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Lead Your Team Strategy

10 Business Authors' New Year's Resolutions for You

10 Business Authors' New Year's Resolutions for You Credit: Dreamstime.com

There are lots of great business books out there but, as a small-business owner, you may not have time to read them all. Luckily, we were able to get some of the country's best business writers to distill their business theories into one short and sweet New Year's resolution for you. Even if you only pick one or two, you'll be on the road to building your business in 2012.

Here is my New Year's resolution for small-business owners: Start every day with strategic clarity by spending 10 minutes reviewing what one-to-five things you want to achieve this year, what your strategic priorities are for achieving them, and (most importantly) what businesses, activities and opportunities you have decided to say "no" to because they distract you from what is truly important. – Kaihan Krippendorff, author of "Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore" (Wiley, December 2011)

My New Year's resolution is to try more small experiments - things that might seem odd, and might well fail, but which have a small downside and a large potential upside. This needs to be a resolution because I, like so many others, get stuck on "it probably won't work" and don't focus enough on "but if it did work it would be amazing!" – Tim Harford, "Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011)

Get with someone on how to do correct social media marketing. Don't just set up a Facebook Page, a Twitter Account and a Google+ Business Page and hope things turn out well. – Joel Libava, "Become a Franchise Owner!: The Start-Up Guide to Lowering Risk, Making Money, and Owning What you Do"(Wiley, 2011)

Stay current on transformative trends. Based on 28 years of research and analysis of current hard trends, it's evident that the next five years will usher in the biggest technological transformation in human history, transforming how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, educate and research. We are entering the era of "big data, meaning anyone can access data streams and analyze them using a smart phone or tablet. For example, Wall Street is now mining Tweets to determine mood and sentiment among the public. As technology progresses, it will be more common for people and companies to have moment-by-moment data for a variety of uses that will give us intelligence and help us learn about, react to and anticipate changes that are happening globally. – Daniel Burrus, "Flash Foresight" (HarperBusiness, 2011)

Make this the year that you declare constructive war on yourself. Ask yourself if your marketing sucks-- if it fails to produce ROI-- and if it does, can it.  – Mark Stevens, "Your Company Sucks" (BenBella Books, 2011)

Startups must resolve to get involved in local and national policy matters that have a direct effect on their ability to raise funds, secure timely patents, grow their businesses and create the jobs our nation so desperately needs. – Henry R. Nothhaft, "Great Again: Revitalizing America's Entrepreneurial Leadership" (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011)

To spend a little less time each day staring into screens, and a little more interacting directly with the people around me. Because eye contact is good for business, and for life.– William Powers, "Hamlet's Blackberry" (Harper, 2010)

My New Year's Resolution for small-business owners is to watch someone else use your website. Ask them to perform basic tasks common for customers and potential customers, like contacting you, finding information about your services, or purchasing something. Watch to see if they have any problems so you know where to make corrections. Online, small businesses compete directly with big businesses. Having a website that’s easy for people to use is key for competitiveness. If your visitors get confused, inconvenienced or stymied, they're just one click away from the competition. – Aaron Shapiro, "Users, Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business" (Portfolio, 2011)

Never use words alone when a picture tells a better and fuller story. If I can say it with words, I will find a way to draw it
out as well. – Dan Roam, "Blah, Blah, Blah: What to Do When Words Don't Work" (Portfolio, 2011)

Resolve to make your company a more civil, considerate and respectful workplace. Also, work to improve your business relationships--with both coworkers and clients. – Daniel Post Senning, "Emily Post's Etiquette" (William Morrow, 2011)