As we roll into the new year, many people start to think about personal resolutions, but what about your business? It turns out that the best business leaders often make resolutions for their businesses as well.
From being more vulnerable and transparent to building a better brand and spending more time with your kids, check out this great advice from some of our favorite CEOs who have been there!
1. Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King
“Encourage constant reflection. We have yearly evaluations where we look to see if our team members are living out our core values. Core values reflect where a brand is headed, and your people should be able to accurately depict those traits. By sticking to a set of core values that align with your brand and your products, you can sift out the people who don’t care and evolve with those whose values shine through them.”
“Make sure everyone is aligned on the brand’s mission. People need something to believe in, and when everyone has the vision in mind, they work together to keep the brand focused on that goal. Also, when you have a brand that people clearly know what it values and cares about, a strong following is created because guests will want to associate with that brand’s identity.”
2. Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus
“Everyone is led differently, so you need to have a flexible leadership style. You need to connect and know your team members well enough to understand how you can motivate them as individuals.”
3. Mike Ferretti, Chairman and CEO of Great Harvest Bread Co.
“Reinforce the importance of evolution and continue to educate your network on how business can improve by embracing change. We have a freedom franchise that allows our franchisees to pick and choose certain brand initiatives to implement – with that comes ongoing education on the new benefits worth trying. Trust that you’re providing your team value and help them understand the reason behind any change.”
4. Dustin Hansen, CEO of InXpress.
“Make a conscious effort to be more hands off, vulnerable and transparent with your team. Trust that you have placed the right people with the right voice around you. As a leader, I always want my people to feel empowered.”
5. Sam Ballas, co-founder and CEO of East Coast Wings + Grill
“Give your people space to self-develop and see how they do in the crosshairs. Pay attention to how they innovate the tasks and their thinking. Certain people are wired for specific projects and when you task someone with the wrong thing, you will get the wrong result. We’ve moved people around and have seen people thrive in different areas but it’s important to give them the opportunity to see what they can do.”
6. Amy Freeman, co-founder and CEO of The Spice & Tea Exchange
“Learn that you don’t always have to have the answers. There are limitations to what we are able to do as a human and as a leader. Allow for employees to take ownership of their ideas and let them take the lead. There is a natural habit to bulldoze through whatever comes your way in business with an “I,” approach, but when you turn that into a “We,” lines of communication open and creativity flows from every voice on the team.”
7. Angel Aguayo, co-founder of Sushi Sake
“Commit to building a strong team around you and learn to delegate. As a family man, I was not able to spend quality time with my kids until I leaned on my team to support my ideas and help execute them. In the New Year, dedicate a day to you and your family. For my family, Sunday is our day for church and fellowship with one another.”
8. Jennifer Lemcke, COO of Weed Man
“No matter what change comes in the New Year or how much the company expands it’s important to stay committed to customization and being a resource for your entire network. Dedicate time to meeting face to face with people, provide one-on-one business planning and solutions for individuals and/or departments. Rapport is built when you take the time to make personal connections with the people you work with.”
Steve Strauss is a Senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible.