Talking Business Insight Series Installment #60



Smart New Year's resolutions lead to smart business decisions in 2017

From a travel agency, bakery, bookstore, and more, good advice for setting, and reaching, your goals.


By Alice Lesch Kelly


Resolutions are as much a part of New Year’s as champagne and Auld Lang Syne. In business, making New Year’s resolutions can pave the way for creative thinking and innovative change that leads to significant growth. What are your business resolutions for 2017? As you decide, consider some of the resolutions that other local business owners have made for the new year. 


Resolution: Take a weekly dive into business apps

“My intention for the new year is to find and take advantage of new apps and resources that can help me run my company more efficiently. There are so many more tools available than there were even a couple of years ago for time management, communicating with my team and clients, designing attractive communications, and managing social media engagement, just to mention a few. I want to schedule time each week to researching and seeing how these new tools can help us reach and serve clients even better.” 

—Helen E. Brown, owner of The Helen Brown Group, a fundraising research consulting and training company in Watertown 


Resolution: Find a better fat

“2017 is the year of trying to find an all-natural shortening for our pies. We use a Crisco-like shortening, but more and more customers are asking for us to use something purer. We’ve looked into chemical-free products made with coconut and palm oil, as well as chicken and beef, but we haven’t had luck. Sometimes a product seems promising, but once we start using it in large batches it breaks down or sticks to all the pie presses. It’s not going to be easy.”

—Kristin Broadley, The Centerville Pie Company on Cape Cod 



Resolution: Get better

“My New Year’s resolution is the same as it always is: to make Downeast a better place to work, communicate more effectively, and improve our long-term prospects.” 

—Tyler Mosher, co-founder of Downeast Cider House in East Boston 


Resolution: Get better

“2016 was quite the year for us. We significantly ramped up production, increased our staff twofold, greatly expanded our retail base, and added office space. As we head into 2017, our resolution is to maintain that growth and grow into a national brand.”

—Kate McCrea, co-owner of McCrea’s Candies in Hyde Park

 

Resolution: Enjoy the work while getting the job done right

"My resolution for my business in 2017 is, simply, to have fun doing our jobs while being a beacon for our community. A bookstore is a low-margin business by nature, so we’ve always got our eye on the bottom line. I'd like to go into 2017 with a head full of steam and purpose, and have a lot of fun fulfilling our mission."

—Jeff Kinney, author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series, and owner of An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Café in Plainville




Resolution: Bring in younger customers 

“When we opened in 2010, we were the first paint-and-sip business in the Northeast. In 2017, we are going to expand our kids’ programming in a renovated lower-level space in our Newton location. Over the years, we’ve seen how much kids and their parents like our kids’ birthday parties. Last summer we decided to offer a half-day summer program on a per-day basis. We sold out every day! In 2017, we’ll have an expanded repertoire of themed birthday parties as well as after-school programming and classes on no-school days.”

—Jill Kerner Schon, co-owner of The Paint Bar in Boston and Newton 


Resolution: Talk it up 

“I plan on doing a better job of getting the word out about the fact that Boston Organics is a Certified B Corporation, a designation that means we are committed not only to our shareholders, but also to the environment, our customers, the community we serve, and our employees. I think the public and customers would appreciate that when we make a business decision, we aren’t just thinking about the bottom line. One example of this is how we do deliveries. The people who make deliveries are our employees, not independent contractors. They get paid a living wage, disability insurance, subsidized health insurance, 401K, and other benefits. We also own our vehicles and carry very high levels of insurance, ensuring that the public and our staff are protected.” 

—Jeff Barry, founder and president of Boston Organics, an organic grocery delivery service in Charlestown 


Resolution: Get better at saying ‘no’

“This year I have to start taking a stronger stand with health insurers when they won’t reimburse for medications. When someone needs a life-saving medication and their insurance won’t cover it, I find it hard to say no. I’ve given out medicine to babies, to people with cancer, to women who need medication to sustain a pregnancy. They can’t afford the $3 co-pay, let alone hundreds or thousands of dollars for medication. But I can’t afford to keep doing that. I won’t be able to pay my employees, and I won’t be able to keep my business going. It’s just so wrong the way the insurance companies are constantly looking for new excuses not to reimburse compounding pharmacies adequately. We are the only source of medication when a patient has an allergy to an ingredient or can’t tolerate a drug in its manufactured form.”

—Stephen Bernardi, registered pharmacist and co-owner of Johnson Compounding & Wellness in Waltham 


Resolution: Target those bucket lists

“One of our primary goals for 2017 is what we call our “bucket list project.” When our clients sign up as members, they fill out a questionnaire, and one of the questions is, ‘which places are on your bucket list?’ We hope to organize our customer records this year so we can proactively inform our members of exciting news about their dream destinations in conjunction with their milestone birthdays or special occasions.”

—Lisa Leavitt, co-owner of Active Travels, a full-service membership-based travel agency in Newton 


Resolution: Keep everyone’s eyes on the prize 

“Our job as a marketing and creative agency is 100% on creating more customer value. This has to happen in every department. If a team’s activity does not in some way enhance customer value, that activity will be eliminated. We are going to double-down on focusing on our clients’ business, looking for efficiencies, and executing on them. When our clients sign on for another year, and when they have successful campaigns and increased profitability, we’ll know we are doing our jobs.”

—Cam Brown, president of King Fish Media, a content strategy/digital media agency in Beverly 

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