The Business Resolution: 7 Small Business New Year's Resolutions for Growth
People gravitate to New Year's as a time to set their intentions and purpose for the upcoming year in hopes of becoming better versions of themselves. A small business can benefit from that same spirit and focused energy.
The unique nature of this new year makes it ripe for a focused business resolution that can help harness the strategies and trends that are emerging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated marketing practices, reorganizing the office environment, and improving customer relations are all examples. To grow as a business, it's important to set specific resolutions and then follow up with them throughout the year to ensure they are being implemented.
Here are seven small business New Year's resolutions owners should consider for 2021.
Enhance your small business online brand
Creating and maintaining an online brand may be a key business resolution for 2021 for your business. Your planning should assess what happened in the prior year and use that to inform decision-making for the next. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to adapt with respect to attracting and retaining talent as well as managing customer relations through a virtual presence. Never has an online brand been so important. In many industry areas, it's critical to have a website, use social media and engage customers, and continue communications through email marketing campaigns.
1.) Build or start a website
Websites can anchor an online brand. As such, your new year business plan should include time, attention, and resources for your website. In the current business environment many customers simply expect businesses to have a website and immediately question the validity of those that do not. Not only must a website be aesthetically pleasing, but it must be easy to navigate. Investing in a well-designed website will not only allow your customers to easily access information about your business, but it can help reduce the number of direct calls and emails from customers who can find what they need online. Additionally, a website can play a role in converting curious browsers into new customers. There are several ways to create a website on your own with guidance and templates from URL providers. If you plan to create a website on your own, it's prudent to anticipate that the effort will take more time than you may originally anticipate. Alternatively, you may choose to outsource the creation of your professional website. This latter option gives you the added benefit of gaining specialized experience and knowledge for enhanced performance.
2.) Use social media and interact with customers
Social media, when used carefully, is a form of online networking that allows small business owners to directly interact with their customers and prospective customers. Engaging in social media can take as little as five minutes a day, when used regularly and strategically. Having an online presence that reflects your business brand gives people a chance to learn more about your company's personality, ask questions, and be notified of enticing offers, information, and events. It can also be a strategic way to attract the attention of potential employees whose first interactions with the business may be on social platforms.
3.) Create an email newsletter
With its ability to send information quickly and directly to interested customers and prospects, email marketing is an excellent way to build a loyal customer base and remain in contact with returning customers. Consider using a form on your website to collect a customer's email in exchange for a discount code, coupon, or educational article. Like a website, there are a couple of ways to create a professional-looking and engaging newsletter. There are numerous email services that allow you to build a custom email marketing campaign. If that effort sounds too demanding to your schedule, consider using a freelancer.
Evaluate your business strategy
The new year provides an opportunity to review and restructure several elements of your small business strategy that can help you understand and gauge your ongoing performance while continuing to grow as a business. Business strategy may sound like an overwhelming resolution for company growth, but when broken down into specific tactics, it can help your business reach new levels of success.
4.) Manage your cash flow more effectively
Cash is the fundamental fuel for your small business and should always be on your business resolution list. Its cyclical ebb and flow dictates how well a business can pay its bills and invest in its growth. The importance of strong cash flow management and the ability to mitigate cash flow problems cannot be overstated.
5.) Delegate tasks
Small business owners are accustomed to wearing many hats. They may serve in the role of HR, CEO, or even alongside their employees on a short-handed day. It's not unusual for a business owner to feel compelled to be involved in every detail of their business.
In the effort to advance the business, it's important for a business owner to recognize the value of delegating tasks. Being involved in all the duties of a small business is unsustainable and can create burnout. When a business owner is consumed with managing day-to-day tasks, there is precious little energy left to focus on larger, comprehensive strategies. Indeed, effective delegation is an essential, yet often overlooked process necessary to growing a small business. Delegating with more frequency can be a more efficient and effective way of managing a business.
6.) Consider your office space
Throughout 2020, businesses rapidly adapted to adjust to the changing work environment caused by COVID-19. These trends are changing the role of the physical office in a business. Of course, not every business can adopt a purely remote or hybrid arrangement. For those that can, there are benefits to embracing a more mobile workforce and establishing clear telecommuting policies.
7.) Establish weekly business strategy meetings
Strategy is an intangible concept and planning is vital to converting ideas into action. Short, regular weekly meetings ensure there is time delegated to connecting big-picture goals with myriad small tasks required to achieve them. These meetings can allow small business owners to analyze what's working, what's not, whom to involve, and how to incorporate successful tactics into future strategies. As the year progresses, you can track your business's progress and gain a clear picture of where you're headed.
Tips for achieving your business New Year's resolutions goals
Adopting new habits takes time and effort over a sustained number of days, weeks, and months. This is one reason why ambitious New Year's resolutions often fail. There are some things you can do to improve your odds of success.
- Communicate with your staff. Sharing your small business resolution with your staff increases your accountability for keeping that resolution. Bringing your staff on board also emphasizes that they are a team and working together they can help improve the chance for success.
- Build an emotional attachment to your goal. It's one thing to list out New Year's resolutions, but without an emotional attachment, these resolutions become nothing more than words on paper. Maybe you're motivated to build an online brand to help more people discover your business or increase profitability to improve your and your employees' lives. Identifying the why, and the emotion that goes with it, can be a powerful motivator.
- Challenge yourself when creating goals. Tap into your inner competitive spirit and exercise your grit, willpower, and determination. A New Year's business resolution may be difficult, but accepting the challenge of conquering it can help give you the boost you need to see it through to the end.
- Make your resolutions visible. It's easy to lose sight or even forget your original intentions. Consider writing down or printing your resolutions and putting them in a place where you see them every day.
- Break your ambitious resolutions into small tasks. Sometimes New Year's resolutions stop before they even start because they're too big and unwieldy. Enhancing your online brand may sound intangible and overwhelming, but when broken down into small, individual tasks (e.g. collect ideas, brainstorm website needs and challenges, hire a freelancer, etc.) you may find increased motivation as you move through and accomplish each step.
Every year is filled with challenges. Setting key New Year's resolutions for your business can help give it the important pieces it needs to adapt and thrive in the new environment. Setting goals with intention and backing them with effort can help build the foundation for a successful year and stronger future for your small business.