is a SIMPLE IRA, which, as of 2019, allows you to contribute up to $13,000 per year if you're under 50, or $16,000 per year if you're 50 or older. If you offer a SIMPLE IRA, you must make contributions on behalf of participating workers, either by matching their contributions up to a maximum of 3% of salary, or contributing 2% of employees' salaries up to a maximum of $5,600. There's also the SEP IRA, which lets you contribute up to 25% of your net business income, up to $56,000 beginning in 2019. Just be aware that if you open a SEP, you'll need to contribute the same amount to your employees' accounts that you do to your own.
Will 2019 be your most successful year yet? Uphold these resolutions, and it just might.