The Entrepreneur Manifesto For 2019: Forget The Resolutions

(As featured on Entrepreneur Middle East)

Ah January. As any entrepreneur knows, it’s either a month that appears bleak or full of optimism. On the one hand you have those who look back on their choices of 2018, dissecting every decision and dwelling on what could have been, and then there are those that choose to look ahead and focus on what the next 12 months will bring, with that same drive and certainty felt the day they took on their own venture.

I admire people’s optimism and that deceiving calm that falls between December 24 to 31, where ambition seemingly knows no bounds and New Year’s resolutions take on a starring role. But as much as I consider myself a futurist, a new year shouldn’t be used as the only spark for change, it needs to happen alongside the natural evolution of your business.

Don’t get me wrong. Taking stock of past performance is a smart move, especially when giving pause to setting financial goals, but as far as anything else goes, that time has passed – it’s what’s yet to come that we need to set our sights on.  

We’ve all been guilty of falling into comfortable patterns or sticking to what we know, especially in times of disruption. It’s often the knee-jerk reaction in the fight to stay relevant and competitive, when in reality, what we should be doing is actively going against the tide and rediscovering that boldness which landed us the title of maverick in the first pace.

So, in true ‘less is more’ style of looking forward and not back, and more importantly, in the interest of actually practicing what I preach, here are three declarations every entrepreneur should make for the year ahead.

Don’t Make Resolutions – If they are anything like your personal ones, bold business resolutions will fall by the wayside sooner rather than later, leaving you with an unjust feeling of failure. Instead of creating the world’s longest and most ambitious checklist, focus instead on setting more manageable goals aligned with your quarterly business objectives – ones that will truly have a measurable impact on your bottom line.

Forget What You Think You Know – Because today, things are moving so fast that no one can claim to be an expert anymore. Disruption has been the buzzword for the past three years and 2019 will be no different. This is a year set to push people to redefine their positioning and stand apart from their competition. While it is tempting to stay still when all else is shifting around you, or pay lip service to the changing trends without any real conviction, the only way to succeed today is to be agile. Constant learning and keeping up to date with the latest skills, trends and programs that can help support business objectives is a must, although almost always an afterthought when things get too busy. But more importantly, it’s about tearing down what you’ve built, auditing your services and dissecting their relevance, to adapt to market demands. I’m sure we can all remember a time when digital services were few and far between – a ‘nice to have’. Who could have imagined that today such expectations would be a ‘must’? Take the time to see what is going on around you, be objective when looking at your offering and challenge yourself to use your instincts and insights to your advantage.

Get Uncomfortable – Now this one will take a bit of getting used to, but trust me, by throwing yourself into unfamiliar terrain, trying something new, finally doing that thing you have been putting off for years, will give you an incredible sense of clarity. Disconnecting is what helps us reconnect to our purpose in business and in life. There’s a reason why coworking spaces and entrepreneurial retreats are skyrocketing in popularity; we can easily get exposure to similar or contrasting industries, find new creative counterparts to bounce ideas off, learn more simply by sharing our stories and embracing some much-needed digital detox time. Breaking your usual pattern and seeking new ways to be creative will help you broaden your horizons in the long run and widen the focus beyond just your business. This is the time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable – some of your best work will come from it.

Here’s to 2019.