New Year’s resolutions have become a way of life for Americans. Each year we set some goals and hope we keep some — if not all of them. But like any form of goal setting, what we demand of ourselves needs to be achievable. Resolutions can be challenging — which is why so many of us break them! — but shouldn’t be impossible to see become reality.

The same is true for business owners. While every business plan needs to include achievable goals, some of these goals need to stretch you a bit outside of what is comfortable. Success in any business demands effort and changing or improving the results of your work may mean doing something a bit different.

So if you’re ready to make some changes and get 2019 started on the right track, the following resolutions will help set you up for success in the new year and beyond.

1. Join a new business or networking group. Visibility is important for every business and by getting in front of new faces you can exponentially improve your chances of increasing the size of your client base. Meeting new people and getting referrals from your expanding circle of influence can significantly impact your bottom line.

2. If it’s not working, fix it. Don’t keep trying to do the same thing over and over again if you aren’t seeing results. If the posters aren’t bringing more people to your events, you need to do promotions in social media. If your organic Facebook posts aren’t providing the exposure you need for product, event or service, it’s definitely time to boost your posts. If something isn’t working, make changes but only the ones that make sense.

3. Improve your internet presence. Is your website mobile responsive? Are your images on social media sized correctly? Can your business be found on Google maps? If you aren’t sure about the answers to these questions, these are areas where you can make some basic improvements and launch into 2019 with pride in your digital footprint.

4. Learn something new. The key to self-improvement or any form of success is learning about what you don’t know. Every business owner should be in a constant state of learning in order to really have a corner on their market. Don’t be afraid of failure, because in recognizing failure is the ability to learn and grow. Strive to be the expert at what you do and a resource for others.

5. Give back to your community. A thriving community is necessary for business and business is necessary for a thriving community. It’s a bit circular but is also very true. Take the time to invest in the people and causes that help shape the character of your town. When people see what you care about, this helps them to know more about you and develop a relationship with you and your business. Don’t underestimate the power of giving back, and not just about the impact it can have on your business but also on how it can make you simply a better person.

This piece originally appeared in the Journal Standard on December 28 2018