By Merton Chamber of Commerce Chair, Victoria Nicol.

Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year and a prosperous 2017.

New years marks more than just another turn of the calendar. It has become a time of annual pledges of self-improvement; the quintessential time to make necessary and beneficial changes to lead a happier and healthier life. As a business owner, this is the perfect time of year to reflect on areas of accomplishment or places where desired results were not achieved in 2016 and, to do something about it.

Even if you don’t believe that new year’s resolutions work, having goals for 2017 could help you achieve them. Goals and resolutions are essentially the same thing, so set some goals and call them resolutions. Focus on ones that will help your business next year, that are attainable, and that will guarantee to make you a happier and more relaxed business owner.

From a personal perspective, being a member of the Merton Chamber of Commerce has been hugely beneficial in helping me to grow my own business and I would encourage you, if you have not already done so, to take advantage of the support available through the membership packages. The Chamber’s team of business advisers can support your business growth, help you to develop an action plan to achieve your business goals, and provide ongoing expertise and guidance to help you navigate all stages of your business journey.

So if your new year’s resolution is to start your own business then why not attend one of our Business Basics Workshops where our qualified business advisers will give you expert practical advice on starting a business. If growing your business is your goal for 2017 then building a strong brand which differentiates you from your competitors is key, whilst harnessing the power of social media, which could be a valuable tool to raising your business profile and boosting sales. Check out our Twitter for Business and Building Your Brand workshops for guidance in these areas.

The year will soon be filled with activities, promises and commitments, pleasures and disappointments, work, play, friends and family. So take some time now to focus your mind on what you want to achieve professionally in 2017. I will leave you with the words of Carl Bard, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

May 2017 be a year that brings you happiness, health, and good fortune. I look forward to welcoming you to one of our Chamber events throughout 2017.

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