Have you compiled a list of New Year's resolutions for your small business in 2022? Resolutions don't have to be limited to your personal life. Consider how you can improve in the upcoming year in your role as a small business owner.
Of course, everyone's list will be different. But here are eight common aspirations that usually make good business sense.
1. Learn to Do Something New
The skills and talents you bring to the table have helped you get to where you are today. But that doesn't mean that there's no room for improvement. Stepping outside your comfort zone by learning a new skill could serve your business well. It could be a managerial attribute or a function relating to your industry or profession. For example, an owner with a background in sales or engineering might benefit from an accounting or tax seminar put on by the company's CPA firm.
This also sends a strong signal to your employees that you're not above self-improvement. Practice what you preach. Plus, while taking outside classes, you may make contacts — such as a lender, an investment advisor or a prospective new employee — that could benefit your business down the road.
2. Delegate Small Stuff to Other Employees
Are you the kind of leader who tries to do too much? Wearing too many hats for too long can lead to financial and emotional distress. Instead, delegate some tasks to qualified staff members. Here are several helpful hints:
Provide instructions. You can't expect your workers to be mind readers.
Assign jobs to the best people. Don't just give the work to the first person you see in the hallway.
Establish goals. Not only outline your objectives, but also inform employees about your expectations for how the job gets done.
Show some trust. Let employees know you have their backs.
Keep the lines of communication open.
Allow some leeway. Don't insist that it must be "your way or the highway."
Employees may be motivated by their increased responsibilities. Thus, delegating work can turn into a win-win situation.
3. Promote Your Business All Year Long
Did you finish out 2021 on a high note? Whether you've continued an existing operation during the pandemic or pivoted to a new undertaking, keep the pedal to the metal. That means you should keep promoting your business in a variety of ways.
Focus on activities that can improve the bottom line both now and in the future. Some small businesses don't have a dedicated marketing department. If that's the case, consider hiring an outside marketing expert. Then coordinate your in-house and external resources.
4. Review Your Business Plan Regularly
You've probably spent a lot of time working on your business plan for 2022. Don't just let your hard work languish in a desk drawer or hard drive until next year end. Review it regularly to determine whether you're accomplishing your objectives.
Consider implementing a "rolling" approach. This allows for adjustments based on what's happening in your business and marketplace — and it makes the process more adaptable, accurate and timely. Companies with rolling budgets typically prepare their budgets four quarters ahead. Then, at the end of each quarter, they update the numbers for the next three quarters and add a new fourth quarter.
With a rolling budget, you've always got a real-time plan for the next 12 months. So, this approach encourages management to be more forward-looking and responsive.
5. Join a Targeted Networking Group
Networking is an ongoing process — especially if your business relies heavily on referrals to generate revenue. Consider taking a more formal approach in 2022 by joining a specific networking group for this purpose.
Networking groups are usually targeted to your geographic area or members of a certain industry or profession. The contacts you make within the group can pay off with future referrals or related business activity. What's more, participating in the group may trigger ideas for new product lines, best practices, recruitment efforts or marketing campaigns.
6. Set Realistic Goals
When setting financial goals for the new year, owners often put undue pressure on themselves and their employees. If you set the bar too high and fail to reach it, you or your staff my grow frustrated or even angry. On the other hand, you don't want to shoot too low. When that happens, employees will merely go through the motions.
Find the proper balance for your company's situation. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. It's OK to issue a challenge that will require some hard work and dedication as long as it's reasonable.
7. Give Back to the Community
Not all goals are financially driven. Sometimes business owners strive to make a difference in their local communities or focus on a specific issue that's near and dear to the owner's heart.
Your business can play a prominent role in charitable endeavors. Start by finding a nonprofit organization that aligns with your goals. Then join in its efforts — and encourage your employees to follow suit. If you don't have time to volunteer, make a donation that counts.
Being charitable also has a side benefit: You'll be sowing seeds of goodwill with the public (including potential customers). Boost the value-added potentials by sharing your charitable endeavors on social media and your company's website.
8. Set Aside Time for Yourself
Business owners who are all work and no play risk more than just being dull. You may wake up mid-year feeling burned out and overextended. Give yourself a break.
For instance, you may schedule specific time each week to spend with your family. Likewise, engage in extracurricular activities — like joining a tennis club, taking a photography class or reading a book — that give you pleasure. If you're overly consumed by your business, you won't be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Make this year about both your company and you.
For More Ideas
This may be a daunting list. But as the familiar Chinese proverb states, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Happy New Year!
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