New Year’s Resolutions for Small Businesses

What do you think of when pondering the idea of New Year’s resolutions? Losing weight, exercising more, giving up smoking, eating more healthily… Everyone immediately associates our resolve to accomplish goals at the start of a fresh year with personal improvements, but this newfound (and hopefully long-lasting) focus can just as easily be applied to business. Small steps can lead to powerful changes in your business and will in turn align your efforts and energy. Here are a few resolutions to get you started.

 

Buddy up

There have been various studies conducted over the years about goal sharing and our subsequent accountability to then reach the goals we’ve shared. Some, like Derek Sivers, whose ‘Keep your goals to yourself’ Ted Talk went viral for citing that sharing your goals with others makes you feel less motivated to do the hard work necessary to achieve them, believe exactly that. We’re in the opposing camp and firmly believe that you’re far more likely to stick to your guns if you commit to another person that you will, or better still, if you find someone who is also wanting to hit goals, so you can work alongside each other to keep mutual motivation up. Factor in ongoing and regular meetings with your goal buddy, so you can check in on each other’s progress and keep spirits up when the going gets tough.

 

Communicate more effectively

You can smash out Instagram posts ten to the dozen and retweet everything you come across that you feel is relevant to your business, but try switching your focus to quality over quantity and you’ll find that less is more. Concentrate on posting interesting, topical content that encourages your followers to interact and share – responding to comments on your posts, leaving likes and comments on both your competition and target market’s posts, and putting the effort in when it comes to captions are all ways to streamline your communication game.

 

Have a coffee with your customers

We are living in an age of innovative and inescapable technology, so the ways in which we now do business are abounding with 21st-century benefits – e-commerce is thriving, and we can talk to anyone in the world at any time via at least five different mediums. That said, you can’t beat a cuppa with a customer for the personal touch that’s being steamrollered out of town by tech’s unstoppable advance, and as humans we need quality face-to-face communication. Step out from behind your screen as often as possible and grab a quick coffee with those who champion your business and it will benefit you both.

 

Write a blog

Content is key to any business – it provides you with a tone of voice and allows your customers to access a more human side to what you do. There have been whispers that blogging is dead for years now and guess what? It’s still the beating heart of many companies, providing a safe space for venting frustrations, tackling industry problems and celebrating all that is great about what we as businesses do, and is an effective way of engaging and providing value to consumers, building your brand along the way. It’s not at all complicated to get started and you don’t have to be Arianna Huffington to produce a well-rounded and enjoyable read; do a bit of research about how to get started and give it a go.

 

Get mobile friendly

It’s confusing how a lot of small businesses do not understand how important mobile optimisation is for any company – according to recent research, a whopping 93.3 per cent of small business owners’ websites aren’t mobile friendly, and yet an astounding 80 per cent of consumers use a smartphone to investigate and shop, which says it all, really. The bottom line is, if you aren’t optimising your website for mobile users then you are harming your business and your potential for growth – it affects brand building, how you rank in terms of customer service, traffic generation and, potentially, your existing business relationships. The average consumer checks their phone 46 times a day, so get out of the dark ages and get it done. You’re welcome.

 

Fine tune your customer service

Customer service is no longer the stuff of queuing up to battle with Carol behind the counter about the validity of your receipt; customer service is everywhere and it is everything. As with most aspects of today’s online-oriented business world, customer service interactions are increasingly web-based and therefore increasingly transparent and virtual word-of-mouth had the power to make or break your reputations. Research conducted over the past couple of years has concluded that this year – 2020 – is the year that customer service becomes king and will be ranked as more significant than price or even product when it comes to customers deciding on who gets their business. If it hasn’t been a priority for your business until now, we suggest you make it one – 61 per cent of customers will take their business straight to a competitor in light of just one bad experience, so the stakes are higher than ever.

 

Build your brand

Some business-folk bandy the term ‘brand’ about with very little definition these days; it’s become so synonymous with success that it’s lost its shine a little, but it is extremely important. Put simply, your brand is your business identity and strengthening that (authentically) will get you seen and known by your target audience; the stronger your brand, the better you’re placed to become a go-to authority in your field. Your brand should inform the voice, style and substance of your shareable content and your website, and, offline should also impact your management style, interactions with clients, day-to-day operations, and your marketing strategy and efforts. Consider it an all-encompassing mission statement – put a lot of thought and effort into getting it right and you’ll excel.

 

There have been many positives we can take from 2019: Finland voted in the world’s youngest prime minister; the most diverse class of lawmakers (and the most women) in history were sworn into the 116th US Congress; consumer backlash against environmental waste has gained massive momentum; and there’s been incredible progress in the fight against Aids and malaria. Harnessing this positivity, reflect upon and be proud of what your small business has achieved this year, but look forward too and think about how you can create even more success for yourself and those that work closely with you – here’s to another brilliant year.

 

What are your New Year’s resolutions for your business? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear them!

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