If you're a small business owner, 2020 was probably a rough year for you. In spite of every difficulty and obstacle set in front of you, you've made it to 2021. You might be looking for the best ways to make sure 2021 is a successful year for your business, and there are many ways you can do that. This article will explore some tried and true methods, as well as some innovative ideas, for growing your business this year.
1. Focus on Balance
A lot of people learned some lessons about balance in 2020 that will carry over into a more successful 2021. Whether you were working from home or communicating with clients virtually, it might still seem impossible not to let work take over your life. How can you avoid bringing work home with you when you work from your couch? But as a small business owner, it's essential that you take some time now at the beginning of the year to set your own goals for how to balance you work life and your personal life.
Even in normal times, it's hard to avoid focusing solely on the business you worked so hard for. So setting boundaries will be essential, even if that means setting a stricter schedule to avoid working overtime every day, or not googling "inground pool prices" all the time and finally buying one. Being a part of the small business owner community means being barraged with messages about "the hustle" and feeling like you have to grind 24/7 to succeed. But doing that will just result in burnout, so make 2021 about balance.
2. Maintain Your Niche
When you grow your business, it might be tempting to start branching out into all areas of commerce, rather than focusing on the niche you carved out at the beginning. But this can land you in hot water when you start missing opportunities within your target audience due to a lack of attention. Rather than tapping into new markets, it might be time to invest more funds in growing your brand within your niche, and even honing down your product or aesthetic to be even more specific. Focus more on increasing your digital marketing and SEO, and your customers will be impressed with your commitment to the niche.
3. Learn From Customers
One of the biggest mistakes small business owners can make is believing that, because they have so few customers, there's no important data to be gleaned from them. But even one customer can leave a review or give feedback that could change the way you do things for the better. Try to focus on asking questions about whatever aspect of the business you'd like to grow next, like the website layout or the checkout process.
Find unique ways to engage with customers that will make them feel valued and heard, and express thanks for even negative reviews. Everything counts, so don't ignore the comments on your Instagram posts, and get on top of issues expressed publicly right away. Negative experiences can spread like wildfire on social media platforms, and you don't want new followers getting a bad taste in their mouth because the marketing team is ignoring or deleting negative feedback.
4. Manage Your Time
You may not see yourself as a hot-shot CEO, so time management might not be something you've considered an important aspect to your plan for 2021. But it's essential that you see and respect the amount of time you put into so many different parts of running a business. There are tons of ways to automate parts of your life as a business owner to become more efficient and to achieve a better sense of balance in your work life.
Consider carefully for a moment what daily tasks take too much time and effort for you to complete on your own. Maybe you need a virtual assistant to handle appointments and reminders, or an automated marketing tool to schedule social media posts so you can get them all done at once. Chances are, you're not an expert in every aspect of business, so get humble and ask yourself where you need more help in 2021. Your business will improve when you start respecting your own time.
As a small business owner, you know better than anyone how unpredictable life is and how quickly things can change. By staying balanced and focused on the right things in 2021, you'll be set up for success and can handle anything life throws at you.