How to Create Your Business Resolutions for 2018

It’s almost 2018. If you’re like most company leaders and owners, you’re putting the finishing touches on your business resolutions for next year. Sadly, however, according to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail by February.


Focusing On What's Important

What are some of the top 2018 business resolutions? We’ll get to that, but first, here are a few tips that will make your resolutions last beyond February.

Joseph Weintraub, founder and faculty director of the Babson Coaching for Leadership and Teamwork Program recommends a maximum of three goals (resolutions).

rebeccaknighthbr.jpgMany resolutions are too broad, too vague or go against our nature, writes Rebecca Knight for the Harvard Business Review. “We all have predispositions, character traits, and habits that we have built over many years. Most of our New Year’s resolutions and goals involve breaking these patterns, which is very difficult to do and requires a lot of work.”

The author shares that it’s critical to focus on what’s most important. “You need to set the right goals within the right timeframe.” It’s also time to “think small.”

Ms. Knight shares several Dos and Don’ts to follow as you create your 2018 business resolutions:


  • Create goals that leverage your existing skills to move your organization and career forward.
  • Share your goals with others and ask for support and encouragement when you need it.
  • Create milestones along the way that help you appreciate the incremental progress you’re making.


  • Become overwhelmed by a long list of goals; focus on no more than three at a time.
  • Set yourself up to fail; create goals you can reasonably achieve.
  • Beat yourself up if you don’t meet every deadline; recognize when what you’ve done is good enough.

What Are Your 2018 Business Resolutions?

As you create this year's business resolutions, it's helpful to learn what other leaders are focusing on next year. For small businesses, Gary Golden, associate professor of Business, Muskingum University, recommends just two resolutions.

The first resolution is to get better at using social media: "The use of social media is now an everyday part of running a business, and can especially be a value-added aspect to a small business. Building a social media strategy should become standard operating procedure for you and an integral part of your business plans and tactics. Plus, done smartly, it's effective and cost-efficient."

Secondly, educate yourself: Business books, magazines, podcasts, business websites, business sites, podcasts, and how-to-videos are just about everywhere. "I urge you to use them to your advantage. Etch out time every day to enlighten yourself. Read articles, talk to your local Chamber of Commerce, and network on LinkedIn."

grantbaldwinspeakerlab.jpgInc. spoke with 28 entrepreneurs and professional marketers to find out what's on their minds for 2018.

Grant Baldwin, the founder of Speaker Lab, repeats a warning most of us know well. "Entrepreneurs are notorious for trying to do everything. We're constantly chasing shiny objects and attempting to keep up with the latest strategy or tactic. Instead of doing a bunch of things mediocre (at best), I want to focus on the projects/offers that have the greatest ROI for both my time and resources and spend my energy there."

Of course, not chasing every shiny object means you'll have to selfishly guard your time and be able to tell people "no," at times. Some CEOs I've known will even go so far as to create "stop-doing lists" to invoke discipline into an organization that's pursuing too many priorities or goals.

Yet, other business leaders are more pragmatic in their approach to resolutions. CEO and co-founder of Biz2Credit, Rohit Arora, suggests the new year is a time to reduce excess inventory and trim bloated staffs. He also finds January to be a good time to improve your record keeping. “Sloppy accounting can lead to losses.”

Another Year, Another Chance

As you shape your business resolutions for 2018, remember to follow Ms. Knight’s simple dos and don’ts noted above.

On behalf of all of us at Vistage, I wish you a happy and successful 2018. We’ll leave you with this hopeful optimism from one of the country’s most highly regarded leaders and entrepreneurs:

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

— Oprah Winfrey


Want help keeping your business resolutions every year? Consider a membership in Vistage. 

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About the author

Wayne Serie
Vistage Minnesota

Wayne Serie is a 10-year Vistage Chair veteran who leads two CEO Groups and one KEY Group. He is a two-time recipient of the Chair Excellence Award. Prior to Vistage, Wayne has extensive executive coaching experience consulting with Fortune 1000 companies related to strategic initiatives focused on long-term profitable growth.


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