We’ve reached the time of year when people review the last twelve months and plan for that next trip around the sun, often resolving to focus on things like exercise, weight loss, and self care. It’s equally important for businesses — especially small businesses and startups — to assess their progress and set new goals. Study after study shows that, like people, businesses that identify their goals are more likely to achieve them — and the secret sauce to achieving your goals is writing them down in a clear and measurable way.

Because it’s helpful to hear what others are thinking, we asked several small business leaders to share a few of their business resolutions for 2019. Perhaps their lofty goals will inspire you to develop a list of your own. Enjoy!


Focus on inclusive leadership


“In 2019 we’re focusing on inclusive leadership. Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their national industry median, and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform. Lunar Startups has audacious goals for the next 5 years, and we see the development of a diverse and inclusive environment as essential to our success.”

Danielle Steer, Managing Director, Lunar Startups


Share knowledge


“In 2019 we resolve to reduce the number of times we have to say, ‘I am not the all-knowing Magic 8-Ball of ICS+.’ It takes time and mental energy, and just frustrates the team member who holds that particular piece of knowledge. So we’re going to focus some resources on developing an internal knowledge base and employee online community.”

Bernard Morgan, President & Lead Developer, Intelligent Control Systems +


Adopt a nonprofit


“In 2019 we’re going to adopt a nonprofit that we support not just financially, but also with our time and resources. We’ll also encourage our staff to take a full work day to volunteer for an organization of their choosing during the year.”

Natasha Miller, Founder & CEO, Entire Productions


Define goals quarterly


“Our 2019 resolution is to roll out a quarterly Objectives and Key Results (OKR) process. We’re also thinking about a new North Star decision making process: WWGD, or "What Would Gritty Do?" And we vow to launch our first annual Office Dog Olympics — no participation trophies allowed!”

— Rick Nucci, CEO, Guru


Take time for professional development


“In 2018, we started a no-recurring-meetings-on-Fridays policy. Now any meeting scheduled on a Friday must be a brainstorm focused on innovation, improving results for clients, or improving the way we operate internally. These ‘Brainstorming Fridays’ have been a great success and a positive way to end the work week. For 2019, we’re evolving Brainstorming Fridays into personal and professional development. We’re asking each employee to purposefully set aside 1-2 hours every Friday for things like Trailhead courses, conferences, volunteering, and training. We believe providing time and structure for personal development will help employees boost their knowledge, expand their thinking, and realize the company cares about their futures.”

— Debby Rizzo, CEO, Revenue Storm


Create a healthier work environment


“A basic resolution is that I want to create a healthier food work environment for our team in 2019. Right now we have way too much junk food on hand.”

— Clarence Bethea, Founder & CEO, Upsie


Optimize the customer experience


“As a customer-focused organization and an app of apps, we’re dedicated to designing for, listening to, and partnering with customers to come up with smart solutions that drive business value. In 2019, we’ll focus on reliability to ensure that our customers have the access they need, when they need it.”

— Courtney Harrison, Chief Human Resources Officer, OneLogin


Improve resource planning


“My business resolution is to spend more time on resource planning. Our dynamics shift rather quickly, which means we need to analyze the underlying business drivers to stay on top. Getting the drivers right will make or break the year and solidify our investment strategy, hiring plan, and growth expectations.”

— Aric Bandy, President, Agosto


Build a community


“Being in Minneapolis, an annual business resolution is to extend our reach geographically from coast to coast, but specific to 2019, our resolution is to put together a better community engagement plan and then implement it.”

— Caroline Karanja, CEO, 26 Letters


Prioritize philanthropy


“Building on our message of inclusive communities, one of our New Year’s resolutions for TONL is to give back to local charities surrounding art and photography.”

Karen Okonkwo, Co-Founder, TONL


Keep the calendar in check


“Reducing our carbon footprint is always a personal and business resolution, but this year I also resolve to calendar more time for myself. I say yes to too much and need to be more disciplined about saying no to things that aren't critical. I've compromised my wellbeing for things that ultimately don't need to happen now.”

— Jessica Barrett, Managing Director, Pymetrics


Improve relationships


“Several of our resolutions for 2019 have to do with increasing engagement and facilitating relationships with both our external and internal parties. To get there, we plan to boost our social media exposure and implement a customer community.”  

— Patty Mah, CFO, Rethink


Add retirement planning


“This year we'll switch from a simple retirement plan to a traditional 401k so our employees can put more aside for their retirements. We couldn't afford or justify a 401k plan before, but now we'll be able to open up the amount of retirement savings everyone can do and we're doing a matching program to support our employees both to thank them for their incredible work and to invest in their future.”

Natasha Miller, Founder & CEO, Entire Productions


Develop a culture of learning


“The future of our success lies in our ability to create a culture that’s all about learning and adapting, so a major part of our 2019 plan is centered around empowering our employees with the tools and resources they need to improve themselves.”

— Courtney Harrison, Chief Human Resources Officer, OneLogin

 Looking for more inspiration to grow your small business in the new year? Check out our eBook, CEO Secrets to Business Growth for real world advice from four successful leaders. 



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