As the new year approaches and we put 2021 behind us it's a good time to think about your small business resolutions for 2022. Running a small business is complex, time-consuming, and sometimes downright difficult. We hope that our tips for a year focused on building both your business and work-life balance help to put a smile on your face today, and an added zero to your sales figures for next year.
It's no secret that there is an unending supply of "gurus" eager for you to spend your hard-earned money and finite time drinking in their Kool-Aid for everything from email marketing to the latest social media crazes. Just because a method or platform works for some giant brand with unlimited resources doesn't mean that it will work for your small business.
By reducing the urge to hop on every bandwagon you'll save yourself wasted energy and wasted spend. If you're not sure what qualifies as Kool-Aid and what qualifies as bonafide good advice then seek the advice of a trusted local provider.
All work and no play doesn't only make Johnny a dull boy, it also makes his life more difficult in general. This year we recommend you exercise more control over your business and life by delegating what you can either to employees, trusted vendors, or automation. Free up your own time and resources just a bit this year to get more of your life back in your own hands.
Learn something new this year. Perhaps choose the one flavor of Kool-Aid that most interests you and take a deep dive into it. Opportunities for learning are everywhere. Perhaps you want to improve your time management skills, learn new software, or understand more fully what it takes to exit your business by selling it. If it piques your interest and promises to propel your business forward it's a good bet that you'll enjoy learning something new.
Not you personally - your business. Is there something that doesn't work well with what you offer? Drop it. Leave it behind and move forward. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he famously trimmed their product lineup to four items in order to focus the company and begin the march back to profitability. If you're serving an enormous menu of foods, but you have high food costs then paring back on the perishable ingredients you have in inventory can help. If you have a process that just doesn't work then it's time to lose the weight.
Managing stress is a big one. Every small business owner knows too well the mounting pressures involved in building their business. If you take action on #2 in our list then you'll recognize that delegation and automation can help reduce stress. Stepping away from everything for even a few minutes a day can help. Breathing, relaxing, exercising, and even "working" on your hobbies can help reduce your stress. Coming back to your business with renewed vigor and lowered anxiety can work wonders for moving your business forward. Remember to care for yourself first!
Giving back to your community is important. If all your small business does is take from the community then you aren't being a very good neighbor. Find a local cause or purpose that resonates with you and your business and dedicate resources to further that cause.
In our business we have a focus on and dedication to education and training. We support our local schools by hosting internship opportunites for students. We don't use our interns to perform work for our clients - we don't see interns as resources for exploitation. Instead, we provide training for our interns. We take time from our days to work with them one-on-one to develop the skills they are exploring, and we help guide them toward greater understanding of what's out there that they may be interested in discovering further. By helping our local youth explore these opportunities we give back to our community.
Every new year is a great time to revisit your business plan and your marketing plan. These should be living documents and new goals should be set at least once a year (we do ours more frequently). When you set goals you have something specific to shoot for and to measure against. Setting goals for your business in the new year inevitably leads to accomplishing goals.
Unfortunately the world can be cruel and the online world especially. Take time this year to improve the security of your business. Website attacks, identity theft, ransomware and other threats are just as likely to strike your small operation (or you personally) as they are to hit big companies. If you aren't sure where to start get in touch and we can help you craft a plan to improve your small business securtiy.
If the pandemic of 2021 taught us anything it's that human connections matter. They not only build relationships, they build business. Join groups, attend events, and tend to the connections which matter in your life. Your business will benefit.
Lastly, be authentic. Don't concern yourself with perfection and focus instead on simply being true to your mission, true to your own voice, and true to your customers. There are lots of companies out there that are happy to charge you money to be your voice on social media, but the voice they portray is actually their own - not yours. Even if you outsource your social media be sure the company you use isn't doing the exact same stuff for all their clients. Your customers deserve to get to know the real you!