2020 was a challenging year for everyone globally. It was especially turbulent if you are a business owner. Your company likely had to contend with some major upheavals, stressors, and challenges. Covid-19 decimated labor markets, stressed supply lines, and ground production to a halt in some unlucky sectors.
The impact of 2020 will stay with us for the rest of our lives. It was a year that blindsided many business owners. While some new businesses were birthed with success and thrived amidst the chaos, many other companies struggled to survive day-to-day.
But it’s a new year now. 2021 is a chance to forget last year’s trials and forge ahead. The new year presents the opportunity to cast a strategic vision that is different from the past and to create more success and growth in your business.
Here are some things you need to do to take your business to greater heights in 2021.
Follow the Trends, Go Digital
A common theme in 2020 was a massive shift to digital. Almost everyone had to work from home. A lot of the processes we were used to doing in-person couldn’t happen. We had to move our habits online.
As a result, most businesses took their bricks-and-mortar operations online, linking everything from simple online payment processing to cloud-based accounting and inventory management. In fact, according to a report, 92% of small businesses reported that they had to “reinvent themselves” to weather the Covid-19 crisis.
This shift still lingers till today. Thus, it would be best if you considered moving any of your moveable business models online. You should also optimize your business model to adopt new technology without difficulty. Consider which elements of your client experience and service could be delivered through automation, saving critical points for human interaction. Businesses that are built to adopt new technology will be best placed to survive as we move forward.
There are a lot of innovations out there. Change unsettles most people, but it is constant for business owners. You’ve likely noticed that the old reliable ways of getting customers and serving them are faltering. As a result, the list of things you need to do to get ahead is growing. Nip these issues in the bud. Act now.
Focus on your core customers, prioritize their needs
In today’s world, there is so much competition for our attention. Therefore, it is more vital than ever to connect with customers and clients who will have a genuine interest in your products or services. Identify your core customer demographic and channel your energy towards them.
In addition, you must understand that the customers’ needs and their problems are in a constant state of change. Therefore, you must be able to determine how to position yourself to cater to these needs. A simple strategy is engaging in a conversation with your clients to identify opportunities. The strategy could be as simple as asking a probing question at the end of every client interaction. You could also take surveys or quarterly client advisory groups, or any other more formal process.
More than ever, staying in tune with the customers’ needs and the problems you can solve is imperative. It is the gateway for future growth and innovation.
Reward your employees
This past year has been just as tough on your team as it’s been on you. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of your customers. Try and reach each employee. Learn what makes them feel valued. Shower them with words of affirmation, gifts, and acts of service.
A lot of people leave their jobs because they feel underappreciated. But, studies show that employees who build a meaningful relationship at work have 50% increased job satisfaction and greater commitment to their jobs, and a stronger sense of social impact.
Your team needs to know you genuinely value them. Talk to your employees to understand what they need. Then, when your team performs at its optimal level, your business has a better chance of success.
Increase your Resilience levels
Slowly, things are going back to normal. But there is still so much uncertainty. So you need to make sure your business is resilient enough to withstand any further disruption.
First, make sure you reserve enough funds for necessary expenses, such as your payroll, production costs, and maintenance payments on any loans you may have.
Second, you should have about six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund. If you do not have up to that, you should pump up your savings.
Then, cater for whatever else you think would protect your downside in 2021. Ask yourself, “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”. You’ll never regret being cautious. Even if nothing terrible happens, your team will operate more confidently with a plan in place. You’ll help everyone learn what risk management means for their role. This is a skill that will benefit them beyond 2021.
Join a startup accelerator program
Staying successful includes staying relevant and competitive. You can only maintain this status by committing to continuous learning. Startup accelerators are an intense but rewarding educational program for small businesses and startups.
Accelerators vary in type. However, what links all accelerators together is the training, mentorship, and network. Occasionally, there might be funding that will give you and your business the boost it needs. But, of course, all of this happens within a supportive environment.
The programs are designed to take your initial traction and direct it with the help of a strong network, advice, and guidance. You will have your business model reviewed by an experienced group of founders and executives. This process will help you assess the validity of your product and ensure you iron out anything that could hinder your business’s development.
Better times are on the horizon. They might not be fully here yet. However, they may never come unless you usher them in.
For 2021 to be the beginning of your comeback story, you need to take action differently enough to move the needle in your business. Make bold moves that advance and protect your business. Marry your vision to these tips, and you can welcome a prosperous new year.
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