All Articles Leadership Management How are you trying to improve yourself -- and your business -- in 2017?

How are you trying to improve yourself — and your business — in 2017?

14 entrepreneurs on what they are trying to improve about themselves in the new year.

6 min read


yec_Darrah Brustein

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily newsletter for entrepreneurs.

Q. What’s one thing you’re trying to improve about yourself going into 2017 that will benefit your business?

1. Steadiness

I’ll continue to work on my ability to stay steady in times of crisis or challenge with my businesses. I’ve found that the better I can practice this habit, the more likely I am to see a clearer path to a solution rather than to focus on the emotions of the situation. — Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

2. Making more time for networking

Spending more time meeting with like-minded and successful entrepreneurs has been very helpful this year. Many new connections have helped me accelerate my learning, meet key vendors who can help my business and introduce me to other leaders in our space and in complimentary industries. I will be making more time in 2017 to amplify my efforts to build my network with meaningful connections. — Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

3. Striving for excellent client communications

We typically send out an in-depth summary of our services and accomplishments we provided for each of our clients at the end of the month. However, we’ve resolved to ramp up our communication efforts to keep clients as “in the know” as possible. Every email we send out, every blog post we publish, every marketing effort — we’ll be benefiting both our clients and ourselves moving forward. — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

4. Constantly expanding my expertise

I started off with one business and as I gained skills and knowledge about marketing and prospecting, I started a digital marketing agency along the way. I set aside time every year to brainstorm what I’m good at, what I want to learn about, and how to make those two characteristics mesh into a new business opportunity. My personal motto is ‘Always be learning. Always be growing.’ — Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Learning more outside my field

As a time-strapped entrepreneur, I’ve found that it’s too easy to develop tunnel vision and solely focus on learning new things directly related to my field. While learning about finance is great, I’ve realized it’s important to keep a well-rounded education, especially because my firm has to be marketable to outsiders. The most unexpected business insights come from the strangest of places. — Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

6. Not taking things personally

It is hard when your blood, sweat, and tears are in the product not to take things personally. The reality is that nobody is critiquing you specifically but trying to make the product better in the long run. — Jayna Cooke, EVENTup 

7. Organization and planning

I’m slightly more right brain than left brain focused and I tend to get caught up in moments of ideas and creativity. If I can focus more and plan out my days, I will be able to fit in both the creative fun things we get to do and accomplish all I need to to stay on top of the business side of things. Being organized also helps your employees to focus on their jobs and sets a good example. — Jessica Brown, Ivy & Aster/Lovelane LLC

8. Being patient In 2017

I will be working on my patience. As an entrepreneur and CEO, I find that I’m often trying to drive things forward as quickly as possible, while forgetting that my team members may need time to get on board or to complete the necessary work to get where I want the company to be. There’s a process, and it’s more fun doing it together than being impatient at the finish line alone. — David Ciccarelli,

9. Putting regular strategic planning into motion

I easily get wrapped up in the day-to-day activities of my business and the larger strategic plan often gets lost. I recently attended an intensive strategic planning seminar that forced me to look at my business more strategically. One takeaway from this session was about holding regular, weekly, reviews of larger strategic goals and the steps needed to achieve those goals. — Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc.

10. Getting on a tighter schedule

My life has improved nearly every time I’ve focused on sticking harder to a schedule, and I’m going to try to practice that more this year. I’m going to more thoughtfully look at the things I’m scheduling and think about their value in my life. I’m going to be stricter about both my time on the job and the time I spend off. — Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

11. Taking advantage of technology and learning how to best use it

Right now in my business, I’m taking advantage of technology solutions and learning how to best use them. For example, I’m learning to use Skubana to transfer all my products from various e-commerce platforms into one place. This benefits my business, as it increases efficiency and productivity. — Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

12. Being introspective and self-aware

To continue to be even more introspective and self-aware. As a leader, it’s easy to avoid seeking out things you don’t want to hear, but you can always get better. I’m currently going through a 360-review program with my employees to gain insight into what I can improve in the new year. — Simon Berg, Ceros

13. Living in the moment

I do not want to spend 2017 chasing goals for 2018 and beyond. I want to spend 2017 living in complete awareness and gratitude every moment in every day. This is no easy feat, but I sure will do my best to try. — Anthony Davani, Kreoo/The Davani Group

14. Delegating more

It is difficult as an entrepreneur to let go of your baby. But this is one of the most important things you can do for the success of your business. Make sure you hire great people so that their decisions will be a reflection of yours. Then, give them responsibility. If you are trying to do everything, you are doing a disservice to your business and your team members. — Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors, LLC