Not everyone is a fan of New Year’s resolutions. However, by reviewing your day-to-day problems and bottle necks it could create better habits and solutions. This could help to give your business operations a refresh for the start of the year and enable you to hit the ground running in 2022.
These resolutions should help you brainstorm how you can reinvigorate your business operations this year. Think carefully about what day-to-day and longer term problems you want to solve and how you can create better habits to make them happen. Also, consider what larger projects will make the biggest impact on your business.
9 Resolutions For Small Businesses
It’s easy to get over zealous and carried away with the new year spirit. Over ambitious targets will lead to disappointment and impact the bottom line. The key to any good organisational system is to create realistic processes.
So how do you achieve these? Take a good hard work at what did and did not work for your business and team last year.
- Are there processes which seem more trouble than they are worth?
- Did some processes need continual reworking as they didn’t seem to fit with the systems in place?
- What processes are missing?
- Are some processes not used as they don’t seem to operate with the current business structure?
These findings can be used to update your processes for 2022.
Many small business owners struggle with delegation. They are used to wearing many hats spanning many aspects of their business: marketing, finance, operations and much more. It’s a challenge to step away from what you’ve worked so hard to build and let someone else take on additional responsibilities.
Consider what tasks you struggle with most and what takes up most of your and your team’s time. Do you spend too much time on small administrative tasks that an assistant and/or software could handle with more speed? Do creative projects like marketing campaigns keep you up late into the night.? Are you managing your financial accounts correctly?
Your time as a business owner is costly. You could actually end up saving money by hiring extra help or investing in software to free up more of your time? Your attention can focus on critical areas to grow your business.
Update Your Business Plan
A good business plan is critical to the success of a small business. It’s a living document that provides a road map to keep you organised and on track. However it often gets neglected and becomes out of date and defunct. An evolving plan is essential if you are looking to refinance or fundraise, launch a new product or service or expand into a new market. A strong and updated business plan can be used to illustrate your business’s worth to outside parties.
The new year is an ideal time to revisit and update it with latest financial figures, short and long-term goals, competitor analysis, sales reports and any other relevant information. This will ensure that your business will continue to grow in 2022.
Just like with your business plan, your marketing plan needs scrutiny.
Here are some helpful questions to help you analyse your marketing plan.
- What worked well for your business last year?
- Are there areas that weren’t so effective?
- Which channels worked hardest for you, stretching your marketing budget furthest?
- What social channels worked best for you for sales/engagement/profile raising?
By identifying what efforts proved most fruitful last year you can update your marketing plan with insight and knowledge. Your new plan should remove anything that didn’t work and prioritise and enlarge on what worked best for your business. This will help dictate where your 2022 marketing budget should be invested to ensure the biggest return.
It’s also important to investigate new strategies yet to be implemented that might work well for your business. This is an ideal area to seek professional help from experts who can update you on new trends and applications that you might not have yet considered.
Running a small business is often a juggle and you are pulled in many directions. When you’re overloaded with work it’s difficult to prioritise anything that doesn’t immediately impact on the bottom line.
Networking is not always an instant return maker but making an effort to make a new connection once a week or even once a month can reap rewards. It might be a new business lead, an exciting collaboration or valuable market intel but the more you create an expanding and strong professional network the more rewards you’ll see.
Make sure networking is cited as a priority rather than a task that gets rolled over week on week but never actioned.
Prioritise Good Customer Service
Good customer service matters. We mentioned processes in Step 1. Robust processes that are adhered to will avoid damaging customer mistakes.
According to a survey by Gartner 81% of marketers view customer satisfaction as the main competition area in their industry. According to PWC 59% of customers will leave a company after several bad experiences and 17% after one bad experience. And yes, they won’t be back.
When it comes to customer service, people remember the really bad experiences as often, if not more, as the really good ones.
‘it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.’ (Warren Buffet)
According to The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (July 2021) the number of customers who prefer to pay more for excellent service has increased in the last year, to 31.6% . The leading reason why customers prefer excellent service, even if it costs more, is because they trust an organisation or feel reassured that they receive the support and advice they need
Identify what your biggest mistakes were in 2021 and how you and your team can avoid them in the future. It’s not all about the negative, it’s equally important to highlight the successes and how these can be replicated and built on in 2022.
Look For Automation Opportunities
Systems and applications are impacting every aspect of our daily lives making things easier and saving time but are you using them to their full potential in your business?
Look for areas of your business that you can automate. Software can automate emails, manage inventory, create task lists and manage diaries. They can help with processes such as invoicing, bookkeeping, customer service and sales which all means there are less tasks for you and your team to worry about. This frees up more time, gets more done, reduces the margin for mistakes and helps drive efficiency.
Additional they can help remote staff to be kept connected and up to speed on business.
Invest In A Mentor
Small business owners and entrepreneurs need a mentor regardless of their success or achievements. A good mentor that reflects your values can bring experience, an extended network and a fresh perspective to the table. Mentors can see a problem through fresh lenses. They can help operate as a soundboard as you navigate the ups and downs of the path ahead.
Life as a business owner can be lonely and a mentor can help with those quick but critical decisions that you need to make and help you minimise the consequences and maximise the return.
We’ve all returned from an extended holiday break with vigour, full of energy to hit the ground running. New Year adds that spark of wanting to create something exciting for the year ahead.
Though it’s great to capitalise on this energy consider creating a plan to beat burnout and drive direction; rather than dive headfirst into 2022. It’s no secret that many small business owners are overstretched. Burnout it not good for you, your business or your personal life. By putting in place clear boundaries, managing your diary, scheduling breaks and holidays and learning to delegate will help you avoid burnout.
We have all have different thresholds as to how we manage the pressures going on in our lives and have varying ways of coping with stress. It’s important to ensure you’re running your life and business in a way that works for you. Learning to say ‘no’ and stepping away from your work at certain times is paramount for your health and your business. It’s all about the right balance.
Get More Done
Most small businesses and entrepreneurs are a one-man show or have a small team. They say time is money and any business owner will know the truth in this all too well.
Sometimes it does pay to trust the experts. Outsourcing allows you to get more done whilst trusting important tasks and processes to professionals without having to actually grow your headcount. It allows you to keep costs under control, increase efficiency and focus on the parts of your business that you actually enjoy and are good at.
Spend your time wisely, wasting as little as possible. Don’t tie up your precious hours in unnecessary or inefficient tasks. Instead invest your time in the most valuable and necessary tasks that will gain you the most rewards.
Still not convinced? Ask yourself, ‘Am I really the best person to do this job, or is the fear of losing control and the unknown getting in the way?’
Outsource To Achieve More
At Buy Time our clients are assigned a dedicated VA who work on an entirely flexible and pay as you go basis. They operate as an integral part of your team to support your business or household. They are able to flex with your requirements, providing more or less hours as necessary and therefore reduce the financial strain whilst supporting your business grow.
Buy Time are also able to provide holiday cover etc. so your business is never without support.
Our focus is our client. We therefore offer a flexible and transparent pricing structure. With no contract, subscription charges or minimum usage requirement, there are no real overheads to consider. Simply ‘buy time’ as it’s needed. We charge an hourly rate and in 5-minute slots. It is not as expensive as you think.
We support businesses and individuals starting out on their journey as well as more established organisations. Many clients have been with us for years: our long-term relationships have benefited from this approach for well over a decade.
Here To Help
If you would like to have an informal chat about how Buy Time can help support your business, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 371 7115.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and business-booming new year!