1. Figure out how your customers’ needs have changed.
This Covid-19 pandemic is a shock for the whole world. Almost all your customers’ lives are different than they were a few months ago, and they will probably be different again in six months. They may never be the same. Your short-term cash flow depends on providing them with goods and services during the crisis. Your long-term viability depends on understanding how their needs will be different when the pandemic is over.
The first thing to consider is that people are building new habits right now. There are millions of isolated households whose normal routines have been upended, and just like them, you must experiment if you want to remain a part of their lives. Some restaurants are offering takeout comfort food, even if they usually just serve in their dining rooms. Retailers are emphasizing online experiences. Your customers do not need a vapid email about how you care about them, but they do need entertainment and comfort, and hope. Some of their new habits will persist after the pandemic, which means it is particularly important for you to figure out how to continue to offer services that deliver value during the crisis.
Think hard about how the post-pandemic world will change your business model — and bring your customers into your planning process. Many of your customers will be poorer, but they will also be eager to enjoy themselves after the long seclusion. Many will still be scared about the risks of contagious disease. Some of them may have decided that they like ordering online. E-commerce has spiked by nearly 40% in the wake of Covid-19.
Reach out to them to learn how their lives have changed and figure out the most exciting thing that you can offer your customers once they can leave their homes. Ask them what they are looking forward to and help them look forward to the day that they can buy from you again.
2. Take steps to improve your digital presence
If it’s been more than a year since your site has been updated, if you haven’t taken action to make your online presence mobile-friendly, if you still haven’t created an email marketing list, or if digital isn’t part of your marketing strategy at all, it’s time to add this to your new resolutions. You could even take a step further than mobile-friendly and use a mobile-first approach to your digital presence.
3. Promote your business regularly and consistently
Since small business owners wear a lot of hats, you might not always have “marketing” at the top of your to-do list. While you should focus on delivering that amazing small business experience, you should not forget to market that amazing experience to the outside world. To attract new customers, you must make promotion a priority. Take the time to create a marketing plan or, if your funds allow it, hire a marketing expert to help you set it up.
4. Make business strategizing a weekly event
Planning is vital if you want to foster a growing business. But running a small business can be chaotic and it is easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations. Business strategizing allows you to take a step back and highlight what worked and what did not while adjusting old goals and setting new ones. So why do it just once a quarter or once a year? Set aside time each week to review your strategies. This will help you stay on track and allow you to have a clear hold on your business.
5. Drop What's Not Working and Move On
All products are not going to be super sellers, all sales methods are not going to work for everyone, and all suppliers or contractors are not going to be ideally suited to your business. If a technique, product, or business relationship is not working for you, stop using it. Do not invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.
6. Learn how to manage your cash flow more effectively
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business. In fact, a prominent study from the financial services company U.S. Bank found that 82 percent of startups and small businesses fail due to poor cash-flow management.
7. Set Realistic Goals & Find a Trusted Advisor or Coach
Goal setting is a valuable habit—if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Resolve that the goals you set will be achievable, not so far out of reach they only lead to frustration. If you have trouble setting realistic goals, there are ways to map out a formula that makes sense for you. Research & follow the filter for “Smart” goals.
There is a reason why runners often train with a group. It helps to have someone keep you accountable and motivated to hit your goals and get things done.
The American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability. They found people are 65% likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. That is a pretty good increase. However, that chance of success increases to 95% when they build in ongoing meetings with their partners to check in on their progress. That is a huge difference!
Bottom line: write down your goals, find a trusted advisor or coach, and then make sure you regularly meet or check-in with them. You will be crossing those items off your list faster than ever!
8. Learn to Delegate and Do More of It
There are so many things to do when you are running a small business, it is easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we are so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else. Let someone else do some of the tasks for a change. Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance.
9. Put Time for Yourself on Your Calendar
All work and no play are a recipe for mental and physical disaster. So, if you have trouble freeing up time to do the things you enjoy, write time regularly into your schedule to "meet with yourself" and stick to that commitment. If you will not invest in yourself, who will?
10. Give Back to Your Community
There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Those who give, get. Nothing will seed and grow goodwill for you and your business better than giving back to your community. So, make one of your top resolutions to find a cause that matters to you and give what you can. Make this the year that you serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in your community that make the place you live better.