The new year is an ideal time for new resolutions. Here is my list of 8 new year's resolutions for entrepreneurs in France for 2020. I have taken a few of these resolutions in the past and will surely apply a few more to my businesses in 2020.
1 - Set yourself achievable quarterly goals
You might have set yourself a yearly income target. Now, how much does this translates in terms of monthly or quarterly sales? Which actions can you take each month or quarter to reach this goal? Take small steps every month.
2 - Concentrate on what you do best and delegate
You love your job or are great at what you do, and this is the reason why you went into business in the first place. But you may not enjoy some of the things that go with having a business, such as marketing, accountancy, web design, emailing or design. You do these things because you are “a team of one”, but at a humongous cost to your motivation and productivity.
Assess the cost of delegating these tasks to another freelancer. How much time and energy will you save? Look at freelancers platforms, such as Upwork and Guru, or try swapping skills with a fellow entrepreneur within your own network.
3 - Stop procrastinating
The joy if being an entrepreneur is that you can organise your time how you want. But having too much freedom can lead to procrastinating, especially when social networks are at bay! Start the week by setting the projects and tasks you really want to get done.
Limit your time on social networks by setting a specific time or sessions within the week. Liaise your surfing with your business goals: are your posts connected, is there a logic or purpose? If you want to see what your competitors are doing, set a specific time in your diary.
4 - Look after yourself
Having so much freedom in our work also means that we sometimes forget ourselves, with no limited working hours. Having a non-stop day while the kids are at school, then adding a few hours work in the evening once they are in bed.
Ask yourself what is your ideal work-personal life balance? When can you really switch-off from work? How much time is really available for your work, when you take off your family commitment - this is particularly true for mumpreneurs and dadpreneurs. Your goals have to be adapted if you can only fit in 3 days of work per week. Review your achievable goals based on your real availability.
5 - Take a day off for inspiration
Getting inspired is what keeps your brain ticking. Take a day off for yourself on a “work-day”: no family commitment or chores to catch up on and get out! Go for a walk, visit a museum or an exhibition, meet up with a friend for lunch, visit a nearby French town you really enjoy. You will feel refreshed and be more inspired to develop your business.
6 - Organise your business paperwork
We all hate paperwork, but letting it pill up is very likely to lead to bad surprises, such as missed deadlines, unpaid taxes, lost papers, etc. And having a French business means having to handle this paperwork. Get a good old ring-binder and start classifying your paperwork as it arrives: legal documents, SSI & URSSAF, CPAM/health or Impots, expenses, invoices, miscellaneous.
Each time you get a letter, decide on whether you need to 1) take action 2) File 3) Bin or keep a copy in miscellaneous just in case... If you are unsure or don’t know what to do with it, get in touch or ask in the forum.
7 - Join a local French entrepreneurs’ network
It is quite likely that your customer base comes from your previous professional or personal network or is based abroad. Or you might work in tourism and rely mainly on online marketing. So why join a local entrepreneurs’ network, when you are not openly looking for local customers?
Not only will it be good for your French and your local integration, but you are also likely to learn a few business tips or French business updates (taxes, training funds, insurance, etc).
Many entrepreneurs’ networks offer a mix of networking, informational meetings and workshops. You might, for instance, have someone giving an overview of entrepreneurs’ insurance, pension rights, new laws such as Loi de Finance which could impact your business.
Have a look around for business groups such as l’Apero des Entrepreneurs (the most informal and friendly), BNI (the most expensive, more appropriate for artisans as it works on referring prospects to each other), Les Pionnières for women entrepreneurs, le Club des Entrepreneurs. Also check with your Chambre de Commerce and smaller local groups usually based around coworking places and shared business buildings called pépinière d’entreprises.
8 - create your own peer group
Most entrepreneurs and expatriates are self-driven and get an awful lot done on their own. It is also great to get some professional input from a peer, whose business spirit you value. Do you have a couple of entrepreneurs nearby, whose point of view you value? Try setting up a co-development group to work on a business issue or swap skills.
I will be setting a couple of “French Entrepreneurs Groups” this year, where a small group of 5 people will meet-up (online) to catch up on their progress. The idea is to get some support and share goals and progresses with expatriates having started a business in France. Email me if you are interested in taking part and I will let you know when it is ready to start.