As we turn the page to 2021 (thank goodness), it’s time to start looking toward what we, as business owners, can do to move forward and be successful.
So, if you’re looking at some New Year’s Resolutions for your business, here’s a great place to start
Be Prepared Financially
There were a lot of lessons learned in 2020, especially for business owners. They found their business acumen stretched and tested like no other year before. Now that we appear to be on a slow path to recovery, it’s time for you to get prepared.
Over the past year, you’ve learned how to make your business lean and mean. Odds are, you’ve had to make cuts and you’ve learned what your business needs and what it can live without. If you can manage, make some of those cuts permanent and start building up your business savings.
Create a rainy-day fund and contribute to it weekly. DO NOT touch that fund. This about making sure that your business is ready for another crisis. A rainy-day fund will help secure the future of your business and give you peace of mind so that you can make better decisions in the here and now.
Re-Examine Your Customers Needs
This is something you should be doing every year, but even more so as we move into 2021. Every business industry was affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. For some, their business models changed and they found new ways to conduct their business. For others, they pivoted and jumped into new industries and new sources of income.
Look at your core clients and think about what changes they have made. Do they still need the same thing from you? Do they need more? Is there another way you can serve them that would better fit their needs? Is there a new, adjacent direction your business can take that would serve more customers?
The businesses that are thriving right now have looked at the market, realized that the needs have changed, and pivoted to make sure that these new needs are being served. Don’t allow your business to fall behind.
Let’s Get Digital
According to a 2019 Pew Research study, 90% of adults in America are connected to the internet. 90%. If you’re not online, then you’re doing your business a disservice.
Get a website. Make it mobile-friendly, meaning people can view it with their smartphones and tablets. Create an online store if you sell goods.
That’s just the start and I’m crossing my fingers, hoping that you already have all that.
Once that’s set, start jumping on social media. Pick a few that you feel comfortable with or at least semi-comfortable with. Facebook is good for sharing pictures and short stories about what your business is up to. Instagram is great if you have picture-worthy content (think mouthwatering plates of food). Twitter is a great place if you think you can sum it up in 280 characters or less.
Get some email marketing going. You should be emailing your current clients and potential clients to keep your business in the back of their minds. Even a simple, “Hi. Hope you had a happy holiday. We’re looking forward to working with you in 2021.” will let them know you care and you’re thinking about them.
Start figuring out how to land your company at the top of Google searches. Become a trusted source by creating consumable content that people can use.
There’s so much digital marketing that you can do to help customers find you instead of you finding them.
If you’re stuck, that’s what we’re here for. Intentionally Inspirational has worked hard to understand digital marketing and keep up with the changing market. We’re here if you need us, just schedule a call.
Create Other Streams of Revenue
For some business owners, things are going great. But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. If 90% of your income is all coming from the same source, then what happens if that source of revenue suddenly stops? Your business dies overnight.
That’s why you must create other sources of revenue so that even if one or more of those sources dries up, you still have a way to make money.
It’s a topic I wrote about a few months ago when I talked to Intentionally Inspirational founder Jason Wright about his 6 Buckets of Income. That post is a great jumping-off point if you’re looking for a way to make sure your business survives well past 2021.
Evaluate Your Current Revenue Streams
The other thing you want to do is evaluate the revenue streams you have currently. Is one of them taking up 50% of your time, but only bringing in 5% of your revenue? Do you have a revenue stream that hasn’t been used in more than six months?
By evaluating your current revenue streams and getting rid of the underperforming ones, you’re freeing up resources that you can now commit to the new revenue streams you’re creating.
Find a Mentor or Adviser
You’re the owner, so you are the decision-maker in your business. Some business owners are lucky enough to have trusted employees to sound ideas off of. Others are on their own. Every business owner needs someone to talk to, to get advice from, and to get a second perspective from.
If you don’t have that, find it.
Check out a MeetUp or look on LinkedIn. Look for a local networking group that’s involved in your industry. Check in with your local small business administration. Join your local chamber of commerce.
If you’re really ambitious, start your own networking group with other local small business owners. You need people that you can talk through ideas and problems with, it’s the best way to help your business grow.
No matter how hard you try, you cannot do it all. While 2020 may have been the year that you were forced to do it all for your business, no one can sustain that level of work forever. Make 2021 the year that you delegate. Take the tasks that you hate off of your plate and give them to someone else.
When you delegate the things about your business that aren’t fun and take on the tasks that are, you find new energy and a renewed love for your work.
Unstoppable CEO founder Steve Gordon talked to Wright about that earlier this year. Gordon says when you start to delegate, you free yourself up to do the things you love and your business starts growing as a result. Delegating gives you the time to focus on business growth.
We also learned from 2020 that time with the ones you love is the most important time of all. When you create and look at your business calendar for 2021, make sure you schedule in time for your family. Save a week during the slow season to visit your parents or take your kids on that camping trip they’ve always asked for.
While your business is valuable and possibly your family’s only source of income, all the money in the world cannot replace time with the people you love. Don’t forget who you’re working for.
Stay safe and have a happy holiday.
Written by Erika Towne