8 New Year Resolutions for Small Business Success

So, 2020 was quite the year. I think we can all agree that we’re glad to see the back of it and hoping for better things in 2021. As we look towards the brand-new year and its promise of a fresh start, you’re probably wondering how you can get your business off to a flying start. Have you ever thought of setting New Year resolutions for your business, as well as for yourself?

Just like personal new year resolutions, small business resolutions can help inspire you, motivate you and keep you on track. Here are some themes for small business resolutions which should help you make 2021 the year your business moves to the next level.

If you like any of these, try to adapt the goal, personalize it, and break it into smaller specific steps – rather than saying you will ‘do more SEO’, take time to research exactly what you will do and  how you will do it; will you take a training course, invest in a new tool or perhaps hire someone to do it for you?

1 – Be More Sociable (Online)

There’s no getting away from social media; it’s here to stay, and it plays a huge part in business these days, no matter who your target customer is and where they hang out. The one single thing which could probably make most difference to your business next year is to get more social.

Specific ways you might do this:

  • Take a course in social media basics
  • Identify just one platform and focus on that – trying to cover all bases at once is simply exhausting if you’re new to social media marketing
  • Identify and start to follow one or two key social media marketing blogs (not more – otherwise it will just be one more chore you won’t get around to!)
  • Identify one special event in 2021 and plan a social media campaign around this event

2 – Be More Sociable (The Offline Version)

In-person socializing has been such a weird and curtailed experience in 2020, but let’s hope that in 2021 we can get back to normal mixing and mingling. When we can, make a point of being there for your customers in person. Nothing beats a personal interaction. If you run a retail or service business, you’ll be doing this all the time, but even if you don’t, there are still ways to socialize for business which will have an impact.

Specific ways you might do this:

  • Run or host some free training courses for your best customers
  • Throw a party or dinner to celebrate a milestone in your business
  • Take a stall at a trade fair or exhibition
  • Join your local chamber of commerce or other business networking organization

3 – Get Involved in Your Community

Similar to the ‘be sociable in real life’ resolution, but this time mixing with your community just because, not necessarily with customers only, or in an effort to persuade people to buy. After the devastation of 2020, communities around the world need re-building and re-strengthening, so there has never been a better time to get involved.

Specific ways you might do this:

  • Run a fundraising event for a local good cause
  • Sponsor a school, a child, a family or an animal shelter in your locality
  • Run free courses for the community in your areas of expertise
  • Be active – and helpful, and kind – on your local social media channels

4 – Create a Content Calendar

Whatever kind of content you’re creating, whether it’s social media posts, blog posts, white papers or other documents for your website, make 2021 the year you finally plan it out ahead of time, with a content calendar featuring key dates in your year. This way you can adapt your offerings to the season, local events and so on, and you can get content written in advance during your slower periods. No more sitting staring at a blank screen wondering what to write – check out the many free ideas for content calendars and content scheduling available on web.

5 – Learn More SEO/Do More SEO

If you’re new to it, the world of SEO can be confusing and intimidating. It needn’t be. Take a free course or look up one of the many easy guides to SEO for beginners on the web. SEO is a daily activity, ideally, not something you can just splurge on once – try to find ways to build it into your daily routine.

Specific ways you might do this:

  • Take a free course or follow an easy-to-learn-from SEO blog
  • Focus on the basics, such as making sure your NAP data is consistent across all of your citations
  • Try out a new SEO tool – many are free, at least initially, and you don’t know what you don’t know until you find out!
  • Consider hiring an SEO specialist for an overhaul or a specific project, but ideally leaving you in a position where you can then pick up the reigns yourself.

6 – Learn to Love A/B Testing

New year, new strategy, right? But how do you know what’s working and what isn’t? The secret is A/B testing, which simply means creating two of whatever you’re doing and testing both, to see which gets the best results. So, two different social media messages, two different emails, two different images – anything can be A/B tested. This can be as complex and in-depth as you like, with all kinds of metrics to be analyzed, or it can be very simple – as simple as a snap poll on your Facebook page over the name for a new product.

The only way to know what works in digital marketing is to test. It sounds like a lot of work, but actually it can be good fun, and it brings out the creative in you. Make 2021 the year you give it a whirl.

Specific ways you might do this:

  • Sign up to an email or newsletter provider which allows you to do A/B testing
  • Give your in-person customers two dump bins and a ball each and allow them to vote with their ball for their preferred…..flavor, product name, photo – whatever it is that you want feedback on.
  • Host a poll or simply canvas opinions on one of your social media channels.
  • Give in-person customers a questionnaire asking them to rank pairs of options to help you choose between tag lines, logos, slogans and more.

7 – Take Care of Your Staff

If you employ people, remember they are people first and staff second. They all have their own hopes, dreams, and fears. They’ve all had the same rough 2020 you’ve had, perhaps worse. Make 2021 a year in which you will show your staff true appreciation – make yours a company people actively want to work for. After all, happy staff give better customer service.

Specific ways you might do this:

  • Host weekly feel-good meetings, in which people can praise what’s gone well during the week, but also report anything which concerns or worries them, so that you can fix it
  • Introduce an employee of the month scheme, with a gift voucher as a reward
  • Showcase your employees on social media, introducing each in turn and highlighting the good work that they do
  • Give your staff a voice in the company’s strategy and direction

8 – Take Care of You

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, be kind to yourself. It’s tough being a business owner at any time, let alone now. Take regular time to be with your family, or indeed to simply be. Give yourself time off. Delegate if things are too stressful. Seek help when you need it. Remember the reasons why you went into business in the first place and seek to recreate that joy and excitement. You’ve got this.

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