As the end of 2016 draws near, take a break from preparing for the holidays and going to office parties to set goals for 2017.

What can you do in 2017 that will improve your business? What are a few goals — let’s not call them resolutions — you can set, and keep, to create a stronger business environment in the New Year?

Be sure to be specific when setting goals. Set action items and track progress either weekly or monthly to see if the new initiatives are helping to reach the goals.

Here are a few suggestions from

• Increase sales through social media and speaking engagements. Get the name of the business, what you do, and which niche you fill in front of as many people as possible. Become known as a subject matter expert in your field through Twitter and Facebook engagements, public speaking and blogging regularly on your business website.

• Focus on marketing. Increase your social media budget, contribute to Twitter daily and add to your contacts through networking. Commit to joining a new networking group — in Colorado Springs, there’s a Meetup for nearly every industry. Small businesses can network through Peak Startup; Middle Market Entrepreneurs have their own group; women can join the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber for assistance in navigating business as a woman owner.

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• Need to improve internal communications? Try using technology. Slack is taking office communications to a new level — more immediate than email, Slack can help people in different offices and even different cities communicate quickly and effectively. Take advantage of DropBox and Google Docs to make sure everyone is on the same page.

• Bad at delegating? Take time in 2017 to delegate more routine tasks to focus on growing your business. Hire an assistant or train a staff member to pick up additional responsibilities. Cross-train other staff members for long-term projects to avoid downtime when people are on vacation or out of the office. Commit to monthly or quarterly training for routine projects.

• Plan. Create a plan for the business’ direction. If you don’t know how to get where you want to be in December 2017, you might get lost along the way. Create a plan, but be flexible. Break it down into weekly sessions — figure out what worked, what didn’t, and move on from there.

• Learn something new. Enrich both your personal and professional lives by learning a new skill. Take up skiing or mountain biking; learn to sew or discover the joys of beekeeping. A new skill will provide depth and richness beyond the walls of your office.

• Seek work-life balance. Some of us are always at the office, always checking email, always available. Unplug. Use those vacation hours. Be sure to catch your son’s play or your daughter’s basketball game. Go to yoga. Turn off your cell phone. You’ll find that you’re better at your job when you spend some time away from it, regaining your energy and enthusiasm.

• Get involved and give back. Business is the lifeblood of any community, but the community needs more than just workers. It needs volunteers, energy, ideas, creativity. Get involved through the city’s committees or nonprofits; give back to the people who use your business — the local residents. There’s no better way to earn goodwill than by joining a nonprofit board, supporting a charity and giving back to Colorado Springs.

• Drop what’s not working. Don’t be afraid to let go of what is not growing your business and feeding your soul. Once you free up that time and effort, you’ll find solutions that encourage both business and personal growth.