Business Blog

Should You Make New Year's Business Resolutions?

Many people make New Year's Resolutions for themselves. Should they also be making resolutions for their businesses?

On the one hand, resolutions can give direction. Direction is a good thing. You're much better off having some idea of where you're headed versus simply drifting along doing what needs to be done day to day, waiting for something to happen.

On the other hand, if your business resolutions meet the same fate as most personal ones, what's the point?

Though you can make the arguement that a resolution is the same thing as a goal, I'm going to make a distinction. A resolution is indefinite, a yearning for how you want to be: "I'm going to loose weight this year" or "I'm going to have better relations with my mother."

A goal is more specific: "I'm going to loose 10 pounds by March" or "I'm going to call my mother once a week."

Was This a Problem That Needed Solving?

Perhaps the most evergreen of business advice is that you need to find a problem to solve.

I doubt there is a ever a week that goes by without a handful of bloggers reaching into the recyclying bin to pull out the well worn advice. You can find this week's installments here, here and here.

Not that there's anything wrong with the notion. As with anything oft repeated, there is a great deal of truth in it.

I'm curious though, what problem is this solving?:

Five Guys Coke MachineFive Guys Drink Machine

What you Need to Know about Business Advice

If someone were to devise a Google like algorithm to assign value to business advice, then add up all of those values, the result would be some number very close to zero.

Take for example a business question that has been on the mind of every entrepreneur since at the dawn of the last ice age when the entrepreneurial Zog tried selling his pelts village to village. Of course no one in his village wanted any, they all had access to the same supply he did. As he carried his load to the other villages in the valley it was the same story. Zog was discouraged. He wondered, “Should I give up, or hump these things over the mountain and try to sell them in the next valley?”

Quit or persevere? One expert will tell you to know when to quit, another equally successful expert will opine that you should never quit. Assign a value of 5 to persist and –5 to quit, and you see that the advice adds up to zero.

The same is true for all opinions given without knowledge of the facts. They all have the same value. Zero, zilch, nada, nothing.

Sure, the generalities persist. It’s probably not a good idea to start a land war in Central Asia or try to make a better search engine than Google. It’s not likely that you can loose money on every transaction but make up for it on volume. And for God’s sake I don’t need another photo sharing app. But beyond that, you know more about what you’re doing than I or anyone else banging out advice on a keyboard.