With the new year in full swing, small business owners are turning their focus on their small business goals for 2023. But one of the most integral steps to determining your new goals is reflecting on the previous year’s lessons. Although your lessons learned might be catered to your specific niche, there are a few lessons we all share as business owners.
Expect The Unexpected
Since the pandemic, expecting the unexpected is a motto business owners have grown accustomed to. Challenges like staffing shortages and supply chain issues continue to make “returning to normal” a bit of a cliche for companies large and small.
However, the repetition of this lesson should maintain its impact on the year small businesses have experienced, and the intel garnered. Perhaps you were able to be more innovative than usual when production slowed, or a key member of your team resigned. Being a small business owner means it’s your job to anticipate anything and prepare for it. Still, without a crystal ball, you’ll need to reflect on your previous experiences and initiate proper contingency planning to reduce risk.
Take Immediate Action to Fix Business Problems
The adage: “Good news travels fast but bad news should travel faster” rings true. Just as swiftly, taking action to fix any problems should follow. Many business owners tend to wait until the problem becomes a real crisis before taking action.
Adopt the concept of approaching your business with proactive vigilance. Keep tabs on every aspect of your business, key performance indicators (KPIs), and baseline for comparison to help predict a possible challenge and have a solution ready.
Create a Diversified Marketing Strategy
With the continual rise of social media and the decline of print advertising, one of the biggest challenges small business owners face is finding the best ways to market their small businesses. The lesson learned is that one marketing strategy most likely won’t move the needle.
Knowing who your customer is and how to serve them will help you determine the best small business marketing strategy moving forward. You may decide this is the year you finally engage with your email list, invest in Facebook ads, or build a following on Instagram. Whatever the plan, this year has proven that it must be diversified.
Customer Service Matters Most
It might sound like a no-brainer, but customer service remains one of the most critical aspects of a small business. It impacts everything from brand image and customer loyalty to company reputation and profitability. Ninety percent of consumers use customer service to decide whether or not to do business with a company.
If ever there was a time to invest in your small business’ customer service plan, it’s now. With so many choices on the market for products and services, company owners cannot afford to miss retaining a loyal customer simply because their customer service fell short. Refresh your plan with your team and consider investing in great tools like chatbots or artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, so you’re available whenever your customers need you.
Embrace New Technologies for Your Business
The world is changing faster than ever, and if you want to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, you must embrace new technologies. Innovative tools like IT management software (ITMS) solutions for better cybersecurity protection, artificial intelligence (AI) for predicting demand for services, and datafication for storing transactions to predict future trends are rapidly becoming the norm in the health and growth of companies.
Review the past 12-18 months of your business and evaluate if having one of these innovations in your business would have made a positive difference. Take some time to explore and understand how new technologies can improve efficiency and effectiveness for all business operations.
The world is changing rapidly, and it can be hard to keep up with all the latest innovations and trends, but these five tips will help you get started on your journey to success in 2023 and beyond.
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