Resolutions for small-business owners

If you haven’t got round to making any business resolutions yet for 2011, or are stuck or ideas, here are some belated suggestions.

Resolution 1

Raise your fees, if you haven’t already, especially if you live in the UK. See my own Resolution no. 1. If you’re a translator, check out Kevin Lossner’s post on the latest BDÜ rate survey and 3-year trend. It focuses on Kevin’s German to English language combination but makes interesting reading for all of us. If you’re not a translator, check it out and be bemused by the complexity of our fee systems!

Resolution 2

If your work involves writing, editing or translating, print off and read your work in hard copy before delivering to your client. It’s a surefire way to improve quality — you’ll notice mistakes and clunkiness you just don’t see on the screen. If you’re worried about ink consumption, use Century Gothic or Ecofont (which apparently use less ink than other fonts) and print in draft mode if available. To minimise paper consumption, buy recycled or otherwise “green” paper to start with and either print on both sides or re-use the paper by printing other drafts on the blank sides.

Resolution 3

Get involved in educational outreach. Schools and local authorities who organise employability and careers days are always on the look-out for people from the world of work to take part. If you work with languages, contact the language department at your local school. The teachers will probably welcome you with open arms: you’re evidence that language-learning can be relevant (even if it doesn’t involve Chinese!).

Resolution 4

Go to see The King’s Speech. It’s a marvellous film on so many counts. For small-business owners it also provides, in the form of Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, an object lesson on how to handle clients — on your terms. A bit extreme for most of us, maybe, but food for thought.

Resolution 5

Learn a new skill. Your business will benefit, and so will you.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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  1. What a great post! Thanks for the suggestions.
    My new year’s resolution was actually to start a translation business with my husband 🙂
    We’re on it, and your ideas will definitely come in handy.

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